The Colorado Avalanche: News from around the NHL - February 6th, 2014

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Stamkos had to remove himself from the Olympic squad for Sochi.

“He should not be participating in game action at any time in the near future,” Yzerman said in a statement. “Although the doctor was very pleased to this point with the healing process, he explained that the callus surrounding the fracture site is not 100% consolidated, and Steven will not be cleared to play in a game until that happens. It was a pretty clear cut decision, no gray areas at all.”

It was a bit heartbreaking. Not for Canada, who remains a gold medal favourite even without him, but for Stamkos, who had put in the work to give himself every possible opportunity to be there.

“Today is obviously very disappointing for me,” Stamkos said in a statement.  “I honestly believe that we did everything possible in order to have my injured leg ready in time for the Olympics, but I realize you can’t force healing.”

Speaking of the Olympics, the Thirty Thoughts brought up an interesting point. If a player can't play for his team before the Olympics, should he be allowed to go to the Games.

But, do not underestimate how many teams are asking, "What are our rights here?"

In 2009, the NHL suspended Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom for one game because they failed to show up for the NHL's all-star weekend. Both were banged up, but played for Detroit before the break. In the eyes of the NHL, if you're healthy enough to play a meaningful game, you're healthy enough to appear at an exhibition weekend. (The NBA has a similar rule.)

Both Nathan MacKinnon and Gabe Landeskog talk about being a rookie in the NHL.

"The game is the same for sure; hockey is hockey," MacKinnon said. "Everyone is a good player in this League. In junior I don't know how many plays the third- or fourth-line guys can make, but the third and fourth lines in this League are very talented hockey players and likely lit up juniors. I find that the fast pace is a lot of fun; you don't have to overthink plays."

Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, who is in his third season, was impressed with MacKinnon the moment he met him prior to training camp. Landeskog was No. 2 on Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters for the top 2011 NHL Draft and then was drafted No. 2 by the Avalanche.

"The biggest surprise for me is the consistency he has shown," Landeskog said of MacKinnon. "I remember as a rookie there were so many games. There was so much traveling you would get tired and it was hard to find your game on some nights because you're so tired. But he's found a way to keep that consistent level and that's not easy to do."



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