The Colorado Avalanche go into Thursday night's game against the New Jersey Devils in the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, barely clinging on to the spot with the San Jose Sharks close behind with games in hand. When news of the return of Matt Duchene, three weeks ahead of his 4-week schedule, from an ankle injury, the team will get an incredible boost.
Duchene will be able to add some instant offense to the Avalanche, who are going to go up against a stingy Devils team on Thursday, but I would have to imagine that there is some skepticism about whether or not it is too early for his return. Ducnehe's ankle injury may have to be taped up well and looked after, but if it is too early, it could really put his participation in the playoffs, assuming they make it, in jeopardy.
In the pool, there might be enough time for Dale C. to work his way into the money conversation, especially with 12 games from Duchene yet to be played. Dale sits in 8th place in the standings, now 17 points out of 5th place. His team will have to get hot right away, but his team will have to climb over a few teams to get there. Improbable, not impossible.