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Matt Duchene likely in, Peter Mueller out for Avs’ game 1

Milan Hejduk, Matt Duchene, Peter Mueller, Erik Johnson

Colorado Avalanche’s Matt Duchene, right, and Peter Mueller, left, congratulate teammate Milan Hejduk, of the Czech Republic, as St. Louis Blues’ Erik Johnson (6) skates away after Hejduk’s goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 16, 2010, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


The Colorado Avalanche are likely to see rookie forward Matt Duchene return, but Peter Mueller’s concussion problems might force him to miss some playoff time according to a story in the Denver Post.

Duchene finished as Colorado’s third-leading scorer with 55 points (24 goals) and is expected return to the lineup when the Avs open the playoffs at San Jose on Wednesday.

Winger Peter Mueller is considered more of a question mark for Game 1 against the Sharks. He has missed the past four games since suffering a concussion when he was checked into the boards by San Jose captain Rob Blake on April 4.

“I’m optimistic,” Avs coach Joe Sacco said of having Duchene and Mueller available for Game 1. “I don’t have a definite answer right now. We’ll see how they present (today). Both guys are progressing very well in the last couple of days. So I’ll know more (this) morning.”

Really, you can point to an injection of new talent as to why the Avs made an unexpected playoff run. From new head coach Joe Sacco to acquisitions such as Craig Anderson (more on him later, possibly) to farm team call-ups including Chris Stewart, the team seemed to hit a lot of high notes with the changes it made.

People can make all the “choking” jokes they want with the San Jose Sharks but they are a loaded, veteran roster that could very well tear the young Avalanche apart. The one clear advantage Colorado has is in its skating ability, so the more young legs they have, the better.

We’ll keep an eye on status updates for Duchene, Mueller and other injured players on playoff teams and pass along news to you as we hear about it.