The Colorado Avalanche will be a great but slightly lesser team on opening night without their captain, Gabriel Landeskog.
The Colorado Avalanche will be without their captain for opening night — that’s old news. What’s never old news is how worrisome that is for the team.
The Avalanche are the reigning Stanley Cup champions. Even with the loss of first-liner Landerskog, they’re an elite team. There is no question that whomever watches the game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday evening will see the champion team take the ice.
Unfortunately, fans won’t see the complete Stanley Cup roster. We’ve known pretty much since July that we wouldn’t see Nazem Kadri in burgundy and blue this season. And while we’ve known for a couple weeks we wouldn’t see Landeskog on opening night, it still stings.
Gabriel Landeskog has star power in this league. He is the captain of the Cup-champion team, one who courageously led his team while playing through a lower-body injury. Speculation is that the injury wasn’t fully healed for the playoffs and didn’t heal completely over the summer.
Landeskog underwent knee surgery on March 14 and missed the final 23 games of the 2021-22 season. We all knew he wasn’t 100% going into the playoffs, though he played every game. The fact that he missed a lot of practices and morning skates as “maintenance days” were a pretty good indicator.
Nonetheless, in the 20 playoff games, he recorded 11 goals and 11 assists. That’s better than a point a game, so the injury didn’t seem to slow him down much.
Well, our captain is finally getting up in the years, hockey-wise — he’s a whole 29 years old. Pushing 30 and 12 years in the NHL! (sarcasm font) No, that many years in the NHL and that deep a playoff run will take its toll on your body.
That toll will also take away from the opening night just a bit. Not so much — what Avs fan isn’t excited to see their Cup champions again? However, fans always want to see their captain on the ice, especially after the hiatus — even such a relatively brief one — of the offseason.
Landeskog brings power to his game that’s almost equal parts finesse and grit. He’s the type of star that will stand up for a journeyman on his team who’s being hassled by an opponent star. That’s just the kind of game the Chicago Blackhawks indulge in.
Nonetheless, though there’s no definitive timeline for his return, he will return. When he does, Avs Nation will just have to show him that much more appreciation.
Side note: We all know how much Blackhawk fans like to fill up our Denver arena. Tickets are quite expensive this year, and everyone who’s ever been a Colorado Avalanche fan. Here’s to hoping there are more Avs than Hawks fans in the arena! 🤞