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Next-Man-Up Mentality After Kadri's Injury

Avalanche forward will miss several weeks with a lower-body injury

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

Nazem Kadri will be out for a significant amount of time after getting hurt in the Colorado Avalanche's game on Sunday at the Minnesota Wild.

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said on Tuesday that Kadri is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury and that the forward will be out for "weeks." An exact recovery timetable has yet to be set.

"Yeah it's a big loss losing Nazzy, he does a lot of things for us, but there are some guys who are excited to get in some of those holes (in the lineup)," Bednar said following morning skate.

Taking Kadri's spot as the team's second-line center for Tuesday's contest versus the Ottawa Senators will be J.T. Compher, who Bednar says has been strong defensively and tough to play against recently.

"I've liked the way he's been playing," Bednar said of Compher. "Good pace to his game, good tenacity to his game. I like the way he checks, 200-foot player. He's involved in a lot of different aspects to our game, so to me he's a guy that we should look at to play in that position with some skilled guys because I think he complements them really well."

Compher has eight goals and 17 assists this season and was previously playing in the bottom-six, most recently centering the club's third line. He's expected to play on a forward combination with Gabriel Landeskog and Joonas Donskoi versus the Senators.

"What I like is that our team's done a real nice job when we had injuries earlier in the year, middle of the year, other guys in the lineup elevating their game and filling in for [injured players]," Bednar said. "It's a good opportunity for someone else now on the power play, and then you get another player on the second power-play unit too. It keeps a lot of guys involved."

Kadri got hurt late in the second period of the Avs' 3-2 win on Sunday in Minnesota after getting tangled up with a Wild player during a faceoff. He went to the locker room for evaluation and played one shift in the third period to test the injury before leaving the game for good; Bednar did not have an update on his status postgame.

The London, Ontario, native has been a staple as the Avs' second-line center all season and recorded 36 points while playing in 51 of the squad's first 54 contests. Kadri missed three games in early December with a lower-body injury.

His 19 goals rank second on the Avs, and he shares the team lead with four multi-goal contests this year. He leads Colorado with 97 penalty minutes and a 56.8 faceoff percentage, taking the fourth-most defensive-zone draws on the club and winning 57.1 percent of those pucks.

"We know what offensive talent he is and how much he can bring offensively, but the grittiness and sandpaper to his game is what I really like about him," said forward Gabriel Landeskog. "He's been big for us. He's been really good. He's chipped in offensively and been a big part of our power-play unit, we're going to miss him."

Colorado has 28 games remaining in the final eight weeks of the season and opens a five-game homestand on Tuesday. The home stay, which is tied for the longest of the year for the Avs, also includes the 2020 NHL Stadium Series outdoor game at the Air Force Academy on Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings. Kadri was the most-experienced player on the Avalanche roster at such open-air events as he played in three previous NHL outdoor contests while a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Kadri is in his first season with Colorado after being acquired in a trade with Toronto on July 1. Prior to getting hurt, he was on pace for a 29-goal, 55-point campaign, which would have marked the fourth time in his 10-year career that he reached the 50-point threshold.

"He's been great for us all year, many different situations," said Compher. "He's been a real key player for us, so a big opportunity for guys to step up as guys have done all year. It's part of our mentality, next man up, and we just got to keep that going."

The player entering the Colorado lineup against Ottawa will be Vladislav Kamenev, who has been a healthy scratch for the past five games and has recorded six points (one goal and five assists) in 23 contests this season.

"He's done a nice job for us when he's been in the lineup," Bednar said of Kamenev. "He's been out a lot of games due to the numbers that we have, we've been healthy with the numbers that we've had for some time."

Kamenev is expected to center one of the Avs' bottom-six lines versus the Sens.

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