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Loss of Duchene hurts Avalanche's chances at Cup

By Ryan Tolmich
On April 1, 2014

There are so many factors that go into crowning a Stanley Cup champion.
So much of hockey's ultimate prize is based on momentum, as one hot goaltender can carry his team to the Promised Land. Teams have to demonstrate a sense of heart and grit if they hope to survive the grueling, unforgiving playoff tournament. Talent is also key, of course, as the Daily Campus sports staff would stand little chance of kissing the trophy no matter how bad we wanted to win.
However, unfortunately, sometimes the biggest decider of a team's fate is the injury bug, especially in a sport as physical as hockey.
Unfortunately for teams this time of year, injuries loom like the proverbial guillotine, sentencing teams to mediocrity or worse. Any late-season injury can turn into a season-ending injury or, at best, a hindrance on a star's game.
This season's Cinderella, the Colorado Avalanche, was bit by a Mothra sized injury bug this week when they lost leading scorer Matt Duchene. Duchene hurt his medical collateral ligament over the weekend when he collided with a teammate on his opening shift.
He will be out four weeks, dooming the Avalanche to fight for their playoff lives in a deep Western Conference without their best player.
It is in no way a death sentence for a team like the Avs. Head coach Patrick Roy has pulled off an amazing turnaround with the team, turning them into one of the West's most competitive teams.
However, Duchene's injury serves as a reminder to each and every franchise with playoff hopes how quickly things can change. One big hit, one bad stride, one freak accident and your hopes are dashed.
It's almost time for playoff hockey and, when it comes to bringing home the cup, sometimes it isn't how you play on the ice, but who's healthy enough to stay on it.

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