A day after coach Bruce Boudreau said Darcy Kuemper will likely play this final week of the regular season, Alex Stalock was reassigned to Iowa.
Devan Dubnyk, whom Boudreau made clear after Sunday's win over Colorado was his "guy," was obviously going to start the home finale Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
So if Stalock wasn't going to start, the team may as well send him back to Iowa for the time being. Iowa, fighting for its playoff lives, lost two ginormous 4-0 decisions with Stalock pulled off that team. Those losses severely hurt the Baby Wild's chances of making the Calder Cup playoffs.
Whether he's Minnesota's backup in the playoffs could largely depend on how Kuemper plays in his next outing.
I could see Kuemper starting Thursday's game at Colorado or Saturday's game at Arizona (I think the latter, after doing some digging).
If Kuemper doesn't play well, there's little doubt in my mind Stalock is the No. 2 when the playoffs start.
At a minimum, I'd think after the goalie drama the Wild has had in the playoffs in the past (Niklas Backstrom getting hurt during warmups before Game 1 in Chicago in 2013, Kuemper being knocked out of Game 7 in Colorado in 2014, Dubnyk breaking his finger during a morning skate last season in Dallas), we'll see Stalock at least recalled once the Minnesota playoffs begin.
Stalock, 29, went 1-1 with a 1.51 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage in two starts with the Wild.
ALSO, AGAIN, the Wild cannot send Kuemper to the minors. There are no waivers after the trade deadline, so he would have had to clear waivers before the deadline. Remember, this is why the Wild lost Zac Dalpe to Columbus. The team tried to sneak him through waivers so he could clear and thus be sent up and down after the trade deadline.
As for Tuesday, Eric Staal will be showered with gifts from the NHL, Wild, Carolina Hurricanes and his Wild teammates during a pregame ceremony to honor him for playing his 1,000th game last month.
His parents, wife, three children, brother, Jordan, who plays for the Hurricanes, and other Wild, Hurricanes and NHL dignitaries will be part of the ceremony.
If the Wild wins its final home game, it’ll be its 27th, second-most in team history.
The Wild, which has 100 points, needs five points in its final three games to have the best season in franchise history (104).
A Wild win or Blues regulation loss to Winnipeg clinches home-ice advantage in the first round, as does overtime/shootout losses by the Wild and Blues.
Wild killer Bryan Bickell was recalled for the game. Really cool story as this could be his first NHL game since he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
I put this note in the paper last week, but retired Wild goalie Josh Harding, who also has MS, talked to Bickell soon after the diasgnosis to offer encouragement.
“I was trying to give him hope that whatever he wants to do, if he wants to keep playing, that it’s possible for sure,” Harding said. “Unfortunately with every situation with MS, everybody’s different. It’s not like there’s a guide that you can go step by step by step and it’s going to tell you how to do deal with everything that’s going to come your way. Since there is no cure, there is no book.
“It’s a very, very complicated thing to deal with, but the one thing that I just want him to know, don’t stop believing and leave it all out there and try your best.”
Former Minnesota North Stars Don Beaupre, Neal Broten, Jack Carlson and Brad Maxwell are scheduled to sign autographs for fans attending Tuesday’s Minnesota Wild game against the Carolina Hurricanes from 6-7 p.m. on the main concourse at section 123.
· In recognition of the NHL first coming to Minnesota 50 seasons ago, Wild players will wear 1967 replica North Stars jerseys during pre-game warm ups on April 4
· A limited number of North Stars jerseys worn by players during pre-game warm ups will be given away to fans selected randomly during the game. The remaining North Stars jerseys will be available on NHL Auctions to benefit the Minnesota Wild Foundation and the Minnesota NHL Alumni Association.