It’s hard to play hockey when you’re not on the ice. Perhaps no team understands that better right now than the Colorado Avalanche, who are currently tied with New Jersey for the NHL team with the most players on injured reserve. The Associated Press has a running tally of the damage: Team captain Adam Foote is out with a concussion, along with Peter Mueller, Kyle Cumiskey, and Kyle Quincey; goalie Craig Anderson and Ryan Wilson are nursing knee injuries; T.J. Galiardi is out with a broken right wrist; and David Van Der Gulik has torn ligaments in his left knee.
The Denver Post points out that the Avs have 53 man-games lost to injury so far this season—the seventh-highest total in the league—and wonders if the Avs are being hit too often by opposing teams: 287 times so far this year, compared to the 243 hits the Avs have dished out. Not all players buy into the theory, but some acknowledge that the team could do a better job at finishing checks.
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Mile High Hockey sees all the injuries as an opportunity for younger players to log some solid time at the pro level, giving fans and coaches the ability to evaluate potential future talent. As it stands, players like Colby Cohen, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jonas Holos, and David Liffiton—all defensemen—are seeing extended time to shine.