Iginla fight makes night memorable

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 13, 2011 - 3:49 PM

LOS ANGELES - Nick Johnson always will remember his first game in his hometown of Calgary.

It's the night he ticked off a few of his closest buddies by fighting Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

"They all love Iginla, obviously, so it was pretty funny," Johnson, a 25-year-old rookie, said of Tuesday's game there. "[Iginla] just seemed mad and wanted something to happen. He was going after [Justin] Falk. I grabbed him, and then he focused all his energy on me.

"Pretty quick, I was pretty sure we were going to start fighting."

That's when Johnson learned the influence Iginla has on the game and the refs. During the fight, Johnson's head grazed Iginla, he started motioning for the refs and next thing you know, Johnson and the Flames had a 5-minute power play for an alleged head-butt.

Predictably, Johnson wasn't disciplined by the NHL.

"He's a beast, that guy. He's a strong guy," Johnson said of Iginla. "I'm just trying to protect my face and get close to him. I did feel my head graze against him a little bit, but it wasn't intentional. Unfortunately for me, he's probably going to be a Hall of Famer."

Johnson, plucked off waivers in September from the Pittsburgh Penguins, has played solid hockey for the Wild and Saturday at Los Angeles got a chance to replace Guillaume Latendresse on the first line with Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley.

Latendresse is out indefinitely because of a concussion.

"It's a big opportunity. It's another chance to take another step," Johnson said.

Latendresse rests

Latendresse returned Saturday to Minnesota to get rest.

The Wild has had vast experience with concussions. Some players (Cal Clutterbuck, who missed four games last season) see symptoms subside quickly.

It takes longer for some players. Nick Schultz was affected by his season-ending concussion for much of this past summer.

Some players (Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brent Burns) see symptoms linger longer.

That's why Fletcher has "no idea" when Latendresse will be back.

"It's a scary injury for everybody, because nobody can tell you anything," Fletcher said.

Stoner hurting

Defenseman Clayton Stoner missed his seventh game Saturday because of a gruesome-looking broken finger.

"It's still really sore," said Stoner, who's been playing with a special glove that offers more protection. "If you watch my shots on the ice, you can probably tell. I can't really shoot the puck too hard."

Day in the bigs

In a neat thing, the Wild recalled goalie prospect Darcy Kuemper from ECHL Ontario (Calif.) so he can take the ice during the Wild's optional morning skate Sunday at Anaheim's Honda Center. That means Kuemper, 21, the Western Hockey League's Player and Goalie of the Year last season, will earn his first NHL paycheck and a day's per diem before being reassigned -- likely Monday.


• Fletcher said defenseman Greg Zanon, who has missed nine games because of a groin injury, "is not close to playing."

• Defenseman Mike Lundin, out all season because of a back injury, skated Saturday after sitting out Friday.

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