LOS ANGELES – Veteran Dany Heatley will be sidelined an undermined amount of time with what’s believed to be a wrist injury.
The Wild says there is no exact timetable yet, but coach Mike Yeo said Thursday the Wild’s third-leading goal scorer will miss at least the next couple games and General Manager Chuck Fletcher said at least the next couple weeks. At the very least, he is expected to return to the Twin Cities on Friday.
“He adds a lot to our group — power play, goal scoring, big body. We’ve got to make up for that, somebody’s going to have to step up, somebody’s going to have to elevate their game,” Yeo said. “That’s two key guys that we lost the last couple games.”
The other was veteran Matt Cullen, who missed his second game with a lower-body injury Thursday. Originally, the hope was he could join the team for Sunday’s game in Columbus. That is doubtful.
“We need to deal with it,” Yeo said.
In the interim, the Wild recalled rookie Mikael Granlund from the Houston Aeros. Granlund was sent to Houston on March 12 after being scratched in four of eight games. He scored one goal and five assists in 19 games.
But Granlund, who will center Cal Clutterbuck and former Aeros linemate Charlie Coyle, said he’s coming back to Minnesota a much more confident player after seeing top minutes in Houston.
“It was good to get back playing a lot and get that feeling again that you can do something,” Granlund said.
Heatley was injured during a post-buzzer altercation with San Jose defenseman and former teammate Marc-Edouard Vlasic on Wednesday. Vlasic cross-checked Heatley to the ice, then slashed him over the back. After Heatley swung his stick and missed in retaliation, Vlasic two-handed him across the arm. Vladic finally lifted Heatley from his knees and drove him hard back to the ice. That’s where the injury appeared to occur.
Vlasic had a disciplinary hearing with the NHL on Thursday and was fined $8,378.38. As a first-time offender, Vlasic was fined the lesser of $10,000 and half his daily salary.
Coach supports Stoner
Despite dramatic struggles in recent games, Yeo resisted pulling defenseman Clayton Stoner from Thursday’s lineup.
“I’m not concerned about him,” Yeo said. “This has been a very difficult stretch. There’s been a lot of hockey and what I’ve seen are tired mistakes. Nobody is more aware of those mistakes and harder on themselves than Stoney. Quite often that lends itself to making another mistake to making another mistake.
“I have a lot of confidence in him. He’s played some great hockey for us. He’s gotten us to this point, so I know he’ll get it back.”
Defenseman Brett Clark replaced Justin Falk against the Kings, while Nate Prosser was also scratched. Jason Pominville debuted on the first line with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, while Kyle Brodziak centered Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Devin Setoguchi.
Haula next to leave U?
Erik Haula could soon be the fourth University of Minnesota hockey player to leave the program since season’s end.
The Wild, the 2009 seventh-round pick who led the Gophers in scoring the past two seasons, is close to a contract with the Wild, sources say. This week, Nate Schmidt signed a free-agent contract with Washington, while draft picks Zach Budish and Nick Bjugstad signed with Nashville and Florida, respectively.