Avalanche faithful are still buzzing with good news this morning. Matt Duchene skated with the team at Monday’s practice, wearing the non-contact sweater, and will make the scenic road trip across Canada with the Avalanche. It has been six and a half weeks since Duchene injured his knee on what was supposed to be only a four-week injury.
Itching to get back into the lineup, Duchene tweeted “Felt great to skate with the boys again after 6 ½ weeks! Can’t wait to get back in the lineup now!”
That tweet sounds like sweet harmony to Avs fan’s ears. It is a sigh of relief that Duchene wants to be back in the lineup. Hopefully this hunger will translate to even some more offensive firepower for the Avs.
With a tough month ahead (March), Colorado needs all of the offensive weapons it can bolster. Duchene will definitely provide this to any line he will be on. With the hot hand of Gabriel Landeskog and the reemergence of David Jones, the Avalanche may have three lines with snipers on each providing constant offensive pressure.
Many speculate that Duchene was held out of practice so that he would be extra rested and fully recouped for the push down the stretch. While the Avalanche strongly emphasize this is not the reason, it does make sense. February is a month where the Avs have lots of “off” days with two and sometimes even three days between games. So having Duchene take some extra time to get back to 100% for March is not that all that crazy.
Hopefully the good news of Duchene skating again with the club is only the start of positives for Colorado. The Avalanche hope to make a strong push for a playoff spot and the return of Duchene definitely makes their case stronger. I stated on January 30 that the Avs need 14 points in February to make a valid run at the playoffs. Currently at the midway mark they have 6 points with 7 games left in the month. This makes their goal very attainable and could set them up for an invitation to the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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