As Avalanche await Erik Johnson’s diagnosis, a nail hovers over their coffin

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CREDIT: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In October, I wrote about the unique silence of a locker room following a blowout loss. Tonight, we heard the deafening silence of a standing-room-only sellout crowd at the Pepsi Center followed by the sound of something we haven't heard from this year's Colorado Avalanche team: defeat.

As J.T. Compher angrily slammed his gear into the hamper in the middle of the room, Blake Comeau quietly tried to explain the team's come-from-ahead 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Across the room, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon, sitting just feet apart from each other, struggled to find any words at all in their respective postgame media scrums. MacKinnon tersely insisted he was 100% healthy, Landeskog fell back on the cliche of having a short memory and getting back to work.

Alone for several minutes before reporters eventually made their way to them for their thoughts on the team's first home loss in their last 11 games, Sam Girard and Nikita Zadorov sat quietly, staring off into the distance. As players refused to lean on the excuse of finishing the game with four defensemen, they all danced around what the unique moment in time seemed to make obvious to everyone else:

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