Coach Mike Yeo said last week that the Olympic break might have benefited Niklas Backstrom more than anybody.
But the goaltender missed Tuesday’s practice because of the same abdominal soreness that plagued him before the break.
“Hopefully he can get on the ice [Wednesday] and be fine,” Yeo said. “We’ve pushed the goalies hard, doing a lot of extra drills with those guys and hopefully this is just something where he’s a little bit sore and just needed a day.”
Darcy Kuemper is expected to start Thursday in Edmonton. The Wild has six sets of back-to-backs in the final 23 games, so it will need Backstrom down the stretch. He hasn’t started since Jan. 11 and missed two games because of the issue.
Asked how the Wild will handle the goaltending uncertainty with Josh Harding sidelined by illness, Yeo said, “Day by day, the same way we’ve been doing it all along. Obviously two games coming up here, it would be real nice to have [Backstrom] 100 percent and healthy and ready to go.”
It’s believed John Curry will be recalled from Iowa to travel, though.
• Defenseman Marco Scandella, who sprained a knee Feb. 4, returned to practice.
“I was actually a little bit surprised with how much Marco participated in our practice and what he was able to do out there. Very good sign,” Yeo said.
Yeo said it’s a “possibility” Scandella plays Thursday, but “I wouldn’t say it’s a probability.”
Scandella called Tuesday, “a big step and I just want to continue down that road.” …
• Captain Mikko Koivu (ankle surgery) said Tuesday was another “good day. Hopefully another one [Wednesday], and then we’ll see” for a potential Thursday return.
It’s expected that Stephane Veilleux will be recalled in case Koivu can’t return.
• Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Mikael Granlund, who were given two days off since returning from the Olympics, are expected to practice Wednesday.