Wild coach Yeo cries foul after blow to Spurgeon

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 24, 2012 - 2:15 AM

Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon

Photo: Genevieve Ross, Associated Press

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Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon has a concussion and could be finished for the season, and coach Mike Yeo is upset with the elbow that caused it all.

It happened 7 minutes, 57 seconds into Thursday's game with Calgary at Xcel Energy Center when Flames forward Alex Tanguay caught Spurgeon in the head with an elbow that Yeo called "dirty."

"It's a flying elbow," Yeo said of the hit. "The elbow is extended, and almost above his head. It's almost above the player's head -- not Jared Spurgeon's head -- when it makes contact. So this is twice now we've lost Jared Spurgeon -- who is really an underrated player around this league, and an incredibly important piece to our lineup -- off dirty hits, real bad hits, this year."

Tanguay was assessed a two-minute minor, but it's clear Yeo believes the hit warranted more.

The NHL, however, will not take further action against Tanguay.

In a Dec. 26 game against Colorado, Spurgeon was checked into the boards from behind by Cody McCleod. Spurgeon missed two games because of a lower-body injury. McCleod was given a major and a game misconduct but was not suspended by the league.

This time Spurgeon will be out longer than two games. With only seven games left, Spurgeon might be done for the season.

"That is certainly a possibility," Yeo said. "This is not something, at this point in the season, we would rush him back [from]. We'll just go day-by-day right now."

Marco Scandella, who blocked a Matt Stajan shot with his midsection late in Thursday's victory over the Flames, should be OK to play Saturday in Buffalo. That means Kurtis Foster will return to the lineup as the sixth defenseman. The only way the Wild could call up another defenseman would be if Scandella were to be deemed unable to play Saturday morning.

"We expect Marco to be OK," Yeo said. "He didn't go on the ice today, but we think he'll be OK for [Saturday]."


• Goaltender Niklas Backstrom did not make the trip to Buffalo because of his lower-body injury. That means Matt Hackett will join the team on an emergency recall. It also means the Wild will continue to ride the recent hot play of Josh Harding, who has won his past two starts since returning from injury.

• Houston goaltender Darcy Kuemper had season-ending shoulder surgery Thursday. Recovery and rehabilitation is expected to take four or five months, which means Kuemper should be ready by the time training camp starts next fall. One of the organization's top prospects, Kuemper was the WHL player and goaltender of the year in 2010-11. Kuemper split his time between the Ontario Reign of the ECHL (eight games) and the AHL's Houston Aeros (19 games) this season.

• Also not making the trip to Buffalo was forward Matt Kassian (groin).

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