BY TERRANCE GAVAN – SPORTS
Imagine Matt Duchene in between Milan Hejduk and Peter Mueller.
Do we dance with the M and M’s? Triple M? M-Cube?
Call it whatever you want.
I’d call it wowser for Haliburton’s Matt Duchene.
A recent report from the Colorado Avalanche camp says Mueller is back, after suffering a debilitating concussion, which cost him the entire 2010-11 season.
Concussions. Head shots. Fighting. All points of emphasis for the NHL this year. About time.
He’s been cleared by the team doctors and he’s looking forward to starting right where he left off last year. Which was top three in Avs scoring. He’s a sniper, a gunner and a quick thinking strategist. And Milan Hejduk? Dang nabbit. What can we say that hasn’t already been written. Hejduk is a wily veteran and a beautiful addition to the Av’s line up.
Haliburton’s Duchene, whose sister Jessica is ripping it up for the strong Hal High Red Hawk field hockey squad this fall, is ecstatic to have Mueller back and healthy.
Denver Post’s Mike Cambers had an opportunity to catch up with Mueller at camp this weekend.
Nearly a year after suffering a concussion that cost him the entire 2010-11 season, Avalanche forward Peter Mueller went through the first day of training camp Saturday with no problems and an optimistic attitude.
Mueller, who also missed the end of the previous season because of a concussion April 4, 2010, skated left wing on a line with centerMatt Ducheneand right- winger Milan Hejduk in drills and scrimmages for the gray team.
“Little nerve-wracking at first,” Mueller said after the three-hour on-ice session. “It was in the back of my head, ‘What’s going to happen when you get that first hit?’ But it happened, and I was able to throw a couple of bodies out there and things went good.
“We had a couple of good plays, me ‘Dutchy’ and ‘Hejd,’ and I think it’s going to come back to us pretty quickly. It was just a good day.”
Avs coach Joe Sacco said Mueller “looked fine.”
“With Peter, we’re just looking to see improvement each day . . . and getting used to the speed of the game,” Sacco said.
Mueller believes a new one-piece helmet — made by Easton Sports called the S19 Z-Shock — will help him in the future. The new headgear weighs 325 grams and “Easton claims the helmet exceeds minimum safety regulations of NHL helmets by as much as 40 percent.”
Mueller will also wear a new tinted visor designed to lower the potentially harmful effects bright lighting can have on concussion victims.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m in ‘Top Gun’ out there with the tinted visor, but it’s been great and a very comfortable helmet to wear,” said Mueller, 23, the eighth overall selection in the 2006 NHL draft by Phoenix.
Mueller posted nine goals and 20 points in his first 15 games with Colorado after being acquired from Phoenix in 2010 but suffered a season-ending concussion April 4 after a hit from San Jose’s Rob Blake. Mueller reported to training camp the next fall but was reinjured in the first preseason game against Los Angeles. He said he was struck by an errant stick in the left temple — the same area where the first concussion occurred.
After several months when the symptoms failed to subside, Mueller was referred to Dr. Robert Cantu, a Boston University professor of neurosurgery who is a leading authority in sports-related brain injury. In a recent interview, Cantu said that once a concussion has fully healed, patients are no more susceptible to reinjury than anyone else. Mueller said he became better educated about the brain and his condition, and is quick to credit the Avalanche and its fans for staying patient with him.
“I’ve really come to know how much heart is in this organization,” Mueller said. “They didn’t have to stick by me, but they did and the fans have really helped me get through it. The letters I got picked me up and will never be forgotten.”
The Hurricane was quoted in a few articles and he said he’s just glad to have the winger back in the fold.
Duchene added that Mueller looked “great” during drills.
I’m saying stay with that M and M’s theme and see where it goes.