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Dater: Avalanche Depth to Be Tested, Thoughts & Observations

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Colorado Avalanche
Caleb Comeau/Icon Sportswire

EDMONTON, ALBERTA – I hate injuries in sports, always have. Man, haven’t we all just bargained with God so many times over them too? “Please, please, Lord, please don’t let (X-Y-Z player from your team) be out long. Please, give us some good news. Please, spare him.” I’m sure that’s what a lot of Colorado Avalanche fans were doing tonight, after Nazem Kadri left the ice in the first period after taking a cross-check from behind by Evander Kane into the boards.

But the Sports Injury Gods, I’ve come to believe, don’t really care about your stinkin’ prayers. And, if you’re praying to God about a player injury, well, He probably has his hands full with too many other things right now. Any prayers that Kadri would escape serious injury appear to have gone unanswered. I remember distinctly as a little kid praying to God that Red Sox catcher and boyhood idol Carlton Fisk wouldn’t be out long after being run over in Cleveland in 1974 by Leron Lee at home plate. Fisk would be out until the following season with a torn-up knee.

Kadri, the Avs’ super-important second-line centerman, in the midst of a career season, will be lost indefinitely to the injury suffered here tonight.

I think it was John Updike who wrote (and I’m not checking it on Google, about Ted Williams’ final at-bat) that “Gods don’t answer letters.” Right.

Colorado Avalanche Win, But…

So, Kadri’s injury took all the fun out of that win tonight for the Avs. Well, maybe not all. The fact is, this team is only five wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup for the third time in team history – but the last time was 21 years ago. This team doesn’t need a fully healthy team, probably, to win this thing. If the Avs play the Tampa Bay Lightning, they’ve got some injuries too, including to Brayden Point. If they play the New York Rangers (wait, what, it could be the Rangers as the opponent?), they’ve got some health issues too. Besides, the Avs are a better team than the Rangers with or without Nazem Kadri.

But here’s the deal: it’s going to get harder to win it all without Nazem Kadri. He is a very important player for the Colorado Avalanche. We all know this. But the fact remains: the Avs just have to beat the Oilers one more time in the next four games, a veritable fait accompli. Then, just one more series victory against an Eastern Conference opponent – one of whom, if it’s the Lightning, will have to go six or seven games to advance and the other would be a Cinderella opponent that, while a good team, doesn’t stack up with the Avs.

Who should replace Kadri as the second-line center? I think it should be Mikko Rantanen. Let him play in the meantime at 2C, move the hugely underrated Artturi Lehkonen up to first-line right wing and just go with Landeskog-MacKinnon-Lehkonen, and Nichushkin-Rantanen-Newhook as a second line. I would not move J.T. Compher up to 2C, because I think he’s just better suited to a bottom-six role for now still.

About the Kane hit: Don’t cancel your subscriptions here, please, but: I don’t think it was as dirty as some here might think. I don’t think Kane fully extended his arms on the hit, and I don’t think he followed through all that much. I think Kadri lost his balance on the hit and went into the boards in an awkward way. Yes, I do think it was a penalty, and, yes, I think it is worth a short suspension. But I think this was more like a 6 or 7 on the “egregious penalty that should outrage us all” meter.

Superstreak Bonus!

I will bet that Kane gets one game, and that’s it. Because, for one thing, we all know the Avs don’t get many favorable rulings from the league office. Second, this was Kadri it happened to – one of the league’s favored whipping boys.

Kane is who he is: A talented player who sometimes plays over the line. I guarantee you he doesn’t care what any of you think about him, either.

We’re going to see the Avs’ depth pushed to the very limit here. Well, not the very limit, because they still have some really fine hockey players still in the lineup. But, Kadri will be a big loss. Let’s hope for a quick return.

But I wouldn’t pray too hard about it.

THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS

  • I think this remains Pavel Francouz’s net to lose right now. Darcy Kuemper did not suit up for a second straight game. He’s with the team, though, and did skate today after the regulars left. So, it seems like he’s not far off from being activated again. But, I think he’s lost his starting job until Frankie falters, should it happen.
  • What a great, great, great pickup Artturi Lehkonen was by Joe Sakic, at the deadline. Wow, is he a great defensive player. I absolutely predict a Frank J. Selke Trophy in his future.
  • The Colorado Avalanche have been really good at grinding out these kinds of wins tonight. The overpassed at times and the power play still can make you want to pull your hair out at times. But the Avs just kept skating and coming at the Oilers, even after getting down an early goal. They didn’t let Edmonton get that second goal, which would have blown the roof right off this place. They just kind of gradually wore the Oilers out. How tired did McDavid and Draisaitl look by the end of the game?
  • Very tired.
  • Tyson Barrie? Have we noticed him once in this series? I haven’t.
  • The Oilers did some whining after the game about an alleged slew foot by Nathan MacKinnon on Draisaitl. To paraphrase Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft, when asked about the Kane hit on Kadri: I didn’t see it.
  • If the goal is to have Kadri possibly come back for the Stanley Cup Finals, the best thing for that would be for the Lightning-Rangers series to go six or seven games.
  • I thought Jack Johnson was real good in the limited time he was on the ice.
  • Cale Makar? Sublime. Great defensive game, great puck decisions in his own end. He played nearly 30 minutes. What a player.
  • Josh Manson took a hard hit into the boards too and left the game briefly. But he came back. He’s a huge player for the Avs right now.
  • Devon Toews was real good tonight too. Such a steady influence on the team.
  • A planes, trains and automobiles kind of day getting here today. Some highlights: Heavy turbulence over Calgary, a long bus ride from Calgary to Edmonton, zero leg room on that bus, but good wifi and free snacks and sodas too. Couldn’t get into my Airbnb for about 30 minutes. Picture me standing by the door fruitlessly entering a door code that wouldn’t work. Turns out I had the last two digits of the code transposed on my phone.
  • Thanks for your Tip Jar donations that made this trip for me and Kelsey more affordable.
  • If the Avs play the Rangers and I start having to look up New York City hotel prices?
  • Then, please pray for me.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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avs099229

Hey Adrian, any news on Burakovsky and NAK?

Joel Stefaniak

Hopefully Burky can come back strong and step it up in Kadri’s absence. He needs to be a really big factor moving forward.

Daniel Vartanian

Let’s not forget Peter Forsberg was injured back 01 cup run.
This could have been Kardi’s last game with Avs.

John Mauss

Sad but true.

Donald Victory

Depends on his agent. If he uses Mikko’s agent, he is gone. If he likes to win championships, he will take less to stick around. But, many free agents this off-season. Niederreiter for one would be a great addition.

GWood

Yeah it wasn’t a huge shove, but a little goes a long way in that situation and its so frustrating in this sport. Guys like that are bullies in the sense that if they can’t beat you, they will just injure with a cheap shot and take you out. Very low character. JT wants to be a champ and is coming through big time. We’ve all seen a ton a extraordinary players throughout the decades, but Makar may end up being one of the very best ever. Another great win last night, 5 more to go.

Demetris Gray

Since cross-checking is now penalized, kadri was probably not expecting it. He is no a big guy either and depending on his balance…

i watched it a few times and how a thump was injured is odd. I suspect they Avs were vying for a suspension, and Kadri will be back soon.

tele_mon

I have a feeling I might have just seen Kadri in and Avs sweater for the last time… hope not.

Demetris Gray

If he has Mikko’s greedy agent, you are probably correct.

Donald Victory

Agent will determine. IQ will too. He might get a large offer from a rebuilder, or a few year off contender. If he does not come back, blame Mikko contract. How Saad!

Kelly Clifton

Did anyone else notice Draisaitl’s frequent stick foulsduring contact on face-offs, he also had a really dangerous high stick on Makar that only hit his visor. After 3 sticks to the chin it is small wonder Mckinnon would want to bang him up.

Demetris Gray

Refs swallowed the whistle after the Avs blew nine minutes of powerplay. The powerplay needs again to be simplified. Mikko has had several errant passes to backhand poistions are dumb. Clean it up and criuise to win the Cup!

