Alexander Kerfoot has always defied the odds; The Avs need him to again

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Jerome Miron, USA Today

EDMONTON, Alberta - The man entrusted to fill the skates of Nathan MacKinnon has always been told he'd never amount to much at the next level of hockey. Sure, kid, you were OK at that piddly little stage of your hockey career, but "wait 'til you have to play against the really big boys", he was always told.

They've run out of levels by which to prescribe doom for Alexander Kerfoot. Thursday night at Rogers Place, Kerfoot took the ice as the Colorado Avalanche's first-line center, the man tabbed by coach Jared Bednar to replace the league's second-leading scorer as he convalesces two to four weeks with a left shoulder injury.

How did a kid who was always "Five-foot-nuthin'" emerge on hockey's biggest stage, just a few months after graduating from Harvard University with a degree in economics? Here's an even more interesting question perhaps: How did a kid who grew up in financial luxury - whose father made a fortune in the computer software industry and who built a regulation-length hockey rink in the backyard of a $16 million family mountain getaway - maintain the proper hunger to get to this level? How did he not become spoiled and lazy?

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