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At the Rink blog

Avalanche defenseman Johnson out indefinitely

Wednesday, 02.13.2013 / 3:30 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

The injuries continue to pile up for the Colorado Avalanche.

The team learned Wednesday that defenseman Erik Johnson is out indefinitely after suffering a head injury during Monday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Phoenix Coyotes at the Pepsi Center.

Johnson would have been paired with Matt Hunwick, who returned to practice Wednesday after missing Monday’s loss with an injured torso.

Colorado is winless in its past three games. The Avalanche face the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center on Thursday night.

The Avalanche already are missing captain Gabriel Landeskog (head) and defenseman Ryan Wilson (ankle), along with forward Steve Downie, who's out for the season with a torn ACL.

"Just like we've done with the previous guys," coach Joe Sacco said. "There's not much else to say. The situation is what it is."

Speedy center Matt Duchene did not skate Wednesday for what the team described as a maintenance day, but Sacco said Duchene will be in the lineup against the Wild.

"This is unbelievable," said center John Mitchell, who missed Monday’s game because of the flu. "Hopefully, these aren't significant injuries and we can get over them relatively quickly -- get this injury bug and whatever else it is out of the way."

On top of all of the injuries, Colorado also is without center Ryan O'Reilly, who is an unsigned restricted free agent. O’Reilly led the Avalanche with 55 points (18 goals, 37 assists) in 81 games in 2011-12.

"We hope that we can sign Ryan and get him back in the lineup," Hunwick said. "He's a homegrown guy. ... I'm sure the organization would love to have him. He loves playing here. Hopefully, things will work out. I guess that's the business aspect of sports. It's not the easiest.

"You try not to think about it for the most part."

Material from wire services was used in this report.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round