MacKinnon injury adds to Avalanche woes

NHL

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The Avalanche will be without Nathan MacKinnon until 2023. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)
The Avalanche will be without Nathan MacKinnon until 2023. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Colorado Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon will miss approximately four weeks due to an upper-body injury, the team announced Tuesday.

MacKinnon left Monday’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in the first period and did not return. He winced after taking a wrist shot and appeared to favour his left side when he went to the bench. He also appeared to be in some discomfort after blocking a shot and taking a hit from Flyers forward Scott Laughton.

Losing the perennial Hart Trophy candidate is the latest tough blow for the reigning Stanley Cup champs. Gabriel Landeskog, Valeri Nichushkin, Evan Rodrigues, Bowen Byram, Josh Manson and Artturi Lehkonen are just some of the many Avalanche players currently on the shelf.

“Guys are going to have to step up. It’s going to be a challenge,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said on Monday. “You’ve got to go out and play hard every night, regardless of the cards you’re dealt.”

MacKinnon has been his typical dynamic self in 2022-23, posting eight goals and a league-leading 26 assists in 23 games. The 27-year-old agreed to a record eight-year, $100.8 million extension prior the season.

With such an extensive list of injured players, the Avalanche currently sit a disappointing fourth place in the Central Division but still own the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

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