Donald Victory

He was worse than Kane. Even McDavid was hitting. Clean hit back, score six goals, and this will all be over. T-minus-seven hours…

Al

I dont believe Woodcroft when he says he didnt see the Kane hit. Hes just saying that to take attention away from the hit. I havent seen much clean hockey play from Draisaitl either. I think he has resorted to goon hockey like Kane because he is playing hurt just like he was before this series even started. I think Kane should be out for more than one game. Kadri would be if he would have done this

John Mauss

Dater’s analysis is, unfortunately, accurate. I’m hoping for two games so we definitely don’t have to face the risk of another injury from this goon.

Donald Victory

That’s his witchcraft coming out…scary looking dude.

hockeyhead

Dater, I disagree, Kane’s hit was bad. He had been head hunting since the end of game one and finally found an Av in a vulnerable spot. I think he had intent to injury. Call me a homer if you want to. I think Kane is a cheap shot plain and simple and I hope he is suspended. Hoping Kadri and the other injured Avs heal up and that the Avs sweep up the Oil mess.

Bob Neal

Sage points as always. I think Kane gets suspended for the remainder of the series which is hopefully only one game. I think the NHL is concerned about showing more anti-Muslim sentiment by not giving Kadri some justice for once. Any idea what the injury is? Looked like a separated shoulder to me. I do disagree with you in that was nothing but a total cheap shot with intent to injure. I can’t believe they didn’t eject Kane from the game.

Donald Victory

Oh sage indeed.

colorado_gary

Excellent article, lots of insight and good stuff. And yes, the luxury of being able to plug in a Burky if he can go can’t be overlooked. Burakovsky has been a game changer in the playoffs before. And it’s obvious to me that Rantanen was slowed by something and received clearance to go all out. Even in game 2, he was checking but rolled off some checks early. Last night he played as physical as I’ve ever seen, hammering guys, finishing checks and possessing the puck. Like we say, a beast. So it’s almost like the Avs added another player… Read more »

Glendon Gulliver

NHL Player Safety

@NHLPlayerSafety
·
19m

Edmonton’s Evander Kane will have a hearing today for Boarding Colorado’s Nazem Kadri.

Thomas Wilgus

The Oilers are obviously completely over-matched and have resorted to goon hockey. With all due respect Adrian, I think you are being too kind to Kane and his thuggery. He and Draisaitl have been playing dirty hockey throughout the whole series. Neither deserve the benefit of doubt and Kane should be DQ’d for the rest of the series (probably 1 game) for his blatant attempt to injure Kadri.
The ultimate payback will be a sweep. Go AVs!!

Demetris Gray

Sign him to the Avs next year is the answer!

Jim Strohmeier

I noticed Tyson Barrie – he did his famous, long pause behind the net during a power play, then skated out and passed back to .. no one! lol

Kane doesn’t need more than one game for suspension, because he will miss the handshake line after game 4!

Go Avs!!!

dp10

AD, if the finals will be between the Rangers and the Avs…hit me up for accommodation!

Demetris Gray

LOL. Really, you can easily afford NYC accommodations! LOL! With out of control inflation hotel prices have jumped lock step. $500+/night right now. With gasoline prices jumping 100+ percent over the last 18 months. Air and ground trasportation is insanely expensive. Rental cars $100+/day, gasoline $7/gallon, worse than Jimmy Carter era.

Luke Waggoner

Yeah, I’m not buying that Woodcroft didn’t see the hit on Kadri. He may not have seen it in real-time, but it was penalized, there was a review, and the play must have been shown at least a couple times on the screens in Edmonton.

Woodcroft has been a moron this whole series. Did you notice when Kassian was holding Byram’s head on the bench, when Byram “retaliated” when he got loose, Woodcroft was incensed.

What a whiner. He’ll soon be on he golf course, so who cares?

Demetris Gray

Good move taking Kelsey. 😉

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Adrian Dater, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

This site is in no way associated with the Colorado Avalanche or the NHL. Copyright © 2019 National Hockey Now and Adrian Dater.

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