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Duchene plans to play in Game 7 despite not being 100 percent

Apr 29, 2014, 8:25 PM EDT

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You can probably say this about a lot of players at this time of year, but Colorado Avalanche star Matt Duchene won’t be at his physical best in Game 7 on Wednesday. Still, he told the Denver Post that he’ll be ready to go against the Minnesota Wild even with that wonky knee.

Duchene, 23, said that this is “one of the hardest injuries to come back from,” yet he also explains why he’s more prepared than ever to make a difference even if his elite speed is curtailed.

“Just to physically and mentally be confident (is difficult). The difference between this time and last time I did this injury is, my game has evolved to the point where I can do more than just use my speed now. I can think the game better, I see it better, I’m a better playmaker … I just want to bring that tomorrow night, and bring as much energy as I can.

“But it’s tough. It’s a mental battle. I’m not 100 percent …”

Duchene managed an assist in Game 6 against the Wild, although he didn’t register a shot on goal and his underlying stats were iffy. Still, even a Duchene at (whatever percent he’s at) could be a useful player for the Avalanche to have as they face tomorrow’s do-or-die challenge.

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