Blow to the head leaves Bouchard in a pool of blood

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO
  • Star Tribune
  • December 14, 2011 - 12:08 AM

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - Pierre-Marc Bouchard was injured Tuesday night when he was driven face-first into the ledge that separates the glass and the boards during the Wild's 2-1 loss to Winnipeg.

Bouchard's nose was gushing blood after the violent incident. Bouchard was crunched by defenseman Zach Bogosian as he played the puck behind the Jets' net.

Bogosian was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding. Coach Mike Yeo had no update after the game, but with Bouchard's concussion history, Yeo said, "Obviously we're hoping he's OK."

If he's unable to play Wednesday against Chicago, the Wild might need to call up a forward if Matt Cullen, who missed Tuesday's game due to illness, can't play. Otherwise, the Wild would have to play seven defensemen.

Surprise appearance

Guillaume Latendresse missed almost all of last season with five surgically-repaired abdominal and hip ailments, but the Wild power winger says the past month missed because of a concussion felt longer.

"Because when I got injured, I was feeling really good and thought my game was coming back to the way I felt two years ago. Now, I just want to get that game back," Latendresse, 24, said.

Latendresse, who scored 25 goals in 55 games two years ago, scored three goals in three games before being hurt Nov. 10. He missed the next 15 games, but when Cullen was sidelined and with the Wild without an extra forward, Latendresse rushed back against the Jets with only one practice under his belt.

"The plan was not playing [Tuesday], but things change quickly. I'm just happy. I've got no pressure," said Latendresse, referring to the fact the Wild was 12-3 without him. "The team is playing great. The team was not waiting for me to come back to make a change.

"Guy's [stepped] up and played amazing hockey. I just want to get into the vibe of that team. I want be part of that winning mentality."

Latendresse started on the fourth line with Darroll Powe and Brad Staubitz, but Yeo eased him back in (11 minutes) and put him in situations where he could produce. Latendresse scored on a 5-on-3 power play.

Latendresse wasn't worried about stamina after being trained the past two weeks on and off the ice by strength coach Kirk Olson.

"Why wait? What is one more practice going to change?" Latendresse said. "I just feel good. It's good to smile again. That's what my girlfriend was saying. Concussions are not fun.

"If I get a headache, I'm like, 'Is that [the concussion]?' Every day I have something, I'm like, 'Oh, is it that?' At some point you have to get over it, go forward and play. I think that's how you feel better. But I feel good."

Center of attention

Dany Heatley's last season with the Atlanta Thrashers was in 2003-04, but the Winnipeg media surrounded the Wild winger Tuesday morning as if he'd be a Jet today if he didn't request a trade by the Thrashers, the team that drafted him second overall in 2000.

"It was a little bit sad [to see the Thrashers move], but this is a great hockey city and they've shown it so far," said Heatley, booed constantly by Jets fans.

The only member of the Jets still left from Heatley's Thrashers days is video coach Tony Borgford.

Heatley ingratiated himself quickly into MTS Centre Tuesday morning by exploding a piece of glass behind the Jets' bench with a shot.

"They can bill me," Heatley quipped. "It wasn't even a hard shot."

He assisted on Latendresse's goal to extend his point streak to seven games.


• Blake Wheeler, 25, spent three years at the University of Minnesota (2005-08). The Jets forward is ecstatic to see the 14-5-1 Gophers ranked second in the nation.

"Being at the top of the rankings, that's where that program belongs," Wheeler said.

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