Monday was not a good night for the Colorado Avalanche. Not only did the Avs suffer their first regulation loss of the season, falling 3-1 to the Blues in St. Louis, but they also may have lost one of their most important forwards in the process.
Mikko Rantanen suffered a rather gruesome and unsightly injury in the second period of the game and did not return. There has yet to be an update on his status, but Avalanche fans just have to hope it's not as bad as it looked. As Rantanen was attempting to make his way into the neutral zone, his skate appeared to catch a divot in the ice and get caught, forcing his foot/ankle to twist awkwardly before he crumpled to the ice.
Here's a good (and gross) look at how out-of-place Rantanen's foot got bent:
The Avalanche winger was helped off the ice and, as expected, was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game. He's scheduled to undergo an MRI on Tuesday to find out the extent of the damage, but some early speculation suggests he may have suffered a possible broken ankle or high ankle sprain.
"I have no idea [if the injury is serious]," Avs coach Jared Bednar said following the game, according to ESPN. "I mean, he wasn't good enough to continue tonight as far as I know. We'll just have to re-evaluate him in the morning and see what happens."
It seems rather likely that Rantanen will miss some time as a result of the injury, the only question is how much time. It's certainly not out of the question that he could be gone for weeks or even months, and that would be a brutal development for Rantanen and the Avalanche.
Colorado currently sits atop the NHL with a 7-1-1 record and he's a big reason why. The 22-year-old Finnish winger is part of the Avs' top line -- one of the most explosive and dynamic trios in hockey -- and is a highly productive force on that unit. Through nine games this season, he has five goals and 12 points.
Rantanen is coming off back-to-back 80-plus point seasons, including a career year last year that saw him record 31 goals and 87 points. Just prior to this season, he signed a six-year, $55.5 million extension ($9.5 million AAV) with the Avs, making him the team's highest-paid player.