The third installment of an Avalanche of injuries for the Colorado Avalanche just might be the most positive update yet. It has been a tumultuous season and the headline of the season is injuries.
Luckily, things are turning in the right direction. It helps when you get to remove a couple of names from the list, including Darren Helm and Kurtis MacDermid who both returned to action this week.
Darren Helm is in tonight. Helm will return to center. “He feels way better, more explosive, looks better,” said Jared Bednar.— Meghan Angley (@megangley) March 22, 2023
EJ’s update is quite simple: he’s been ready to go. Johnson has been skating hard for the last week and is going to be with the team moving forward. He’s in a regular jersey with the team and is simply waiting for medical clearance to get back out there on the ice.
His veteran status would be greatly appreciated and give a jolt to the Avs defense who got pummeled by the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night. He could return as soon as this weekend against the Arizona Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks.
Jared Bednar on Erik Johnson:— Ryan Boulding (@rboulding) March 20, 2023
"He's doing well. He's going to be with the main group for good."
Hopefully he'll return sooner than later.
Manson has been left out of the lineup and on the ice after his lower-body injury back at the beginning of the month. His tweak, at the time, was not so much of a tweak after all as he has not been on the ice since.
However, head coach Jared Bednar stated Manson would be starting to skate sometime in the next week. Again, it has been a bad loss on defense to lose Manson and it’s been noticeable. If he does skate in the next week and progresses well, he could return in the final week(s) of the season to prepare for the playoffs.
Frankie skated for the first time last week since obtaining his own lower-body injury. He’s been out since February and was initially given a four-week timeline. We are approaching the four-week status now, and his only one appearance skating is all we’ve had.
Considering he’s only skated once since his injury, his recovery seems to be taking longer than usual. At this point, his status is up in the air and Bednar has provided no updates either. We’ll just have to keep an eye out for him, especially as the season comes to a close.
It’d be interesting to see how it all plays out, especially since Francouz was quietly a key piece to the Stanley Cup win last year when Darcy Kuemper fell to injury twice. If Francouz is not available for selection, the Avs would have to roll with Alexandar Georgiev and pray he doesn’t fall to injury as Jonas Johansson is far from a playoff-caliber player.
Francouz has taken the ice for the first time since since his injury #GoAvsGo #Avs @FullPressNHL pic.twitter.com/OErmX458MW— Brennan Vogt (@brennan_vogt) March 17, 2023
Rodrigues was the newest addition to this list as he is now in concussion protocol from the hit he received Monday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. Bednar said he was “not great” but Rodrigues was on the ice in a red non-contact jersey before the Penguins game.
Of course, concussions are no joke and difficult to work around. The NHL’s concussion protocol allocates at least 10 days to have the player recover and see where they stand. If he is okay at the earliest point possible, he could return on April Fools against the Dallas Stars. Who knows what will happen after that?
It’s an optional #Avs morning skate with Evan Rodrigues (concussion protocol) in red. Penguins visit Ball Arena tonight. pic.twitter.com/cSvlRbo2Rh— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) March 22, 2023
Makar tweaked (actually tweaked this time) something in MoTown against the Detroit Red Wings which left him out for the last two games. However, Bednar has stated he is truly day-to-day in his recovery.
Luckily, it seems to be nothing too serious. He has been skating with the team the last two morning skates but hasn’t been able to push it to game speed yet. The extra recovery and true day-to-day status he has should see him return sometime this weekend as well alongside EJ.
Cale Makar was a little sore yesterday but is doing “much better” today. He will not play tonight as an added precaution, but will be reevaluated for Friday.— Meghan Angley (@megangley) March 22, 2023
Lehkonen suffered a broken finger in his return to Quebec to face the Montreal Canadiens. While he got two goals in his return and nearly got the hat trick, his impressive performance was overshadowed by his loss.
It was quickly announced he’d broken his finger after the game and would return to Denver for surgery. His surgery was successful and he is now recovering. It was an initial four-to-six-week timeline and it seems to still be on said path. His recovery timeline would set him up for a return right at the start or during the first round of the playoffs, but it’s all the info we have on him now. But, he was sighted around the team this week still too.
Artturi Lehkonen sighting pic.twitter.com/VvVrH9LEuY— Aarif Deen (@runwriteAarif) March 20, 2023
Finally, the biggest and best update from this list comes from the Avalanche captain. Of course, it has been well documented time and time again Landeskog has not played a single game all year and has been missing from the Avs side.
He is missing no longer.
OH?!— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) March 20, 2023
Even though it’s a red non-contact for Gabriel Landeskog, the fact he’s with the team at morning skate is a HUGE sign #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/MTkaBYg361
It was an incredible sight to see the captain skating for the last couple of weeks, but more importantly, skating with the team at morning skate Monday morning. His presence alone will motivate the team and push them on.
While the team aspect of his return is big, he still has a lot of time to go. He’s moving the best he has in some time but still has no exact timeline of when he’ll return, according to Bednar.
Landeskog will certainly try and get back as soon as possible and just get back to playing hockey, simply put. At this point, the earliest we could see Landeskog return would be in three weeks during the final week of the regular season. Even then, he’d have to make a lot of progress to achieve said goal. Otherwise, he might simply be eyeing a return at the beginning or sometime during the first round.
At this point, we just want the captain back. He’ll be welcomed with open arms and extremely loud cheers. Soon enough, Gabe, soon enough.