AVALANCHE

Avs get bad injury news as Nichushkin’s surgically repaired ankle is ailing

Dec 28, 2022, 1:53 PM
Valeri Nichushkin...
(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Just when you think the Avalanche are getting healthier, more bad news rolls in.

Star forward Valeri Nichushkin didn’t play on Tuesday night in Arizona, and the reason isn’t good. Nichushkin hurt his surgically repaired ankle against the Predators on Dec. 23, leaving the contest early after just 13.5 minutes of ice-time.

At his press conference on Wednesday, Avs head coach Jared Bednar delivered the bad news, and offered no timeline for Nichushkin’s return.

The Stanley Cup hero from a season ago has played just 15 games this year, delivering seven goals and nine assists. He originally had the ankle repaired in early November, and Bednar said Nichushkin would miss about a month. That was almost the timeline exactly, as the news broke on Nov. 8 and he returned Dec. 9 against the Rangers.

But in his eight games back, Nichushkin didn’t have a goal and didn’t look like the same player. The news today helps explain that, although it’s not what Avalanche fans want to hear. With Nathan MacKinnon still out (although getting closer) and Gabriel Landeskog on the shelf for every game so far, Colorado is missing key scoring threats.

And in the meantime, backup goalie Pavel Francouz has a nagging injury that will keep him out for days, if not weeks, Bednar said. Jonas Johansson will serve as Alexandar Georgiev’s backup for the time being after being recalled from the Colorado Eagles.

Johansson has yet to appear in a game for the Avalanche this season.

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