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Avalanche's Duchene out indefinitely

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- The Avalanche announced Wednesday that leading scorer Matt Duchene will be sidelined indefinitely with a hand injury without disclosing the nature of the problem.

The 20-year-old center was hit with a shot puck in the second period Monday in the Avalanche's 9-1 loss to Calgary.

Duchene has 21 goals and 47 points in 57 games, and he played in last month's NHL All-Star Game.

Duchene will miss his first game of the season Wednesday night when the Avalanche, which has lost eight consecutive games, takes on the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Pepsi Center.

"It's just something we have to deal with," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said after the morning skate. "Every team goes through these situations. We've never used it as an excuse and we certainly won't now. It has an impact on our club. There's no question all the injuries have an impact on our club. We don't feel sorry for ourselves and no one else certainly will.

"That was an example last game. Calgary certainly didn't feel sorry for us. We have to really put the focus on what we're doing here right now."

The Avalanche recalled Mark Olver from the Lake Erie Monsters in the American Hockey, and he will center a line with Kevin Porter and Milan Hejduk.

Olver, 23, had a team-leading 21 goals to go along with 15 assists in 52 games with Lake Erie. He began the season with the Avalanche and had 2 assists in four games.

The Avalanche has lost 280 man games to injuries and illnesses this season, the most in the Western Conference.

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