Is Gabriel Landeskog retiring? Avalanche captain addresses his NHL future in press conference

Is Gabe Landeskog retiring?
Is Gabe Landeskog retiring?

Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog addressed questions about his NHL future and potential retirement at a press conference on Thursday. Landeskog made it clear he is not retiring and intends to return to the ice, likely at some point next season.

"I'm not retiring, I fully intend on coming back," Landeskog stated.

The 31-year-old has been sidelined for two straight seasons after undergoing knee surgery in May 2022.

For his return timeline, Landeskog said:

"Mid-September to the start of April".

The veteran forward has not experienced any setbacks in his recovery so far. He admitted:

"I just can't wait to be back out there."

But the Avs forward will continue to follow a careful rehab plan focused on long-term health and being in top shape before his NHL comeback.

Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland acknowledged the roster challenges with Landeskog's $7 million salary cap hit but no definite return date.

"It's a cap challenge, that's reality," he stated. "We'll stay in touch with Gabe and pull for him."

MacFarland emphasized that no one can replace Landeskog's talent and leadership.

Landeskog has served as the Avalanche captain for 12 seasons. With him absent, the team has relied on veteran Andrew Cogliano and assistant captains Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar for leadership without naming a temporary replacement captain.

Gabriel Landeskog's thoughts on Valeri Nichushkin's suspension

Landeskog also expressed concern and support for teammate Valeri Nichushkin after his suspension last week.

Nichushkin was suspended by the NHL for violating the terms of the league's substance abuse program.

"Val is a teammate of ours. He's a friend of ours. He's somebody that we've raised the cup with and had lots of good memories with," Landeskog said.

Landeskog called the suspension "devastating" given Nichushkin's key role and the small margin for error in the playoffs.

"As much as you want to be mentally strong and just go out there and win with whoever's in the lineup or whoever's out of it, I mean, that's obviously a big piece," he added.

While disappointed, Landeskog maintained focus on supporting Nichushkin in this difficult personal matter.

"I just felt bad for the guys on the ground, guys that battle so hard and the guys that care so much," he said.
“What happens here moving forward, it’s up to him how he’s going to handle it,” Landeskog added.

According to NY Times reports, Nichushkin failed a drug test and will be suspended without pay for at least six months. He has now moved to stage three in the NHL/NHLPA assistance program after a previous suspension in January 2024.

The Avs will hope for a healthy and positive return for both Nichushkin and their captain.

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