Monday, February 20, 2017

NHL news: Avs' Zadorov out for season with injury; Johnson practices for first time

The Colorado Avalanche just can't catch a break. They've lost starting goalie Semyon Varlamov for the rest of the season. They are also dead last in the NHL with 35 points (their record is a lousy 16-38-3). Another injury has occurred for the Avs. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov collided with teammate Mikko Rantanen in a Monday practice, and will miss the rest of the season. The Denver post's Mike Chambers reports that the injury is a fractured ankle. Zadorov, 21, was a big part of the return the Avs got when they traded C Ryan O'Reilly to the Buffalo Sabres on June 26, 2015. The Sabres drafted Zadorov 16th overall in the 2013 NHL draft. Zadorov has 10 points (all assists) in 56 games this year. He's also a -20. Zadorov has a hobby of sitting in the penalty box. In 145 career NHL games, Zadorov has 140 PIM. In the 56 games he played this season, he had 73 PIM. "I think I fell first then he fell on me," Rantanen said after the practice. But I don't know what happened exactly. He's a heavy guy." Rantanen was also hurt in the collision, but seems fine now. "He got tangled up with Mikko and actually fell on top of Mikko but his leg got trapped underneath Mikko and [he] fell awkwardly," Avs head coach Jared Bednar said on the collision.
       The Avs did get some good news though. Defenseman Erik Johnson practiced for the first time since December 6th, when he broke his leg. "We'll just see what tomorrow brings," Bednar said of Johnson. "He's had some days where he's felt real good and others not. [He] Seems to be on the right path." Forward Rene Bourque, who is recovering from a concussion, also practiced today. Johnson, 28, has a goal and 10 assists (11 points) in 23 games this season. Bourque, 35, has 9 goals and 4 assists (13 points) in 43 games this season.
        The Avs have looked for defensemen. They acquired D Mark Barberio and D Cody Goloubef earlier this season, and are shopping stars Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, and will probably only deal them if a top 2 defenseman, or prospect d-man, is in the trade. Zadorov is just 21, and is still getting better. The Avs are hoping that this injury doesn't affect his future.

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