Matt Duchene, the 20-year-old center, lives with Adam Foote, the 39-year-old veteran defenseman and Avalanche captain, and Foote's family. In theory, if Duchene is late for a team bus, the captain could ground him.

The Avalanche's latest struggles — they've gone 2-12-1 in their past 15 games — and a flurry of trade activity and uncertainty are coming in the twilight of Foote's career, the outset of Duchene's.

So their perspectives are different.

"It's a tough time," Foote said after taking part in the first 40 minutes of the Avalanche's Thursday practice at Family Sports Center. "You just have to deal with it, move on, try to stay positive and keep fighting. That's what we're going to keep on doing."

Foote has missed the past eight games with a tear in his quadriceps muscle, and he said he was planning on going with the Avalanche on its upcoming three-game trip to California to at least do additional work on the ice. But he wasn't certain when he might return to the lineup.

When he does, it's possible — and perhaps likely — that he will be playing the final games of his NHL career in the remainder of the 2010-11 season.

"I've been down the stretch of my career for the past three years," Foote said with a laugh when the topic was brought up. "I've been on the back nine for a while."

But he again said he hadn't decided on retirement after this season.

"I promised myself and my family and the team that I wouldn't even think about that, or waste energy thinking about that, until each season's over," Foote said.

On the other side of the room, Duchene reflected on his personal slump — he has one goal and two assists in nine games since he played in the All-Star Game — and the team's situation. He also missed two games last week with a hand injury, but his 21 goals remain a team high.