DENVER – Both teams already went their separate ways and the tension that hung between them while they played was long gone.
That's when Kevin Fiala emerged from the bowels of Ball Arena on Tuesday night, walking up to the glass and staring out at the ice where the Avalanche had just held off the Wild 2-1.
"I missed the game," he said. "I missed the game a lot."
After serving a three-game suspension for boarding, Fiala was supposed to return Thursday night against the Avalanche. But the Wild is shut down for a week because six of its players are on the NHL's COVID-19 protocol list.
Fiala, 24, was reprimanded by the NHL last Friday for boarding Los Angeles' Matt Roy, a sequence that happened early in the second period of the Wild's 5-3 win over the Kings a week ago.
He checked Roy from behind into the boards, receiving a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct before the NHL Department of Player Safety stepped in to up the punishment. The NHL decided Fiala was in control of the play and delivered a hit at a high speed and a dangerous distance from the boards.
"I didn't mean to hit him at all," Fiala said. "We were on the [power play], so the puck was chipped in so I was trying to get around him and get the puck as he tried to shoot it out. That's what I was trying to do, and I lost balance at the last moment. I was moving very fast, and then we crushed the boards. I felt very, very bad. It was an accident."
Roy hasn't played since that game, and Fiala said he did reach out to Roy to check on him. The injury was a factor in the NHL's ruling, which resulted in the first suspension of Fiala's career. He forfeited $77,586.21.
"It's a bad hit," Fiala said. "It looks bad. It is what it is."
Before his suspension, Fiala was on a roll, scoring three times in four games.
"He was playing with some bite," coach Dean Evason said. "He was playing the game with a lot of pace. He's obviously a special player."