The Avalanche received a dose of good news on Sunday when it was revealed that Ryan O’Reilly will not require surgery on his injured shoulder. Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco confirmed after Sunday's practice that O'Reilly is only expected to be out of the lineup for "a couple weeks."
The second-year center was hurt in a scary incident Friday night in Minnesota, where he got his skate caught up with Wild forward Matt Cullen while killing a penalty and went hard into the side boards. Play was stopped and O’Reilly was tended to by medical personnel before being immobilized and carted off the ice on a stretch.
A short while after the injury, it was reported that O’Reilly had been taken to a local hospital for precautionary reasons, but was alert and moving his extremities. He was able to fly home with the team following the game.
While the relatively short-term loss of O’Reilly – a defensively responsible center and one of the team’s top penalty killers – hurts the Avalanche, his teammates are well aware that the injury could have been much more significant.
“No one really saw what happened, so we were really scared. He didn’t get away completely unscathed, but obviously it could be a lot worse when you’re taken out on a stretcher,” said forward David Jones
. “He’s not the type of guy who stays down. He’s a tough, tough player. Whenever a guy is lying there, not moving, it’s scary. We were all just kind of praying and hoping he was okay. When we found out it was just his shoulder it was a relief for us.”Cumiskey Very Close
Though O’Reilly is now out of the lineup, the Avalanche could get another healthy body back for Tuesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.
Sacco stated after Sunday’s practice that defenseman Kyle Cumiskey, who hasn’t played since suffering a concussion on Oct. 30 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, could possibly be in the lineup Tuesday.
Cumiskey, who had recorded five points (1g/4a) in 11 contests before the injury and led Colorado’s blueliners with seven goals a season ago, has missed the last 34 games.
In anticipation of Cumiskey’s impending return, defenseman Jonas Holos
was reassigned to the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters after Friday night’s game in Minnesota. Holos appeared in four contests during his most recent stint with the Avalanche after being recalled from Lake Erie on Dec. 14. In 16 NHL games this season, the rookie has posted three assists and a +5 plus/minus rating.No Longer A Teen
The Avs can no longer claim to have a pair of teenaged centers on their roster, as sophomore Matt Duchene
celebrated his 20th birthday on Sunday.
“It’s unbelievable. When you’re little, you think 20 is old. But when you turn 20 you think, ‘Wow, I still feel like a kid.’ Obviously I’m not a teenage anymore, but I’ll just try to keep the fortune I had during my teenage years,” said Duchene.
O’Reilly, Colorado’s only current teenager, will celebrate his 20th birthday on February 7.