The Colorado Avalanche are already suffering injury woes as they head into a four-game series against the Minnesota Wild.
The Colorado Avalanche are about to enter into a series in which they play the Minnesota Wild for four games straight. They’ll play back-to-back in Minny before hosting the Wild at Ball Arena for two games.
The four-game series has the chance to carry a playoff atmosphere. Right now, both teams have the same record, 5-3. They’ll both be fighting for points in this shortened season.
Unfortunately, the Avalanche are also fighting an all-too-familiar foe as well — the injury bug. It has already started biting the Avs.
The first to go down was Pavel Francouz. Even though we’re supposed to report that players are “unfit to play” rather than injured, the team website has reported that he’s on the injured reserve list with a lower-body injury. Hunter Miska has been Philipp Grubauer’s backup with Adam Werner in the taxi squad.
The next victim has been Matt Calvert. Unfortunately, it’s being reported that he potentially has a reoccurrence of his concussion issues:
That is very bad news not just for the Avalanche, who need his brand of hockey, but for the player himself. He was even wearing a pink visor to help negate some of the sensory issues he has because of his concussion history.
Now, the latest to fall to an injury is Calvert’s linemate, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. He collided with a Sharks player their game and left late in the first. He did not return. He has now been added to the injured reserve list with a lower-body injury, and it’s reported he’ll “miss some time.”
Well, isn’t that a fine kettle of fish. True, so far it’s just our backup and two fourth liners. However, they’re still important members of our team. And it’s disheartening to see injuries start hitting so soon since that’s what doomed the Avs in the playoffs.
In any case, the Avs have their series against the Minnesota Wild. The stakes seem pretty high, and the two teams have four whole games to go hard at each other. I don’t know if the hate is at the same intensity as it was a few years ago, but the two teams definitely don’t like each other.
Kiefer Sherwood has already been in playing for Calvert. The Avs have also recalled Shane Bowers, Sheldon Dries, and Logan O’Conner. No sign of Martin Kaut, though, and no telling why.
To see success against Minnesota, Colorado is going to have to work on a few key points. One is taking penalties — enough of that. As good as the power play unit has been, we’ve seen it in action too much in recent games. Taking those penalties also take the momentum away from the Avs.
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Another key factor is the third period. The Avs have not played well in most third periods this season — barring the one against the Sharks, when they got all three of their goals in the final frame. They need that kind of intensity for the third period.
We’ve also got to wonder about goal tending. Philipp Grubauer has had his good games and not so good games. He’s also backed up by rookie Hunter Miska. And the Avs are about to go into a back-to-back against a foe fighting for the exact same points. Yes, all teams are fighting for points, but it’s noteworthy that Colorado and Minnesota have that same record.
Will Grubauer play all four games? I doubt it. Conventionally, two different goalies play in back-to-backs. Granted, Grubauer’s played both before, but I doubt it. I expect to see him sit out one of the games, though he may play both at Ball Arena.
Finally, the Colorado Avalanche are going to have to find their toughness factor. Minnesota doesn’t play nice. They’re not above playing dirty. And we lost our two best energy players in Calvert and Bellemare — especially since they traded away both Nikita Zadorov and Ian Cole.
Well, the series will hopefully be a fun one. The Colorado Avalanche have it in them to take the series. But I really do hope the injury bug goes elsewhere.