Blake is out indefinitely after suffering a broken left leg prior to the All-Star break.
He had been playing in pain the past couple of weeks and tests Monday revealed the fracture.
“I’m a little surprised just because I was playing on it and getting some things done on it,” he said Tuesday. “It wasn’t getting any better. It was getting worse and worse, so it was time to get it looked at.”
Blake said he remembered getting hit with a shot in a game against Pittsburgh on Jan. 24 and “there’s been a couple since then.” Trainer Pat Karns said Blake will be out until the leg is completely healed.
The All-Star ranks second among NHL defensemen with 40 points, behind only Washington’s Sergei Gonchar, and is tied for third with 11 goals. He is considered a leading candidate for the Norris Trophy given to the league’s top defenseman.
“He’s definitely having a Norris-type season,” teammate Adam Foote said. “He’s doing it all. He’s getting points. He’s coming up with big hits, big plays at the right time. He’s been there every night for us.”
With Blake out, the Avalanche called up defenseman Brett Clark from the minors. Clark has eight goals and 16 assists in 50 games with the Hershey Bears.
The league-leading Avalanche hold a one-point lead over Northwest Division rival Vancouver and Central-leading Detroit in the race for the top spot in the West with 28 games to play.
However, the Avalanche are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss at home to the Red Wings on Thursday, which ended with Brett Hull scoring on a 5-on-3 power play.
Despite the loss, the Avalanche have not been beaten in regulation in their last nine games (5-0-2-2).
Milan Hejduk has two goals and three assists during a four-game point streak.
While the Avs will have to overcome the loss of Blake as they drive toward the postseason, the Islanders would like nothing more than to move up a few slots in the East.
Currently holding a seven-point lead over Buffalo for the final playoff spot, the Islanders blew a chance to move within one point of seventh-place Montreal with a 2-1 loss to the Canadiens on Thursday.
“The grind of the season’s coming up, and for us, we’re trying to move up the ladder just like Montreal is, Boston is—you know, we’re trying to look up,” said goalie Garth Snow, who stopped 36 shots against the Canadiens.
Justin Papineau scored a power-play goal for New York, which lost in regulation for the first time in seven games (4-1-1-1). The Islanders failed to register a point for just the second time in their last 11 overall (6-2-2-1).