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Morning Flurries: The NHL is broken

I’m serious, everyone in the league is injured.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning
May 23, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (44) is checked on by goaltender Braden Holtby (70) after an injury against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second period in game seven of the Eastern Conference Final in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Avs

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov hasn’t exactly impressed this season, and his lack of productiveness is starting to worry. Tom looks at the uncertain future of Big Z in Colorado. [Mile High Hockey]

Through 18 games this season, Zadorov is averaging only 15:12 minutes a game - the lowest average of his career and nearly four minutes fewer than a season ago. A lot of it has to do with being replaced by Ian Cole on the team’s top penalty kill unit, but Zadorov’s even strength TOI is down as well - his 13:10 EV minutes a game is last among the six defenders that are regularly in the Avalanche lineup.

Today, the Washington Capitals are in town to face the Avalanche who have just come off a commanding win over the Boston Bruins. Ross Kleppe takes you through the win against one of the top teams in the East. [Mile High Hockey]

The Avalanche’s power play put away three goals, with special attention to the second unit’s ability to net two of those three. The first goal was impressive, with the team converting on a critical power play at a critical time, and for them to capitalize and give the Avs a two goal cushion was massive. Going forward, the group of Kamenev, Girard, Kerfoot, Jost and Soderberg could be fun to watch, to see if they can develop some more chemistry.

Take a look at some of the “Facts and Figures” from the Bruins game and around the league. [NHL dot com]

Colorado’s big line has factored on 37 of 65 Avalanche goals (56.9 percent). Only Boston’s David Pastrnak, Bergeron and Brad Marchand (67.8 percent), and Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (64.4 percent), have combined to factor on more team goals this season.

Looking ahead to the Caps game, it appears that the team has flown in young goaltender Ilya Samsonov to either start or backup Pheonix Copley. Wait, what about Braden Holtby? Well, he is suffering from an upper-body injury and doesn’t appear to be healthy yet. [Russian Machine Never Breaks]

The 21-year-old Samsonov is 3-5 with a 3.73 goals against average and a .875 save percentage in his first season in the AHL. The young Russian’s numbers reflect the Hershey’s sluggish start to the season, where the young team under a new coach lost 7 of their first 9 games.

The Avs visited cancer patients at the UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital during Hockey Fights Cancer month to spread some joy, take some pictures, and sign some autographs. Captain Gabriel Landeskog had a very touching moment with one of the patients named Ruthie Parrish, a massive Avs fan! [FOX 31 Denver]

They don’t get any more hardcore than Ruthie Parrish and her son Alex. They eat, breathe and sleep hockey. Alex has played goalie all his life. And this visit from their hockey hero comes at the perfect time. Ruthie has stage four colon cancer.

”I had my surgery on Monday, they removed a tumor from my liver, and I’ll have another surgery down down down the road and I want to come right back here because they’ve taken such good care of me - everyone seems super sweet,” Ruthie said.

In AHL news, the Colorado Eagles have called forward Cole Ully from the ECHL Utah Grizzlies. The Eagles have a stretch of three games in four nights on the road coming up this weekend. [Greeley Tribune]

Ully, 23, has scored five goals and 12 assists with the Grizzlies this season. He has 121 games of American Hockey League experience with the Texas Stars, collecting 20 goals and 26 points.

In addition to his time in the AHL, Ully has also amassed 46 points in 45 ECHL games with the Idaho Steelheads, including 19 goals in 39 games during the 2017-18 season.

The League

The Nashville Predators are at the top of the Western Conference, but their lead is shrinking. Conversely, the Chicago Blackhawks’ downturn has seen them plummet down the standings. Around the West. [Mile High Hockey]

The Avs finally ended a five-game losing streak with a pair of wins against the Oilers and Boston Bruins. For a team that couldn’t stop giving up four or more goals, the Avs held the Bruins to only three goals while scoring six themselves. Mikko Rantanen extended his lead in NHL scoring with a goal and two assists in the game. The tide will start turning around for the Avs soon.

The Pittsburgh Penguins want to start making trades. Why? Because they’re at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. What does Jim Rutherford do with his team? He’s just lost Sidney Crosby to injury. Is it still early and there’s nothing to worry about, or should the newly extended GM start making drastic changes? Around the East. [Raw Charge]

Full props to the Buffalo Sabres, they’ve had a great month and it’s pushed them all the way up to fifth in the conference, and eighth in the league. Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner have created some beautiful chemistry together. Skinner has 13 goals in his last 14 games with his new club, including six in his last five games. And even beyond that top pair, players like Jason Pominville, Conor Sheary, Sam Reinhart, and Kyle Okposo have all become solid contributors in the top six.

The NHL has suddenly seen a large number of their stars fall to injury in the past few days. We know Auston Matthews is out for the Maple Leafs, and Crosby just suffered an upper-body injury, but now players like Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Nico Hischier, John Klingberg, Evgeni Kuznetsov, PK Subban, and Cam Fowler are all also on the shelf. Jeez, you could make a playoff team with all these names.

Okay, someone (me) did. And yes, I know now that Jack Campbell is a goalie.

These new Gordon Ramsey memes are great and it appears fans are doing this for every team. What do you think the Avalanche’s one would be?

And we’ll end this with Gritty discovering snow!