Could Wild's foot injuries have been prevented?

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 9, 2014 - 11:47 AM

Injuries from blocked shots are plaguing the Wild, but the skaters have said no to a possible remedy.

 

– It all seems so preventable.

The Wild has faced life the past seven games without Zach Parise because of a broken left foot, one on which he played a dozen games before it became too painful to continue. Now, the team faces life for a few weeks without defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who injured a foot blocking a shot, and captain Mikko Koivu for a month after he broke his right ankle when struck by a puck.

Maybe it’s contagious because defenseman Marco Scandella missed Wednesday’s practice after being drilled by a puck to the foot in Tuesday night’s victory at Los Angeles. He limped out of the rink and is questionable to play Thursday against Phoenix.

Not only do none of these players wear protection over their skates, not a single Wild player wears any of the many types of plastic or carbon fiber foot protectors (Shot Blockers, Skate Fenders, etc.) sold in the marketplace.

General Manager Chuck Fletcher is trying to end that.

In unfortunate irony, before the injuries to Koivu, Spurgeon and Scandella, Fletcher met with several of his players in an attempt to persuade them to wear protection on the outside of their boots.

Next week, Francois Blondin, an orthotist and prosthetist out of Montreal, is coming to Minnesota to make moldings of each Wild player’s skates. It will then be up to each player to try out the custom-made shot blockers to see if he can play with them.

“The problem is players have the right to do what they want to do. We cannot make them wear them,” Fletcher said. “We can encourage them to, we can provide [foot protectors] to them — which we have all year — and we can be a little more aggressive in extolling the virtues of shot blockers and, well, strongly recommend them.

“But we are not allowed to mandate players to wear them. Ultimately, it’s the player’s final decision. Player choice and player rights are part of the equation, but I’d prefer that we put player safety and the good of the team ahead of player choice and player rights. But this is the world we live in.”

The words “strongly recommend” is key. All player safety changes must be mutually agreed upon between the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association. It took years for visors to become mandatory, and starting this season, all players with fewer than 26 games of NHL experience must wear them. Others are grandfathered in regards to the rule.

Flames buy in

Earlier this season, after Flames captain Mark Giordano and Lee Stempniak suffered foot injuries, Flames GM Jay Feaster “strongly recommended” all his players wear foot protection. Teams invest a lot of money in players, and if injuries can be avoided, Feaster felt players should do their part.

Feaster has since been fired, yet every Calgary player still wears them.

“We learn from our mistakes,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said then.

Most players don’t like wearing them. As fate would have it, Spurgeon and Scandella wore Skate Fenders last season and took them off this season.

“Players complain blockers make their skate bulky and they seem to bottom out on turns when the blocker hits the ice,” Wild equipment manager Tony DaCosta said.

After being nailed by St. Louis forward Alex Steen’s shot in November, Parise tried on a pair of Skate Fenders at a morning skate Nov. 29. He played that night against Colorado without them.

  • related content

  • Parises have twins, a boy and a girl

    Thursday January 9, 2014

    Wild winger Zach Parise is in Minnesota while injured, so the timing was right.

  • Wild notes: Backstrom deals with abdominal injury

    Thursday January 9, 2014

    Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom believes the abdominal stiffness that caused him to miss Tuesday’s start in Los Angeles is related to last year’s sports hernia.

  • Gameday preview: Wild at Phoenix

    Thursday January 9, 2014

    wild gameday8 p.m. at phoenix • jobing.com ARENA • FSN, 100.3-FMPreview: The Wild is tied with the eighth-place Coyotes with...

  • Mikko Koivu suffered a fractured right ankle on a dump-in against Washington on Saturday. The injury required surgery, and the Wild will be without its captain for a month.

  • Foot protectors, such as the ones that Calgary’s Kevin Westgarth wore over his skates, are not mandatory in the NHL because of the collective bargaining agreement.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 6 FINAL
Miami - WP: A. Ramos 9
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 7 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Boston - LP: B. Badenhop 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: G. Balfour 4
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh - LP: G. Cole 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Maness 5
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Turner 4
Detroit - WP: D. Price 12 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 1
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Hammel 6
San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt 4 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Friedrich 2
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Ross 3
San Francisco - LP: S. Romo 9 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 10
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: R. Hernandez 4
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 4
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Indiana 84 FINAL
Chicago 86
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: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close