No team in the NHL will ever use injuries as an excuse as to how poorly or well they play. However, injuries have certainly haunted the Colorado Avalanche in a season that has had its ups and downs. All across the lineup key players have missed substantial time for the Avalanche.
The 26 year old Left Winger signed a two year extension with Colorado during the off season. After only 19 games however McGinn underwent back surgery. Always a solid depth player on either the second or third line has left a large hole in the Avalanche lineup. McGinn had 4 goals and 2 assists in his short stint this season but did find himself at a -9 before his surgery. Speculation for now is he will miss the remainder of the season. The Avalanche have had several new players in the lineup throughout the season trying to fill the void left by McGinn. McGinn had an NHL career high 19 goals last season along with 19 assists.
The 6 foot 6 inch fourth line enforcer has had nothing but bad luck for the Avalanche this season. Patrick Bordeleau also missed the early part of the season after having off season back surgery. He made his presence known upon his return hitting everything that moved. The Avalanche were excited to have the big man back in the lineup but it would be short lived. Bordeleau would suffer a fractured knee cap in his first game back and has not played since. Bordeleau was certainly not high on the offensive production list but he knew his role of protecting the young stars on the Avalanche and he did it well. There is no timetable for his return as of now.
Erik Johnson was having a career season with 12 goals all before the All Star break. After the avalanche completed its last game before the break it was announced Johnson would not make the trip to Columbus due to a knee injury. Johnson was one of several big name players to withdraw from the All Star game others included Penguins star Sydney Crosby and Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. As the Avalanche returned to action it was announced that Johnson would miss 3 to 8 weeks after having his knee scoped. Johnson was excited about going to the All Star game and credited his coaches and the players around him for making it possible.
Johnson has been active on social media posting updates of his recovery saying he will be back on the ice soon. The Avalanche are on the edge of missing the playoffs after three straight loses and need Johnson back as soon as possible.
Last year when the Avalanche made the playoffs, won a division title, and shocked the world of hockey very few things went wrong. This season has been a different story. New faces, injuries and inconsistent play have the Avalanche on the outside looking into the playoff picture with less then 30 games remaining in the season. Only Johnson has a realistic likelihood of returning from his injury and the avalanche desperately need him back on the blue contributing both defensively and offensively.
I am a University of New Mexico journalism student who has been watching NHL hockey since 1996 and I started playing hockey myself in 2003. I have covered both college soccer and volleyball in the past and I also contribute to a NASCAR news website.