|Avalanche dealing with the loss of another key player to injury|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 18 January 2008 13:38|
The team is simply trying to come to grips with losing yet another key player to injury. Colorado will be without center Paul Stastny for up to three weeks after he had surgery to remove his appendix on Thursday.
``I don't think anybody feels sorry for you,'' Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said Friday.
Colorado is already minus captain Joe Sakic (hernia) and forward Ryan Smyth (broken ankle). With the three of them out, the Avalanche are missing roughly 27 percent of their offense this season.
``I guess when it rains it pours,'' forward Ian Laperriere said. ``What can you do?''
Simply move on. That was the Avalanche's approach after losing Sakic and Smyth, who will both be sidelined for at least another six weeks.
``We can't worry about what can happen, what's going to happen,'' Quenneville said. ``What players we have are the players that are going to be playing. But it's just a tough break for Paul.''
The injury will cost Stastny his first All-Star game appearance after being named to the Western Conference squad last week.
``He worked hard to make the All-Star game,'' defenseman John-Michael Liles said. ``It is a tribute to him that he made the team.''
Stastny felt a pain in his abdomen Thursday, and the team's medical staff determined he needed the appendectomy.
The Avalanche recalled center T.J. Hensick from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League to take his place.
``It's a tough loss for sure,'' Liles said. ``We've gotten used to dealing with a couple of tough losses already. It's a matter of everybody stepping up that much more.''
There's a side of the Avalanche that feels a little snakebit these days.
``This is as extreme as I've been around,'' Liles said. ``It's not too often that you have your top three scorers go down. It's an uneasy thing. We have to overcome this as a team.''
As a rookie last season, Stastny finished with 78 points and was runner-up for the league's top rookie award, losing out to Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin. Stastny also set an NHL rookie record with a 20-game scoring streak.
Stastny is the team's leading scorer this season with 17 goals and 32 assists.
What's more, he's never missed an NHL game, appearing in all 82 games last season and 46 straight this year before the appendectomy.
``I feel for the kid,'' Laperriere said. ``He's such a great kid. He works so hard all year. It will hurt us.''
Colorado lost Smyth to a broken right ankle in an overtime loss at Phoenix on New Year's Eve. He has 11 goals and 17 assists in 36 games this season.
Sakic underwent successful hernia surgery on Dec. 28, and hasn't played since Nov. 30. He has seven goals and 15 assists in 24 games this season.
``We've had a lot of injuries this year,'' said Tyler Arnason, who's missed time with a wrist ailment. ``We're still in the playoff hunt because guys have filled in with (Smyth and Sakic) being out. We can only think that if we can stay close and get it going again at the end of the year, we will be all right.''