Yeo takes exception to hits on Spurgeon

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 27, 2011 - 12:36 AM

Colorado's Cody McLeod (55) checked the Wild's Jared Spurgeon (46) from behind, sending both players out of the game -- Spurgeon because of an injury and McLeod because of a game misconduct.

Photo: Ann Heisenfelt, Associated Press

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Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon had to be helped off the ice after being checked from behind into the boards by Colorado left winger Cody McLeod 5 minutes and 22 seconds into Monday's 4-2 loss to the Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center.

McLeod was given a five-minute major for checking from behind and given a game misconduct. Spurgeon was racing for the puck in his own end, with McLeod close at his heels. McLeod hit Spurgeon from behind, sending the second-year defenseman into the boards headfirst. Spurgeon landed on a knee, then crumpled to the ice, where he lay motionless for a time.

"I didn't like the hit one bit," Wild coach Mike Yeo said.

Yeo didn't have an update on Spurgeon immediately after the game, but he did have a strong opinion. He said he felt the Avalanche might have been targeting Spurgeon. "They hit him from behind two shifts before that," he said. "And I thought that one could have been called, too. I thought that one was dangerous. So twice ... five minutes into the game?"

In a season during which the Wild has been beset by injuries, Spurgeon has been one of the team's steadiest players. He was playing big minutes, in all situations, and was one of only four Wild players to skate in all 37 games this season.

More will be known Tuesday about his condition. But it appears Spurgeon -- who looked to be favoring his left leg while being helped off the ice -- could be lost for a while.

"He's been so good for us," center Matt Cullen said of Spurgeon. "He's been such a good player, so steady. We hope he's OK."

Wild captain Mikko Koivu -- who played for the first time since missing four games because of a leg injury -- wouldn't comment on McLeod's hit other than to say, "I think we all saw what happened."

The Wild has battled through several injuries to defensemen, with Greg Zanon, Marco Scandella, Justin Falk and Clayton Stoner all missing time because of injury; Stoner was held out of Monday's game because of injury.

Zanon, who was a healthy scratch Monday, figures to step into the lineup should Spurgeon miss time.

Koivu strong in return

If there was anything good to be found in the Wild's seventh consecutive loss, it was the play of Koivu, who picked up an assist, won 14 of 22 faceoffs, delivered a game-high four hits and finished the game as the team's only plus player.

"He was really good," Yeo said. "He helped us a lot."

Koivu didn't show a lot of rust from his layoff. He played 23 minutes, 32 seconds -- the most among Wild forwards -- and was on both the power-play and penalty-kill units.

"I think I can do better," he said afterward. "But I don't want to talk about that. I think we can all do better, and we have to."


• Devin Setoguchi (lower body), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion) and Casey Wellman (wrist) all skated on their own in Monday's pregame skate.

• Zanon was a healthy scratch for the fourth time in six games.

• Stoner, who suffered a lower-body injury in the Wild's game at Edmonton on Thursday, was not available to play.

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