Colorado Avalanche: Erik Johnson Hurt in Oilers Game

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 18: Erik Johnson
DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 18: Erik Johnson /

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suffered an apparent upper body injury during the Oilers game. We all hope it’s nothing serious.

The Colorado Avalanche are suffering the injury bug. The team got to be relatively healthy for two whole periods since center Nathan MacKinnon had returned after missing eight games with a should injury.

Two whole periods, then cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson suffered an apparent upper body injury. The play happened at 1:59 of the third period. It didn’t look like a big deal:

As you can see, Johnson collides with Oilers forward Anton Slepyshev. Their sticks seem to get tangled up a little between them, but not in what looks like a meaningful way. In reality, if you watch the hit, I’d guess Slepyshev would be more likely to be injured.

Not so. Johnson was in so much pain he had to be helped off the ice.

Unfortunately, a closer look is… not pretty. Watch Johnson’s left hand as he collides with Slepyshev in the first play of the hit. I… don’t like the direction Johnson’s glove goes in. Pray, pray his hand was at least partially out of the glove.

It’s noteworthy at this time that Erik Johnson is left-handed.

According to A.J. Haefele of BSN Avalanche, Johnson was seen after the game with his left arm wrapped up. J.J. Jerez of Mile High Sports was “pessimistic” on what he though the results for Johnson’s injury would be.

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As Haelfele points out later in his thread, it’s very irresponsible to speculate on injuries right after they happen. However, two things give me a little hope. There are X-ray machines on site, and coach Jared Bednar didn’t give an update after the game. Bednar has been known to state right away when a player has a broken bone — which they could know right away.

So, let’s not speculate but just hope it was a sprain… actually, that might not be better. Apparently it’s easier to recover from a break than a sprain. Indeed, J.T. Compher broke his thumb earlier in the year and missed “just” six games. However, Buffalo Sabres star Jack Eichel suffered a high ankle sprain and will miss six to eight weeks.

In any case, I don’t need to tell you the Colorado Avalanche cannot do without Erik Johnson. He hasn’t been having a career season offense-wise, but he’s been having a career season as a defender. He is one of the Avs’ best players hands down.

So, we’re going to have to return to a prayer I’ve uttered too often on this site and on Twitter — EJ be OK.

Next: Beauty of EJ's OT Goal

The Colorado Avalanche head off to Canada tomorrow for a three-game road trip. I somehow doubt Johnson will be on the trip. The Avs had already recalled defenseman Duncan Siemens. However, Anton Lindholm was also injured in the game against the Oilers, so I’d imagine there will be another call up tomorrow.