Mar 31, 2014 6:02 PM by Posted by Greg Smith
Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene will miss roughly four weeks with a knee injury, the team announced Monday morning.
Duchene suffered the injury on his first shift-roughly 30 seconds into the game-of Saturday's 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. He collided with teammate Jamie McGinn in the San Jose zone and fell awkwardly to the ice. Duchene was able to make it back to the Avalanche bench on his own, but he didn't return to the contest.
"He'll be out approximately four weeks," Roy said of Duchene, who had an MRI on Sunday. "We'll know more after, but that is the first I've heard from our doctors."
"We'll take our time and be patient."
The Avs center is in the midst of his best professional season as he leads the team in points (70), assists (47), shots (217) and game-winning goals (six-tied), all of which are career highs. He is tied for third on the club in goals with 23.
Duchene won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and returned to the Avalanche on a scoring tear. He had points in eight consecutive games after the Olympic break, part of a career-long nine-game point streak from Feb. 8 to March 12.
He finished March leading Colorado with 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 14 games.
While Duchene's offensive numbers will be missed, the Avs have overcome injuries to some of their top forwards already this season. Alex Tanguay (57 games), PA Parenteau (19 games), Paul Stastny (11 games) and John Mitchell (five games) have all missed time this year from a variety of injuries.
"We had to find ways to win hockey games, and this is what this team has been doing all year," Roy said. "When you're talking about a team changing its culture that is exactly what we are talking about. We're not looking for excuses, we're looking for solutions, and what are we going to do. We are also looking for opportunity for other guys."
Roy had rookie Nathan MacKinnon take Duchene's spot at center on a line with Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn at Monday's practice, and the trio will start Tuesday's game together in Columbus.
MacKinnon has played with both O'Reilly and McGinn at different points this season and said there is no added pressure to be playing in Duchene's spot. However, he did say it's hard to replace a player of Duchene's caliber in the lineup.
"You can't replace a guy like Dutchy. He's been good for us," MacKinnon said. "He has a ton of points for us this year, and he's been a huge difference for us. At the same time we're going to have to find ways to win without him, and we're deep and we have a lot of good players that we can do that."
Duchene's injury will likely keep him out of the Avs lineup through at least the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, scheduled to begin April 16. The Avalanche secured its first playoff berth since 2010 with the win on Saturday.
Earlier in the day Duchene said via his Twitter account that he is thankful for the support he's received and will do all he can to be ready for the playoffs.
"We have [an] outstanding medical and training staff that will help me get healthy ASAP," Duchene wrote. "I will be doing everything in my power to be ready for Game 1... And if not then, shortly after!
"We are a helluva team ready for the playoffs. Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers they are greatly appreciated! #WhyNotUs!"