We interrupt your morning internet browsing to bring you the latest quote from the Avalanche dressing room:
For the 3rd year running, our team is facing a...well, avalanche of injuries. With just 14 games completed, the Avs have already seen 52 man-games vaporized by injuries and lost both T.J. Galiardi (broken wrist) and David Van der Gulik (torn MCL) in Tuesday's loss to Calgary. The Avs are now plugging along without their starting goalie, 4 of their 6 opening-night defensemen and their top 3 left wingers. At 7-6-1, the team is hanging in there. For now, at least.
You never want to see players get hurt, but it's worth noting that there are positives born from the misfortune of injury: opportunity. Every game missed by an injured player is a chance to see another player in action. On Tuesday, we saw four promising rookies on defense - Colby Cohen, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jonas Holos and David Liffiton. While Liffiton isn't projected to feature prominently in the team's future, the other three are expected to have many good years in the ugly Avalanche unipron. If not for injuries, Holos would have watched Tuesday's game from the press box while the BU boys would have been in Cleveland preparing for Wednesday's game against Hamilton. And we wouldn't have been able to see just how promising these youngsters are or just how close they are to becoming impact players in the NHL.
The current Avalanche roster is composed of a number of players who got their big shot thanks to an injury call-up and ended up playing well enough to stick around. Chris Stewart. T.J. Galiardi. Cody McLeod. David Jones. Brandon Yip. Ryan Wilson. Check out the links there and especially the comments; there's definitely a mix of excitement and apathy and yet none of the moves sounded at the time like they would be permanent. They were. Wilson, McLeod and Galiardi didn't play another game in the AHL after their unheralded call-ups. Stewart played two. Jones played just a handful and was an Avalanche regular within two months of that call-up. With Shattenkirk and Cohen, the assumption is that this is a temporary stay, but there's certainly a precedent that we could indeed be looking at the future today.