Missed flight means delayed debut for Cuma

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 9, 2012 - 12:05 AM

The former first-round pick has to wait for his NHL debut.

hide

Phoenix's Taylor Pyatt (14) battled Jed Ortmeyer (41) for the puck.

Photo: Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

GLENDALE, ARIZ. - Tyler Cuma's long-awaited NHL debut ... will have to wait.

The 2008 first-round pick went from nervous excitement to sheer disappointment Thursday when his chance to make his NHL debut at Phoenix was thwarted by missing a plane.

After playing with the Houston Aeros in Abbotsford, British Columbia, on Wednesday night, Cuma flew from Vancouver to Houston on Thursday morning. But in Arizona, defenseman Jared Spurgeon woke up in the wee hours of the morning with the flu.

So when Cuma landed in Houston shortly before 2 p.m., he got the call to get his gear from the United baggage claim and rush to US Airways for a 3 p.m. flight to Phoenix.

"I never made it to check-in," Cuma said. "It just wasn't enough time to get from A to B. Tough luck, really."

Cuma, 22, was drafted 23rd overall in 2008. He has watched 2008 second-round pick Marco Scandella skyrocket by him up the depth chart because of an exorbitant number of injuries. Three of them were to his left knee -- the last coming during the Aeros' game against Peoria at Xcel Energy Center a year ago when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament.

"I know the last couple of years I've been pretty much written off with all the injuries that I've had, but I've been really pleased this year," Cuma said. "I've gotten a lot of opportunity to play and my knee hasn't hurt whatsoever. I've been happy the way I've been playing lately.

"To finally get called up, unfortunately I wasn't able to make it, but it gives me confidence that my game is where it needs to be. Hopefully I'll get a game or two up there soon."

One defenseman short of a ...

With Cuma unable to make it and Spurgeon sick, the Wild played one defenseman short against the Coyotes after Clayton Stoner wasn't ready to return from a hip injury. Stoner tried to skate in warmups but didn't look comfortable. Coach Mike Yeo said earlier in the day he preferred to play short than risk Stoner's health.

Stoner tore the muscle right off the bone during a fight with Colorado's Cody McLeod.

"Painful," Stoner said.

Big changeover

Since playing at Phoenix on Dec. 10, the Wild is 9-22-7. Only six players who dressed for that game played Thursday -- Scandella, Kyle Brodziak, Dany Heatley, Matt Cullen, Darroll Powe and Nick Johnson.

Injured or sick from that game were Spurgeon, Stoner, Mikko Koivu, Niklas Backstrom, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mike Lundin. Nick Schultz, Greg Zanon and Casey Wellman have been traded. Colton Gillies and Brad Staubitz were claimed off waivers and Jeff Taffe and Cody Almond are in the minors.

Yeo said this season's downfall has been the "biggest challenge" of his coaching career.

"The one thing I know about coaching is some of the toughest years ... are the years that you grow the most and you learn the most. When we were on that [17 wins in 21 games] run, I pretty much got out of the way and let them go, and now every day is a new challenge.

"You learn things good and bad about yourself and your group as well."

Etc.

• Cal Clutterbuck, who isn't feeling well, missed his second consecutive game.

• Assistant coach Darryl Sydor missed Thursday's game for personal reasons. He returned to Minnesota before the team, and assistant Darby Hendrickson replaced him on the bench.

• Cuma would have been the Wild's league-high 45th player to dress this season. The NHL record is 55 set by the 1991-92 Boston Bruins.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
Edmonton 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 69 FINAL
Kansas 76
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
NJIT 51 FINAL
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
TCU 45 FINAL
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
UNLV 61 FINAL
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Wild finish out the season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close