When the Avalanche announced that Erik Johnson would miss the NHL All-Star game with an injury, logic seemed to indicate that he was missing the game for maintenance on a minor, nagging injury. After all, Johnson had missed a few practices, but he still played 22:57 seconds in the Avalanche's last game against Boston, including 2:08 in overtime. This afternoon that assumption flew out the window as Patrick Roy made a troubling, and potentially devastating announcement about the Avalanche's stand-out defenseman:
Coach Roy said that Erik Johnson will miss the next 3-8 weeks following a knee scope.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) January 26, 2015
Here's the Avalanche's official story on the injury.
What this means for the team we'll see in the coming weeks. For now the Avalanche are left with a Top 6 that includes: Tyson Barrie, Jan Hejda, Brad Stuart, Zach Redmond, Nick Holden and Nate Guenin. Ryan Wilson will not be returning to the lineup after a season ending shoulder injury early in the campaign and for now, the Avalanche have not called up a defenseman from Lake Erie. Duncan Siemens is unavailable with an injury, so the Avalanche will have to choose between the likes of Karl Stollery, Stefan Elliott,
and Maxime Noreau (apparently Noreau is also injured, the Avs might consider Gervais an option since they like Guenin so much) if they want to carry a 7th defenseman on the roster. If Johnson's injury ends up on the 8-week end of the range announced by Roy, that could be a death sentence for the Avalanche's already slim chances at landing a playoff spot, if he's back in three weeks then maybe, just maybe they could stay in the hunt.
The extended loss of the Avalanche's best, and most important player this season will be an enormous test for the organization from top to bottom. Will the players step up in Johnson's absence? Will the team make the appropriate moves if they drop into a clear "seller" position? We should know soon.
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The Avalanche also recalled goaltender Reto Berra and forward Dennis Everberg from the AHL.
Berra returns to the Avalanche after a two-week conditioning stint in Lake Erie. Here's how Reto's trip to the AHL went according to our own Monster's expert:
I'll give a shoutout to Yogi. He went 3-1-1 with a .914 Sv% and 2.57 GAA. Played solid and did what was asked of him. Now what?
— McKinley Morganfield (@mckinley06) January 25, 2015
Everberg, meanwhile, was sent down to Lake Erie over the All-Star break to play a pair of games with the Monsters. He scored a goal in both games.