The Colorado Avalanche have been on a roll recently, winning 8 out of their last 11 games. They are just 6 points out of the playoffs with huge 4 point games ahead. However now, the Avalanche lose MacKinnon at the worst time, and must soldier on without one of their premier players. The Avalanche must not let Nathan MacKinnon’s injury get them down, it’s a part of the game. Now they must rally together to continue their push to the playoffs.
Roy said MacKinnon 1st hurt foot blocking a shot vs TB but X-rays came back negative. Hurt foot again vs. PIT. MRI Thurs. revealed fracture.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 6, 2015
9 Line Rolling
The “9 Line” or the line consisting of Gabe Landeskog, Ryan O’Reilly, and Nathan MacKinnon, was on fire of late. They became the Avs first line and were putting up points almost every night since January. They all had very impressive numbers over the last 10 or so games. The only way to get them back together soon though, would be to make the playoffs.
So naturally, Patrick Roy had to do some more tinkering to the lineup without MacKinnon. In the last two games versus Columbus and Minnesota, Jordan Caron got to play with Matt Duchene and Jarome Iginla, while Cody McLeod was bumped up to play with Gabe Landeskog and Ryan O’Reilly. Mostly because Patrick Roy wants to keep the third line of Dennis Everberg, John Mitchell, and Alex Tanguay together.
Colorado went on to win both contests 4 to 0 in Columbus, and 3 to 2 in Minnesota, with Joey Hishon along with new kids Jordan Caron and Freddie Hamilton playing well.
Avs Injury Filled Season
As if Colorado didn’t have their share of injury problems already. Players such as Jamie McGinn, Patrick Bordeleau, Jesse Winchester, Borna Rendulic, Ryan Wilson, and Erik Johnson are all out, now add Nathan MacKinnon to the list. With Erik Johnson seemingly the only one who has a chance to play again during the regular season. Suffice to say it isn’t pretty. They are currently 2nd in the NHL in man games lost to injury. That number will only increase with the Avs having more than a few players who are done for the year.
It’s pretty impressive the way they’ve kept going when you think about it actually. The one good thing about these injuries, is that it presents a chance for other players to stand up. In this case, Joey Hishon along with newly acquired forwards Jordan Caron and Freddie Hamilton are being given that exact opportunity.
Cannot Give Up
MacKinnon couldn’t have gone down at a worse time, but no matter who gets injured or how many injuries you have as a team, you are still that, a team. The Avalanche cannot give up on each other or the season and their playoff push.
With a very important game on Tuesday against the L.A. Kings, Colorado has no time to think about what ifs. They must focus on their goal of making the playoffs and if they do, then maybe, Nathan MacKinnon’s season won’t be over after all.
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble