Where would the Colorado Avalanche be, if not for their almost comically frequent rotating door of injuries to players fans want to see on the ice?
It’s been a comedy of errors health-wise for the Avalanche this year - that is, if injuries to players were funny. There’s been time missed by the Tysons Jost and Barrie, Semyon Varlamov (which is on round two, and seems to be neverending), Sergei Boikov before the season even started, and Vladislav Kamenev within minutes of him joining the team for the first time.
Now, with Sven Andrighetto nursing a leg injury of his own, it appears that Tyson Jost could be out for another stint, as well.
Jost missed practice on Tuesday, and forward Dominic Toninato has been brought back up. The good news, of course, is that Toninato is loving every chance he gets for a cup of coffee in Denver - but the bad news, naturally, is that it’s another injury, and the season is only halfway over. [Mile High Hockey]
The injury bug isn’t limited to the NHL, either.
Last week, it was all about the high-flying Avalanche prospects and their World Juniors performances. This week, Conor Timmins - yes, the prospect who wowed the crowds - is hurt, as well. [MHH]
It’s also time to start looking at prospects that the Avalanche could draft this coming summer. It’s never too early for draft talk, eh? [MHH]
Now, for around the world of hockey:
First, for the big news.
It’s been a few weeks since the Chicago Blackhawks put starting goaltender Corey Crawford on injured reserve for an undisclosed upper-body injury.
In the time since, they’ve flirted with a Wild Card spot, sitting on the outside looking in more often than not (but coming close to fighting for a chance) with backup Anton Forsberg and 32-year-old rookie Jeff Glass splitting the net.
Now, though, things are about to get a lot harder - because according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times, Crawford may be done for the season due to vertigo symptoms.
If you’ve ever had vertigo, you know it’s absolutely miserable - and not always easy to pinpoint exactly what causes it, or how to make it stop. Sometimes, you just have to ride it out and wait for it to go away on its own, which could effectively end this year for a Vezina-worthy Crawford with half a season left to go. [Chicago Sun-Times]
We’ve also got an incredibly fascinating deep dive for you from the Carolina Hurricanes, looking at a potential bid for an expansion team made by former team majority owner Peter Karmanos years before he actually bought the Hurricanes. [Canes Country]
Do you like the speedy, charismatic Carl Hagelin? If so, you’ll be pleased to know that he seems to have gotten his groove back. [Pensburgh]
In some hilarious news, Lawson Crouse wants to make sure you understand exactly where he was drafted - even if it means cooling the jets on where he was selected a bit:
With the 2018 Winter Olympics coming up in Pyeongchang shortly, it looks like the women’s South Korean ice hockey team is making some groundbreaking effort to unite the Koreas through the world of sport.
It’s possible that North and South Korea could ice a joint women’s ice hockey team, and that’s absolutely huge. [Sports Illustrated]
Finally, I wanted to end on a more serious note.
I love to bring you guys dramatic analysis of The Bachelor and weird anecdotes about pizza and Williams Sonoma at the end of the Flurries, but I think it’s important today to talk about a really heartwarming exchange that fell across my Twitter timeline on Tuesday.
The NWHL official Twitter account shared some info about Metro Riveters defender Kelsey Koelzer during the friendly between Team USA and the NWHL All-Star Team.
A former Princeton hockey captain, Koelzer is currently scoring at a point-per-game clip in her first full pro season after getting drafted first overall by the Riveters in 2016. The NWHL Twitter account decided to highlight her at the start of the second period during the game, which boasted some of the best talent in American women’s hockey today.
Not long after they tweeted about Koelzer - who is one of the first women of color to play professional ice hockey - a hockey mom named Amanda Wilkes tweeted back at the account, sharing a picture of her own daughter who liked Koelzer because ‘mommy, she looks like me’:
Koelzer, for her part, was incredible about it: she tweeted back at the mom “I absolutely adore this!!! and let her know I like her a lot!”, likely making the little girl’s year.
Beyond the personal interaction, though, it was a perfect example of how representation can make a world of difference for a young child. Seeing someone who looks like you going on to be a superstar in something you’re passionate about is something that a lot of people take for granted - so when someone who may not always have that look-alike role model finds one, it’s incredible to see the impact it has.
It can seem, sometimes, like the world gets too caught up in providing exposure for the minority groups in certain areas. Women CEO’s get spotlights, people of color in predominantly white sports get accolades, and women of color are held up as icons over their caucasian (and male) counterparts.
If they’re the minorities, it may seem easy to think, why do we need to give them so much exposure over the group that seems to make up more of the population in a certain demographic?
This is why. In a world where people are still far too quick to say ‘people like you normally don’t do this’, the Kelsey Koelzers are an inspiration to young girls of color everywhere that yes, hockey can be for them, too. Eventually, it may not seem to unique to see a woman of color out on the ice playing professional hockey - but that starts with showing the future generations that yes, they can do it too.