Colorado Avalance forward Nathan MacKinnon was ruled out of Friday night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks with an upper-body injury. The team announced the injury via its PR Twitter account around 30 minutes before the start of the game.
Kiefer Sherwood has been added to tonight’s Avalanche lineup. Nathan MacKinnon is out (upper body).
— Avalanche PR (@AvsPR) March 6, 2021
MacKinnon Out With Upper-Body Injury
MacKinnon’s absence comes as a surprise to many after he participated in Friday’s morning skate. Colorado’s star forward left the previous game early against the San Jose Sharks after receiving an illegal check to the head. However, initially, there were relatively positive updates following his departure on Wednesday night. “I saw him coming off the ice. He seems to be doing good,” said Avalanche coach Jared Bednar in the post-game interviews.
MacKinnon took a high-hit in the neutral zone from Joachim Blichfeld during the third period against the Sharks. Blichfeld was skating towards the bench for a line change when he led with his shoulder into MacKinnon as he skated past him. At first glance, it appeared that the contact was shoulder-to-shoulder before Blichfeld’s momentum took him into MacKinnon’s head. However, from other angles, it looks like the Sharks’ fourth-liner made clean contact with the side of the head. The Avalanche’s medical staff immediately attended to MacKinnon on the ice before he quickly headed off down the tunnel. He did not return to Wednesday night’s game.
Blichfeld received a match penalty for a check to the head. He was playing in his debut game this season for the Sharks and had 5:21 time on ice with one shot on goal. On Thursday, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety suspended Blichfeld for two games for the hit.
Injury Situation In Colorado
Colorado is currently without their two best skaters on offence and defence. Alongside MacKinnon, Cale Makar is also absent from the lineup after missing the last three games with an upper-body injury. He is not expected to play before the Avs home game against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday, March 8th. Rookie Bowen Byram is a third injury concern for the Avalanche who will miss his second game in a row on Friday.
Kiefer Sherwood was called up from the taxi squad for Friday night’s game in response to the Nathan MacKinnon injury news. He has two assists in four games this season.