Updates from Tuesday, April 29
Matt Duchene skated at the Avalanche's practice facility Tuesday with the scratches from the 5-2 loss in Game 6 at Minnesota on Monday and said he feels fine after playing more than 18 minutes in his 2014 postseason debut.
Colorado coach Patrick Roy said his dynamic center, who assisted on a power-play goal in Monday's game that tied the series 3-3, will begin Game 7 on Wednesday between Ryan O'Reilly and P.A. Parenteau. Duchene ended Game 6 with those wingers after beginning the game on the third line with Max Talbot and Brad Malone in his first action since straining the MCL in his left knee on March 29.
"I had one pretty good tweak in the third period but that's normal. It comes and goes," Duchene said after participating in shooting and conditioning drills with forwards Paul Carey and Joey Hishon and defenseman Stefan Elliott, among others. "It's like what I said last night: It's one of the hardest injuries to come back from. I've had a lot of injuries in my life and this one has been the hardest one, even harder than the last time."
Updates from Monday, April 28
Adrian Dater of the Denver Post has the latest on Matt Duchene:
Matt Duchene skating with O'Reilly and Parenteau at morning skate #Avs— Adrian Dater (@adater) April 28, 2014
The Avalanche also updated Duchene's status:
Michael Russo of the Star Tribune had more on Duchene's health:
Duchene will meet with #avs doctor this afternoon, will take part in warmups.— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) April 28, 2014
Dan Rosen of NHL.com later confirmed Duchene would play:
Matt Duchene will be in the lineup tonight, his first game since March 29. He missed final 8 regular season games and 1st 5 of this series.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) April 29, 2014
Updates from Sunday, April 27
Patrick Roy discussing Matt Duchene's injury status (via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN and the Avalanche):
Patrick Roy on Duchene maybe playing Game 6: ``We're going to take a serious look at it.''— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) April 27, 2014
Roy said Matt Duchene hasn't taken a full practice yet & team will make a decision on Game 6 after morning skate. "We'll see how it goes."— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) April 27, 2014
Duchene also took to the ice today for Colorado's optional skate (via LeBrun):
Duchene back on the ice here at Avs optional— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) April 27, 2014
Updates from Saturday, April 26
Adrian Dater of Bleacher Report has the latest on Duchene:
Duchene skating with O'Reilly and McGinn at skate— Adrian Dater (@adater) April 26, 2014
Updates from Friday, April 25
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun has an update on Duchene's status for Game 5:
Patrick Roy ruled out Matt Duchene for Game 5.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) April 25, 2014
Updates from Monday, April 21
Matt Duchene skated this morning before Game 3 against Minnesota (via Adrien Dater of the Denver Post):
He came on the ice after the Avs were done with line rushes and other drills, and skated and stickhandled for at least 15 minutes (we had to leave the ice to attend a Patrick Roy press conference, so I’m not sure how long he continued to skate after that).
Dan Myers of NHL.com had more on Duchene:
It was Duchene's first time on the ice since sustaining an injury to the MCL in his left knee March 29 against the San Jose Sharks.
"It was part of the process," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "The trainer thought it was a good time for him to start skating today. We'll go day-to-day with him."
Updates from Sunday, April 20
Rick Sadowski of NHL.com provides an encouraging update on Matt Duchene:
Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene accompanied the team to Minnesota on Sunday and is expected to skate for the first time since injuring his knee March 29 against the San Jose Sharks when the team practices at Xcel Energy Center on Monday.
Updates from Saturday, April 19
Adrian Dater of the Denver Post has the latest on Duchene:
Patrick Roy says Matt Duchene unlikely to play in Wild series, even if it goes seven games #Avs— Adrian Dater (@adater) April 19, 2014
The Colorado Avalanche announced that star center Matt Duchene will miss roughly four weeks as he recovers from a knee injury he suffered on Saturday against the San Jose Sharks, according to the team’s official Twitter account:
INJURY UPDATE: Matt Duchene (knee) will be out roughly four weeks.— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 31, 2014
Duchene collided with teammate Jamie McGinn on his first shift of the game and did not return. He underwent an MRI on Sunday and the prognosis was announced on Monday morning.
The timing of the injury couldn’t be worse for Colorado. Not only was Duchene in the midst of the best statistical year of his career (23 goals and 47 assists for 70 points), but he was also embracing the role as one of the on-ice leaders for the franchise.
Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy told Rick Sadowski of NHL.com about Duchene’s injury and what it means for the team’s postseason hopes moving forward:
He's playing so well right now. It's not good news for him and it's not good news for us as well, but it's been the way it's been all year. We always try to win hockey games and we're going to have to continue to find ways to win hockey games.
I'm always a positive person. I believe that he's going to be back for playoffs. At the same time, we lost Peter Forsberg after the second round the year we won the Stanley Cup (in 2001). A team is a team. You have to go out there and play hard and find ways to win games. That's what we're going to continue to do.
The victory over San Jose on Saturday was bittersweet. Colorado secured a berth in the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10, but it also suffered the loss of Duchene, The issue now is that the star center will miss at least the first round of the postseason.
The NHL playoffs begin on April 16.
While the loss of Duchene is a devastating blow, Altitude TV’s Marc Moser claims it could be worse:
By now you've seen the tweet & release from the Avs. Matt Duchene expected to miss 4 weeks w/knee. Tough, but could be worse.— Marc Moser (@RadioMoser) March 31, 2014
The Avalanche sit in second place in the Central Division and have earned the right to play a lower-seeded team in the first round. Add in the elite play of forwards Ryan O'Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Paul Stastny—who will all step up during Duchene’s recovery process—and the franchise still has a very strong core of offensive and defensive players.
Colorado will be hoping that the team can make it past the first round of the playoffs and get Duchene back healthy for a deep run at the Stanley Cup.
After a game against Columbus on Tuesday, the Avalanche have only seven games left in the regular season. Now is the time to build more chemistry and move on without Duchene.
*Stats via NHL.com.