While watching today’s Captain’s Skate for the Colorado Avalanche, I received numerous messages from exciting fans. The general gist of those messages?
“Did you see MacFarland’s comments about Gabriel Landeskog?”
Yes, I definitely saw them. For anyone who didn’t, Avalanche GM Chris MacFarland did an interview with Pierre Lebrun from The Athletic, and naturally, Landeskog came up. To be honest, I was going to kind of let it be, simply because it’s all behind their paywall, and I wanted to respect that, but the comments have now been posted everywhere, including The Score. And because everyone has been messaging me about it, I do feel like I should comment.
In short, the Avalanche are “hoping” Landeskog can return for the playoffs, but aren’t putting a timeline on anything. Rehab is going very well, and they aren’t going to bet against their “Viking.” I would recommend people check out Lebrun’s full interview, if they can, because they talked about other things as well.
Let’s start with the rehab. It’s fantastic that Landeskog is doing really well this early into his recovery. If anything, that should give fans the hope. While the Avalanche aren’t putting a timeline on his recovery, they have ruled him out for the entirety of the regular season. The fact that he’s doing so well this early in his rehab is probably what is sparking that hope that he can return for the playoffs.
Landeskog, of course, shared some videos and images of his rehab way back in June, so he’s already given fans a peek into where he’s at.
If he’s doing this well so early in his recovery, maybe that will quell some of the fears fans have of Landeskog never returning. I know I wouldn’t bet against him returning to play in the NHL again, and if he’s feeling good right now, I have very little doubt that he’ll be back at some point.
But a return in the playoffs? Yeah, I won’t be putting money down on that, and to be honest, I don’t think the Avalanche would either.
It’s important to keep in mind that by the time the playoffs roll around, Landeskog will have gone 22 months without playing in an NHL game. People want to point to what Nikita Kucherov did in 2021, as he returned for the start of the playoffs, but he had gone less than 8 months between playing games. That’s a little more manageable.
I’m not saying it’s impossible for Landeskog to come back in the playoffs, but it just seems like a very tall task. That’s a long time off between games, and to return in the playoffs, when the intensity and pace of the game are at their peak, seems awfully difficult.
There’s just so little we know about this surgery, and that’s why I’m tempering my expectations a bit. Lonzo Ball had the same procedure done about a month before Landeskog, and he’s been in the news a lot lately. He was on a podcast last month, and reiterated that he’s going to miss this upcoming season for the Chicago Bulls.
That being said, he feels like he’s in a better place now, compared to where he was prior to the surgery.
“At least now, I got the surgery. We got a plan moving forward. We’ve been on plan. I’m on track. Hopefully, everything works out. I just leave it up to God and do the best I can and live with the results,” Ball said.
That’s kind of where I’m at with Landeskog. At least this year, there seems to be a plan. Last year, there was just so much mystery around everything. His return kept getting delayed, and eventually, we all know how it ended.
Ball is optimistic he’ll play in the NBA again. The Avalanche seem very optimistic Landeskog will return.
As for me? I’m optimistic, but I’m just going be patient and let everything play out. There’s a lot of unknowns around high-end athletes with a surgery like this, simply because so few have had to go through with it, so I don’t have a lot of expectations. No one will work harder than the Avs Captain to come back, this we know is true.
And if he does find a way to return in the playoffs, maybe he truly is a Viking.