Morning from the Joe Louis Arena press room. Hustled down to the rink from my flight to grab coach Mike Yeo heading into tonight's game against the red-hot Red Wings.
Reminder, I will be hosting a live chat at startribune.com/wild at 1 p.m. today.
Here's a very quick blog update:
Devan Dubnyk gets the start for the fourth time in four games and second in two nights. Darcy Kuemper, sidelined since Jan. 6, will back up. Niklas Backstrom will be a healthy scratch for I'd guess the first time in his NHL career.
As I've been reporting all week, the Wild is considering sending Kuemper to Iowa during the All-Star break to play a few games on a conditioning stint. I talked to GM Chuck Fletcher yesterday on the phone and he said he planned to talk to Kuemper and his agent to see if they'd accept.
Yeo said by him backing him up tonight, that would not prohibit a rehab stint and they'd let us know their plans afterward.
Nate Prosser returns. Yeo felt they missed him last night from a penalty killing standpoint. Matt Dumba is scratched. Fletcher said yesterday that if Yeo wants Dumba for the game in Edmonton next Tuesday, Dumba will have to miss the AHL All-Star Game in Utica. Yeo said he's not thinking about that yet. However, the AHL does need to know its roster fairly imminently, so we'll see what happens there.
Mikael Granlund has not been cleared by docs to return tonight. Yeo hopes to have him back by Edmonton.
The top-4 D will be reunited tonight, meaning Ryan Suter with Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella with Jared Spurgeon and Prosser with Christian Folin.
The plan yesterday was to lower Suter's minutes. However, assistant coach Rick Wilson threw Suter out for 30-plus minutes in the front end of a back to back.
That definitely wasn't Yeo's plan, but he said the way the game unfolded and the way the D pairs weren't as effective as hoped, it's just the way it occurred at the end of the night. There is no doubt the plan is to start to lower Suter's minutes.