PHILADELPHIA – Wild coach Bruce Boudreau wasn’t sure if he was going to get to see his former boss, Chuck Fletcher, before Monday’s game against the Flyers.
“I don’t know where he’s going to be,” Boudreau said. “I’d love to say hi to him.”
Fired by owner Craig Leipold and replaced by Paul Fenton after nine seasons as Wild general manager, Fletcher is now the GM of the Flyers, having been hired Dec. 3, replacing the fired Ron Hextall.
Fletcher declined interview requests before Monday’s game, wanting to maintain a low profile as he faced his former team for the first time.
Boudreau was expecting the Flyers to play hard for their new boss, and not just because they’re trying to impress him.
“I know one thing for sure is their team will be motivated to play,” Boudreau said. “When you’re playing for a new boss and that boss is coming from a team that just fired him, you know they’re going to be playing hard.”
Roster move coming?
The Wild is carrying only six defensemen on the roster, with the game against Philadelphia representing the first of a back-to-back set of games.
Boudreau wasn’t sure if there would be a roster move ahead of Tuesday’s home game against Los Angeles.
“Every day I wake up, you never know what’s going to happen,” Boudreau said. “There might be a call-up for [Tuesday’s] game. Maybe not. A lot depends on the outcome and how we do [Monday]. But eventually I’m sure a seventh ‘D’ will be brought up here. I just don’t know when that time frame is.”
Since there are only six defensemen available, that has meant 32-year-old Nate Prosser has been playing every night after not playing much when Matt Dumba was healthy.
“You’re never wishing an injury on anybody,” Prosser said. “It just kind of happened that an injury happened and now it’s my time to get in the lineup and play and play well and play my mistake-free game.”
Prosser, who on Monday appeared in his 13th game of the season, said even though he is a veteran now, it doesn’t get any easier sitting out when you’re healthy enough to play.
“Just do what’s in my control,” he said. “You know who’s good at telling me that? My wife. She always tells me to stay patient and do what’s in my control. And that’s the name of my game. When my number is called I’ve got to be ready to go.”
Boudreau has been satisfied with what he has seen from Prosser.
“Nate Prosser is not our problem,” Boudreau said. “The one thing I can tell you right now is any time he goes out there, he’s giving it everything he’s got and he’s competing every shift. That’s all coaches can ask for.”
A confidence boost
If there was a silver lining out of the Wild’s miserable 5-2 loss to Detroit on Saturday night, perhaps it will be that Luke Kunin scored his first goal of the season. Boudreau was hoping that Kunin seeing a puck go in might boost the 21-year-old’s confidence.
“For any individual when they score a goal, when they’ve been in, whether it’s a prolonged slump or just having had the first goal of the year yet, it usually eases a little bit off their mind and they play a little better,” Boudreau said. “So hopefully that’ll continue with him.”