Jared Bednar said there was only one circumstance that would have prevented Nathan MacKinnon from returning to Game 7.
"He (would have) had to have been stretchered off or out of the building in order to not come back," the Colorado Avalanche head coach told the assembled media, including Sportsnet, about his superstar forward after a season-ending loss to the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night.
"That's the way I felt and that's the way our (other) coaches felt," Bednar added. "Our team was sure happy to get him back and he (made) a big difference right away in the belief in our group."
MacKinnon confirmed postgame that he suffered a sprained shoulder, telling reporters, including CBS Denver's Michael Spencer, that he sustained "a Grade 2 or 3 AC sprain" and that he received a shot before returning to the contest.
The dynamic center exited after crashing into the boards on his own early in the first period. He returned with about three minutes left in the opening frame.