Colorado Avalanche: Heart and Soul Returning to the Team

The Colorado Avalanche will soon be getting two important players back into the lineup — Matt Calvert and Gabriel Landeskog.

The Colorado Avalanche have been absolutely plagued with injuries. At one point, more than 25% of their opening night roster was out of the lineup because of injury.

I mean, for a stretch, they couldn’t go a game without a new injury. Well, I believe they’ve broken that particular curse with the home-and-home win against the Chicago Blackhawks — if I’m not mistaken, not a single Avs player got hurt.

Meanwhile, players are starting to return. We got Mikko Rantanen back for the second half of the Hawks back-to-back. And now we have some more good news.

Matt Calvert is going on the road trip. What’s more, he was a full participant in yesterday’s practice.

Boy, was it good to see Matt Calvert back on the ice, and in regular colors. He last played in Vancouver on November 16. He was injured when a slapshot hit him in the head at point-blank range. It was that scary incident when the referees didn’t blow the whistle, leaving Calvert writhing on the ice in pain.

Anyway, the team labeled the injury a “head injury.” However, according to Calvert, he had to go through the concussion protocol. He added, “You have to have a bunch of good days in a row.”

I’m going to guess the doctors are a little more exact than “a bunch.” However, the Avalanche really need Calvert back. It’s not that he puts up such big numbers. Rather, he’s the heart of the team.

He’s the guy who took on not one but two guys much bigger than himself in the same Tampa Bay Lightning game — first Erik Cernak and then Victor Hedman.

He’s imply a spirited player. When he’s out of the lineup, sometimes the team has trouble finding its heart. When he’s in the lineup, they have no problem with that.

Calvert missed a total of six games. He could return as soon as Wednesday’s game in Toronto.

Meanwhile, the literal soul of the team is returning soon — captain Gabriel Landeskog. He took part in most of yesterday’s practice wearing a red no-contact jersey.

Landeskog last played on October 26 against Anaheim. The team said he had injured himself during the preceding road trip and tried to play through it. He was seen around wearing a boot on his foot.

Landeskog has already missed 15 games. He’s been skating on his own since last Tuesday, with yesterday’s practice being the first in which he participated.

That said, he’s also going on the three-game road trip. The team says he needs to get some practices in to see when he might be ready to return. Colorado has a back-to-back with first Toronto then Montreal before heading over to Boston for their third game in four days.

I don’t think Landeskog can get “some” practices in — maybe a couple morning skates. So, I doubt he’d return to the ice during the road trip. However, he’s the captain of the team, and surely just his presence will be a boon.

And in not such good news, forward Colin Wilson is going to undergo surgery to correct whatever lower-body injury is ailing him. He’s going to be out long-term. He was injured in practice and has been out since October 26.

Also, Erik Johnson has been moved to the “week-to-week” category after his former teammate, Alexander Kerfoot, tried to kill him in the Maple Leafs game. He’s already missed three games.

Next: MacKinnon and Makar Honored in November

Nonetheless, the Colorado Avalanche are making progress on the injury front. It really will be good for the team to get their heart and soul back.

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