The Wild placed defenseman Marco Scandella on injured reserve today with a lower-body injury sustained Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins and recalled Gustav Olofsson.
Scandella will at least miss tonight’s game in Boston and Saturday’s against Nashville and would be eligible to come off in time for next Wednesday’s game against Vancouver.
But coach Mike Yeo didn’t seem overly convincing this will end up being a short-term thing for Scandella, who has three goals and three assists in 15 games, is plus-2, has 24 shots and ranks third among Wild defensemen in average ice time per game (20:02)
Yeo said the Wild will get back to Minnesota and “figure that out.”
“He’s a huge part of our defensive group, a huge part of our defensive game, but the execution part of it, his skating ability, his play on the special teams, there’s going to be a lot of opportunity there for somebody else to step in and take advantage of it,” Yeo said.
Nate Prosser and Christian Folin will take on third-pair duties for now, unless Olofsson plays tonight and makes his NHL debut.
Tough loss for a Wild team that’s already depleted because of some bug going around and missing forwards Zach Parise, Justin Fontaine and Tyler Graovac.
“Every team goes through injuries, and good teams can get through them kind of unharmed,” said defenseman Ryan Suter, who leads the NHL in average ice time (27:26) and is tied for fourth among NHL defensemen with 15 points. “Everyone’s going to have to play more and play harder. He’s a tough guy to fill in for. It’s a challenge. For me, it just makes me focus that much more and I’m sure for the other guys too.”
Matt Dumba is one player who must step up. He has two goals and three assists in 17 games.
“We have a pretty deep D corps,” Dumba said. “It’s hard to replace Scandy, but if we do the right things and help each other, we’ll be fine. We believe in each other in here.”
Dumba feels for Scandella, who already has enough to worry about off the ice with his father ailing.
“It’s crazy,” Dumba said. “You just want to support him best you can as a friend, just talking and hanging out. The guy has lots on his mind. It’s tough. But we’ll help him through it together.”
The Wild went 2-0 without Scandella last week (wins vs. Winnipeg and at Carolina) when he was visiting his dad.
Center Erik Haula, who missed Tuesday’s game because he was sick, rejoined the Wild last night and will play the Bruins tonight. Ryan Carter, who missed yesterday’s practice sick, is expected to play tonight. Michael Keranen will not, but he’ll stay with the team for the rest of the day to provide insurance in case somebody gets sick.
Devan Dubnyk vs., the Bruins media believes with Tuukka Rask struggling, Jonas Gustavsson (3-1, 2.25 GAA, .912 SV%) tonight.
Remember, the Wild has yet to lose consecutive regulation games in the Dubnyk era. The Bruins are 2-6-1 at home, having allowed five or more goals five times. They have the league’s best power play (.352) and worst penalty kill (.708, and a league-worst home penalty kill at (.667). The Wild has the league’s second-worst penalty kill at .744.
The Bruins rank third in goals per game at 3.18, the Wild seventh at 3.00.
I gathered lots of good stuff today on the new 3-on-3 All-Star Game format. Players like it, but not the divisional format. How do you pick four divisional teams when there will be 11 players per team (six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies), every team must be represented and divisions consist of seven or eight teams.
Just take the Central. Say Dallas shoo-ins are Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg and Blackhawks shoo-ins are Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, St. Louis has to have Vladimir Tarasenko and I’d think Winnipeg Blake Wheeler. There’s your six forwards, meaning there will be a bunch of snubs.
That leaves All-Star Game host Nashville, Colorado and Minnesota.
Avalanche rep would likely be one of defensemen Tyson Barrie or Erik Johnson. Klingberg would be one of the other D. That means Nashville would have goalie Pekka Rinne, and if you want to give them two representatives, one of defensemen Shea Weber or Roman Josi. That would mean Devan Dubnyk may be the other goalie. If Nashville only gets one rep, that means Suter would go back to Nashville and “hopefully not be booed” as the Wild rep. If Suter’s the guy, St. Louis’ Jake Allen would probably be the second goalie.
Barring injury, there will be a ton of snubs like maybe one of those Nashville D, guys like Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Dustin Byfuglien, Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise or Jason Zucker, etc, etc, etc.
We talked to goalie Darcy Kuemper about opening the door for the Zucker line change the other night in Pittsburgh. At the same time, Nino Niederreiter checked Olli Maatta and he fell into the open door. Maatta is sidelined with an upper-body injury.
It’s something that may re-spark conversation about whether the league should allow doors to be open during action.
Kuemper said, “Zucks was coming for a change toward me, and that’s what I was watching. So I went to open the door, and then I saw Nino hit him and I tried to close it quick. And I close it, but all night, the latch was real sticky, so the door closed but the latch stayed open, so it was just kind of a perfect storm with the change coming and then the hit coming and the latch not shutting. Unfortunately it ended up the way it did, but fortunately it sounds like the injury – there’s never a good injury, but it’s not as bad as it could have been. Just the way he hit, he must have pinched something, but luckily it’s nothing severe. I was glad to hear that. … Obviously, I felt really terrible about the situation.”
Kuemper said it was discussed amongst Wild players after that game whether the doors shouldn’t be opened during play because it’s such an injury risk.
“I think they could probably put in a rule,” Kuemper said. “Everyone seemed to think it would be a good idea if you’re changing on the fly that you had to hop the boards and only use the gates if you change between whistles. It happens once or twice a year, but if you can prevent those, why not?”
I’ll be on SiriusXM at 1:30 p.m. CT, Dan Barriero’s show on KFAN at 4:55 p.m. and Fox Sports North during the Wild pregame show at 5:30 p.m. and the first intermission.