Whenever there’s been an injury during this Avalanche season, coach Patrick Roy has been steadfast in his reaction. The Avs can’t use injuries as an alibi for slippage, he says. It’s about the team, he says.
That was Roy’s message after injuries to Alex Tanguay and P.A. Parenteau, among others.
This one is different. This one is to Matt Duchene, who leads the team in points, shots on goal and Olympic gold medals (above). I shy away from saying one guy is indispensable, but Duchene’s on the short list of the Avs who could be considered indispensable. Varly’s the other one.
The Avs can overcome an extended absence for Duchene, but it would put more pressure on Varly to be great, not just good, in the playoffs.
That makes Monday a critical day for the Avs. That’s when we’ll learn the extent of Duchene’s knee injury sustained Saturday against the Sharks. Today was an off day; Roy meets with media Monday.
It’s been a rare moment when Roy has publicly lamented an injury to one of his players. He usually plays the next-man-up card.
But one of those moments came last week, when I asked him about Gabriel Landeskog’s development as a team captain in his third season. Roy quietly lamented the season-ending injury to Tanguay, who had been playing on a line with Landeskog and Paul Stastny.
“That line was really starting to click,” Roy said.
The Avs have been clicking for most of five months. Will they continue with Duchene? We’ll find out Monday morning.