The Colorado Avalanche’s Andrew Cogliano fractured his neck during a NHL game last Friday and returned to complete the game. The team later announced he is “out indefinitely.”
Cogliano was injured in the second period of the Avalanche’s Game 6 of the Western Conference first round of the NHL playoffs against the Seattle Kraken.
The forward was hit from behind by Seattle’s Jordan Eberle with the collision causing him to forcefully crash into the boards surrounding the rink.
Eberle was administered a two-minute minor penalty and did not receive any additional discipline.
Cogliano underwent medical testing and was cleared by medical staff before returning to the game in the third quarter before the team closed out the 4-1 Colorado victory.
Colorado head coach Jared Bednar said Cogliano underwent further testing after returning to Denver on Saturday and complained about his neck not “feeling great.”
The team announced that Cogliano would miss the rest of the playoffs and was “out indefinitely” with a fractured C5 vertebrae.
Bednar acknowledged that physicality is an important part of ice hockey, but admitted he didn’t like the hit from Eberle on Cogliano which caused the injury.
“I don’t like the hit,” Bednar said. “From 5 years old, you’re wearing stop signs on your back on every jersey. I mean, it’s numbers the whole way. He doesn’t really ease off him.”
Eberle himself said he was just trying to battle for the puck with Cogliano and that the speed of the game makes these incidents consequential at times.
“It’s always tough. It’s a fast play. I mean, everyone knows my game, I never want to injure a guy, especially a guy you’ve played with, you respect … You’re just trying to battle for a puck and it’s unfortunate the way it ended,” he told reporters after Game 6.
“Honestly the game’s really fast. The pucks coming up the wall and I just went in to try and make a play. It’s tough when the ball is moving that fast and the games that fast, especially a playoff game. When the play ends up in an injury, it’s always unfortunate and I was happy to see him back in the third but when you hear about his injury, it’s tough.”
Without Cogliano, Colorado lost Game 7 against the Kraken, losing their best-of-seven playoff series 4-3 and therefore ending their 2022-23 season.
‘Tough guy to miss’
“Tough guy to miss, on the ice, off the ice,” Avalanche forward J.T. Compher said before Game 7.
“What an animal, eh? He comes back in that game. But not surprised at all. We love him. We love everything he brings on the ice, off the ice, as a guy, so we’ll miss him. But obviously he left it all out there for us, and we’re going to try to do the same for him tonight.”
CNN has reached out to the NHL and the Avalanche to ask if either have any plans to review medical protocols for injured players.
The Avalanche are the reigning Stanley Cup holders, with Cogliano playing an important role in the team’s title success last season.
The 35-year-old was traded from the San Jose Sharks midway through last season and recorded six points – three goals and three assists – in 16 playoff games last season as he helped earn his first Stanley Cup title.
This season, he contributed 19 points during the regular season and was among the team’s leadership group and on its penalty kill unit.