In a lost season, many fans turn their focus to their team’s up-and-coming prospects—for the occasional glimpse of a better future. For the last few months, followers of this historically terrible Avalanche team frequently saw these glimpses from big 21-year-old defenseman Nikita Zadorov, who finally looked to be putting together the pieces necessary to be a top-pairing defenseman in the National Hockey League.
His progression came to a startling halt Monday after colliding with rookie Mikko Rantanen during a routine off-day practice. The apparent injury was first reported our Burgundy & Blue compatriots at BSN Avalanche:
Zadorov hurt. Being helped off the ice. In obvious pain. Hes not putting any weight on it. Two guys helped him limp to the locker room— BSNAvalanche (@BSNAvalanche) February 20, 2017
Immediately, fans anticipated the worst—or so they thought. Twisted ankle? Bone bruise? Surely he will only be out a couple of weeks, right?! Wrong. This is the 2016-17 Avalanche we’re talking about here. Whatever scenario you’ve painted in your head won’t be evenly remotely as bad as the eventual outcome. Indeed, it was not:
UPDATE: Nikita Zadorov (ankle) is out for the remainder of the season.— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) February 21, 2017
If you have your windows open and hear a far-off voice screaming obscenities, I apologize—it’s me.
Could go on until my voice goes out or I cry myself to sleep.