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Avalanche/Ducks Notebook

Hejduk Inches Closer To 900th Game, But Leaves With Injury

Friday, 03.11.2011 / 9:45 PM MT / Features
By Aaron Lopez  - Special to
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Avalanche\/Ducks Notebook
Hejduk Injured In 899th Game, Stastny Also Hurt
Veteran forward Milan Hejduk inched closer to a milestone that no other player in Avalanche history has achieved, but now it’s anyone’s guess when he might get there.

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Hejduk suited up in his 899th career game tonight, bringing him one step closer to becoming the third player in Avs/Nordiques history to reach 900 games with the franchise. Joe Sakic (1,378) and Adam Foote (963) are the only two players who have reached that mark thus far.

However, because Sakic and Foote spent the beginning of their careers with the Nordiques before the organization moved to Denver, the next time he takes the ice Hejduk will become the very first player to appear in 900 games with the Avalanche (1995-present).

The bad news came early in the third period, when it was announced that Hejduk had suffered a shoulder injury and would not return to the game. He took his last shift in the final minute of the second period, but did not come out for the third stanza.

Colorado's other assistant captain, Paul Stastny, also left tonight's game early in the third period due to a back injury.

There was no immediate word on the severity of the injuries, and Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco said the team will know more about their situations tomorrow.

Liles Sits
Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles missed his first game of the season tonight, sitting out due to a leg injury sustained during Tuesday’s loss in Minnesota. Liles played just four shifts in that game before being knocked out of action following a hit from Wild forward Brad Staubitz.

The defenseman isn’t expected to be out of the lineup for long. Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco categorized him as “day-to-day” this morning and said the team will see how he presents on Saturday before deciding if he will play against Nashville.

Liles had been the only Avalanche player to appear in each of the team’s first 66 games. Overall, his streak of consecutive games played ended at 74. The last time the Indianapolis native missed a contest was March 27, 2010, when he served as a healthy scratch against the Phoenix Coyotes.

With Liles sidelined, defenseman Jonas Holos appeared in the 24th game of his rookie season.

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Foote Keeps Moving Up
With his appearance in tonight’s game, Foote (1,151) passed Leo Boivin (1,150) for sole possession of 37th place all-time among NHL defensemen in games played. In recent days, Foote has surpassed Garry Galley (1,149) and Borje Salming (1,148) on that same list.

The Avalanche captain ranks fifth among active blueliners in games, trailing Nicklas Lidstrom (1,479), Roman Hamrlik (1,297), Sean O’Donnell (1,158) and Chris Pronger (1,154). Foote is also currently tied with Liles for the most career assists by a defenseman in franchise history with 203.

McLeod Sets Personal Mark
Avalanche agitator Cody McLeod dropped the gloves with Anaheim forward Brad Winchester 13:37 into tonight’s game, increasing his penalty minute total on the season to a career-high 166 with the five-minute major. McLeod’s previous career best was 162 penalty minutes, set during the 2008-09 campaign.

The winger also picked up a two-minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct early in the second period, furthering that total to 168 PIM.

In 258 career games, the Binscarth, Manitoba native has totaled 588 penalty minutes to go along with 30 goals and 23 assists.
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