With center Erik Haula having sustained a lower-body injury Saturday afternoon against Arizona, the Wild recalled sixth-year minor-leaguer Pat Cannone this morning from AHL Iowa.
Haula won't play Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche, coach Bruce Boudreau said. Haula, who missed seven games with a foot injury earlier this season, is sore, Boudreau said. But the coach did not yet announce the results of Haula's MRI on an injury that thus far is undisclosed.
It's anticipated Zac Dalpe will eventually replace Haula if the injury keeps him out long, but Dalpe will play for the first time tonight for Iowa after knee surgery in early November and the Wild doesn't want him playing back-to-back yet. There's a chance Dalpe will be recalled for the upcoming road trip to Montreal and the New York Rangers because Boudreau said the Wild wouldn't want only 12 forwards for back-to-back games out East.
This means at the age of 30, Cannone will make his long anticipated NHL debut Tuesday. His wife, Natalie, will attend, and his parents, Stephen and Joanne, are trying to attend.
I checked in with the Elias Sports Bureau on the way to the arena this morning, and Cannone (pronounced, Kuh-no-Knee) will become the second-oldest player to make his NHL debut in Wild history,
Lubomir Sekeras was 31 when he debuted in the first-ever Wild game Oct. 6, 2000. He finished with 213 NHL games. Tony Virta was 29 when he debuted March 20, 2002 and played eight NHL games. Mike Matteucci was also 29 when he debuted April 4, 2001. He played six NHL games.
The Long Island native and former Miami University forward signed a one-year deal with Minnesota in the offseason. He didn't miss a game during his college career.
“It’s going to be great,” said Cannone, a Long Island native who is expected to center the fourth line with veteran Chris Stewart and Iowa Wild teammate, Kurtis Gabriel. “A lot of emotions running high. I just need to keep those in check and just try to play my game and go from there.
“You play for [this], you work hard for [this]. It was a long time coming and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
Tyler Graovac is expected to slide into Haula's third-line spot.
Cannone, who last year captained Wild assistant coach John Anderson's Chicago Wolves and played for Anderson three years, was the MVP of last season's AHL All-Star Game after notching a hat trick. He is tied for second in scoring on the Iowa Wild with 16 points in 28 games. He has 87 goals and 223 points in 381 career games with Binghamton, Chicago and Iowa. He was on the 2011 Binghamton team that won a Calder Cup coached by Kurt Kleinendorst against Mike Yeo's Houston Aeros, but he didn't play any games.
Cannone's also the player who nearly didn't survive (figure of speech) coach Bruce Boudreau's conditioning testing the first day of training camp. Here's that story as a reminder, but Boudreau yelled at Cannone at one point, "Don't die on me!"
Boudreau joked today that he's in better shape now.
Also, one day after Wild 2016 first-round pick Luke Kunin was named captain of the U.S. world junior team, 2015 first-round pick Joel Eriksson Ek was named captain of the Swedish world junior team.
World juniors begin the day after Christmas in Toronto and Montreal.
PANARIN, LUNDQVIST AND STAAL NAMED NHL ‘THREE STARS’ OF THE WEEK
NEW YORK (Dec. 19, 2016) – Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Dec. 18.
FIRST STAR – ARTEMI PANARIN, LW, CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
Panarin paced the NHL with seven assists and 10 points in four games – all multi-point performances – to help the League-leading Blackhawks (22-8-4, 48 points) stretch their overall winning streak to five contests. He recorded assists on both goals in a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers Dec. 13. Panarin then posted consecutive three-point efforts, registering 2-1—3 in a 5-4 win over the New York Islanders Dec. 15 and 1-2—3 in a 6-4 triumph over the St. Louis Blues Dec. 17. He capped the week with another two-assist performance in a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks Dec. 18. The 25-year-old Korkino, Russia, native and reigning Calder Memorial Trophy winner ranks fourth in the NHL with 14-20—34 in 34 outings this season.
SECOND STAR – HENRIK LUNDQVIST, G, NEW YORK RANGERS
Lundqvist went 3-0-0 with a 0.98 goals-against average and .967 save percentage to backstop the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers (23-10-1, 47 points) to six out of a possible eight standings points. He recorded 27 saves in a 2-0 win over the Dallas Stars Dec. 15, combining with Antti Raanta for the first joint shutout in franchise history. Lundqvist then earned back-to-back shootout victories, making 31 stops in a 2-1 triumph over the Nashville Predators Dec. 17 and 29 saves in a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils Dec. 18. In doing so, the 34-year-old Are, Sweden, native – who owns a 15-8-1 record in 24 games this season (2.34 GAA, .920 SV%, 1 SO) – tied Dominik Hasek for the most wins by a European-goaltender in NHL history (389).
THIRD STAR – ERIC STAAL, C, MINNESOTA WILD
Staal shared the League lead with four goals (4-1—5) in three outings as the Wild (18-8-4, 40 points) extended their winning streak to seven games, their longest such run since March 14-27, 2013 (also 7-0-0). He scored once in a 5-1 triumph over the Florida Panthers Dec. 13, added two goals (including the winner) in a 5-2 victory against the Nashville Predators Dec. 15 and registered 1-1—2 in a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes Dec. 17. The 32-year-old Thunder Bay, Ont., native – who signed with the Wild during the offseason – paces Minnesota in goals (t-10), assists (14) and points (24) in 30 appearances this season.
Staal said it's a reflection of a 4-0 week by the team.
Speaking of which, tough week ahead with the back-to-back road games and then having to play in Nashville on Dec. 27 after not being allowed to practice for three days, then having to fly to Nashville the morning of the game.
So it's important for the Wild to get off to a solid start against Colorado, which not only has beaten the Wild twice this season, it beat the Wild twice in the preseason.
Talk to ya Tuesday.