Colorado Avalanche Without Nathan MacKinnon 2 to 4 Weeks

VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 30: Nathan MacKinnon
VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 30: Nathan MacKinnon /

When Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon left the ice and was being attended to on the bench by trainer Matt Sokolowski, we knew our All Star was injured. We tried whistling in the dark and saying it probably wasn’t that bad, even when MacKinnon left the team to visit doctors in Denver.

Well, what we’ve been waiting for — and feared — has come to pass:

MacKinnon will miss two to four weeks, which equates to seven to 14 games or more. At the time of writing, the team had not released what the nature of the injury is. We all know it’s his shoulder — possibly a rotator cuff or AC joint sprain. Could be a small fracture. That’s just speculation.

More speculation — and a bit of Chicken Littleism — three years ago Erik Johnson was supposed to be out three to six weeks after knee surgery in late January. He missed the rest of the season.

Significance of MacKinnon’s Injury

The Colorado Avalanche were riding MacKinnon’s coattails into the playoffs. They’re not as bad as their 48-point season last year. However, they’re not a 97-point team either. They don’t have the depth or game management.

What they had was a superstar in the making. They don’t have that for at least two weeks. Those two weeks come right when the team was trying to make a playoff push. The playoffs are a pipedream now. This team is a playoff bubble team with MacKinnon — definitely not a playoff team without him.

I think we all hope and pray they don’t fail as dramatically as they did after Erik Johnson’s leg injury last year. They were already teetering then, and that just sent them off the edge.

However, now is the time to start giving the rookies a chance to show their worth.

Rookies Stepping Up

According to Altitude radio host Marc Moser, Alexander Kerfoot will center the top line. That’s not too surprising. He immediately stepped in after MacKinnon left the Vancouver game with his injury.

I’m looking forward to seeing the young Harvard grad show his mettle. At the beginning of the season, I read scouting reports that he was barely good enough for the NHL, and I posited that he wouldn’t even make the team. Now he’s being asked to step up in the biggest way possible because he’s such a good player.

Now is also the time for Tyson Jost to experience his breakout. He should be seeing more minutes now and maybe even some consistent linemates over the next few weeks. That could be just what the young rookie needs.

This is also a chance for JT Compher. He hasn’t had quite the rookie season he wanted because of injury. He’s the healthy one now, and his game has been really good recently. Plus, he’s got leadership — I’ve begun to think of him as the captain of the rookies.

The Nathan MacKinnon news is not good. I, like everyone else, was dreaming about the playoffs. However, we’ll just have to forge ahead.