Avalanche defenseman Zadorov concussed on hit by Capitals’ Wilson

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
DENVER, CO - APRIL 01:  Nikita Zadorov #16 of the Colorado Avalanche is attended to by Francois Beauchemin #32 of the Colorado Avalanche after taking a hit by Tom Wilson #43 of the Washington Capitals and leaving the game in the second period at Pepsi Center on April 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov has been diagnosed with a concussion one day after being on the receiving end of a devastating hit from Washington Capitals right winger Tom Wilson.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy announced the diagnosis Saturday afternoon.

The hit in question occurred 4:10 into the second period of Washington’s 4-2 win on Friday night. Zadorov was being pressured from behind by Capitals center Marcus Johansson as he skated with the puck around the Avalanche net. As he lost control of the puck, there to meet him was Wilson, who caught Zadorov in a vulnerable position and exploded up and through the hit. Zadorov looked dazed while on his back and needed help to get off the ice. He did not return to the game. Wilson was not penalized. Read more

Prospect Need to Know: Boston’s latest shutdown threat

Brandon Carlo (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Everything is happening right now, as Bob Cole would say. You’ve got the Jimmy Vesey saga in Nashville, Zach Werenski signing with Columbus and Pittsburgh grabbing college free agent Ethan Prow out of St. Cloud State. Plus, the CHL playoffs are in full swing, with a couple upstarts threatening the top seeds. In the OHL for example, Sarnia is in trouble thanks to a surging Sault Ste. Marie squad, while Edmonton is giving powerhouse Brandon fits in the WHL. Oh, and the Frozen Four is set, with Quinnipiac, Boston College, North Dakota and Denver all in the mix for April 7. Let’s keep the prospect party going:

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Duchene, MacKinnon out two more games, Avalanche playoff hopes closer to extinct

Jared Clinton
Matt Duchene (Getty Images)

If the Avalanche would have kept pace with the streaking Wild, Saturday’s 4-0 loss at the hands of Minnesota wouldn’t have stomped on Colorado’s playoff hopes. And what hope the Avalanche had for the post-season after dropping a huge game to the Wild got even bleaker with the announcement that Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon will be missing at least two more games with knee injuries.

Duchene, 25, has missed the past four games and MacKinnon, 20, has been sidelined for the past three which has left Colorado without their two leading scorers during the most important stretch of the season. Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said the status of his two star players would be updated over the weekend, and it was announced Sunday that neither Duchene nor MacKinnon would suit up for Colorado’s back-to-back road games against Nashville and St. Louis.

That means the earliest return date for Duchene and MacKinnon may be April 1 when they host the Washington Capitals, who have already clinched the Eastern Conference championship. Getting Duchene and MacKinnon back then may be too little, too late in Colorado’s chase for a post-season berth. Read more

MacKinnon, Duchene injuries could cost Avalanche post-season berth

Jared Clinton
Nathan MacKinnon (center) and Matt Duchene (right) (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Patrick Roy’s Avalanche have been able to buck the advanced stats implications and battle their way into a post-season position thanks to a run-and-gun, high tempo style, but two major losses on offense could have Colorado in a bind for a crucial game against the Minnesota Wild and beyond.

The Avalanche announced Tuesday that Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene, Colorado’s two leading scorers, will both be out of the lineup for the two remaining contests this week. That includes Saturday’s game against the Wild, a game which could be the most important tilt the Avalanche play all season.

As of Tuesday, Colorado is currently one point ahead of Minnesota for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Saturday’s game could change the entire outlook of the season for the Avalanche, especially if the Wild can catch or surpass Roy’s club before the Saturday contest. Being without MacKinnon and Duchene makes things even more difficult for Colorado, but the outlook beyond the game against Minnesota may be even more worrisome. Read more

Five teams, three playoff spots: Who has the best odds of making it to the post-season?

Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon against the Minnesota Wild

We’re approaching the home stretch for the NHL season and with about 10 games left for each team the races are really heating up. Out West, just one point separates two teams that don’t actually seem too interested in the final spot, while the East has three teams vying for two spots.

The five teams left in the hunt are probably channeling their inner Han Solo right now with a mantra of “never tell me the odds,” but we in the media just can’t resist speculating about the future. We’re here to handicap each team’s chances of making the dance along with a look at how they’ve been playing of late to get a realistic outlook of what to expect over the season’s remaining three weeks.

The probabilities come from hockeyviz.com, a site run by Micah Blake McCurdy (better known as @IneffectiveMath on Twitter). They’re based on his model dubbed ‘Oscar’ which simulates the rest of the season 100,000 times and figures out how often each team would make the playoffs in a multitude of scenarios.

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Avalanche’s MacKinnon hurt; Rantanen recalled

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
Nathan-MacKinnon-3

A knee injury to center Nathan MacKinnon has forced the Colorado Avalanche to call in a replacement.

The Avalanche announced the recall of 2015 first-round NHL draft pick Mikko Rantanen from the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage on Saturday. Rantanen would take MacKinnon’s spot in the lineup should he not be able to play Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers.

The Avs have yet to provide an update on MacKinnon’s status after he left Friday’s 4-3 shootout win in Calgary with three minutes remaining in the third period. However, Rantanen’s callup wouldn’t indicate much optimism. Read more

Avalanche captain Landeskog suspended three games for crosscheck on Ducks’ Despres

Jared Clinton
Gabriel Landeskog crosschecks Simon Despres (via Streamable)

Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog was suspended for the first time in his career earlier this season, and it appears he could be facing a second ban before the season is up.

In the third period of Colorado’s 3-0 win over Anaheim Wednesday, Landeskog was coming back into the Avalanche zone during a scramble in front of Semyon Varlamov. The puck bounced around in the crease before popping out towards Ducks defenseman Simon Despres, who spun to locate the puck and fire a backhand on net. As Despres spun, Landeskog approached from the left, had his stick raised and made contract with Despres’ head and neck with a crosscheck: Read more