Jordan Greenway was still playing games while the Wild was on hiatus after a COVID-19 outbreak stopped the season — just of the Xbox variety.
"Madden. Call of Duty," he said. "Anything, really."
But soon the action won't be virtual.
The Wild will relaunch its season Tuesday at Los Angeles, two weeks after the team last suited up for a game and with a portion of its roster still sidelined because of the NHL's COVID protocols.
What could help the Wild make a smooth return is if Greenway, the team's leading scorer, rediscovers the rhythm he had before the pause, when he was making the most impact of his NHL career.
"He's taken a big step forward, not only with his game on the ice but off the ice as well, becoming an everyday pro hockey player," coach Dean Evason said Sunday after the Wild's third practice at Xcel Energy Center since the NHL reopened the team's facilities. "It's a good challenge for him and for everybody, clearly, after the break to recharge and get the motor going again obviously for Tuesday. But what he's shown us so far up to this point has been mature off the ice, a real sound game on the ice, and he's been rewarded for it.
"We expect him to continue Tuesday night when the puck's dropped."
Leading up to the stoppage, Greenway was on the best run since his debut with the Wild in 2018.
He was contributing at a near point-per-game pace, with a team-high 10 in 11 games, and no one on the Wild has more assists than his eight.
Before a rare game without a point in the 2-1 loss at Colorado on Feb. 2, the Wild's final game before getting shut down by the league, Greenway pushed career-high assist and point streaks to four games. The 23-year-old has had three multipoint efforts; he had seven in his career coming into the season.
Greenway also entered that last appearance third in the NHL in even-strength points with 10.
Not only is the production a key development for Greenway, a 2015 second-round pick the Wild re-signed in the offseason to a two-year, prove-it contract worth $4.2 million, but it's how he's creating offense that is showcasing his growth.
After flashes in the past, Greenway has finally leveraged his 6-6, 241-pound frame regularly to become a handful for opposing defenses. And in the process, he's emerged as one of the Wild's most consistent players, a title he shared with center Joel Eriksson Ek through the first 11 games.
"Once a big body like that — once anybody gets to the net — it's hard to move them in today's game because there's no cross-checks, that physically that used to be there," Evason explained. "So, if you have a willingness to get there and especially for him with his size, it's very difficult to move him. He's got very good hands tipping. He's made a commitment to get there."
And the opportunity to continue to be a force in the offensive zone isn't going away, with Greenway a possibility for the woeful power play and skating at even strength next to rookie Kirill Kaprizov.
Since the Wild resumed practice, Greenway has been working with Kaprizov and Marcus Johansson, who will center the trio after suffering an upper-body injury and then going on the COVID list.
"First few days, I was pretty sick, maybe three days or so," Johansson said of his time in the protocols. "But then it's been better and better and slowly getting back. It's basically been like a flu, but you kind of have a little more respect for it. But just being sick with fever and all that, it's never fun. But it wasn't too bad."
Although the Wild didn't have any more players released from the protocols on Sunday, Evason said he expected Nick Bonino to be activated soon. Jonas Brodin, Ian Cole, Brad Hunt, Victor Rask, Carson Soucy, Nico Sturm and Cam Talbot also remain unavailable.
Captain Jared Spurgeon, who is dealing with an upper-body injury, has been skating on his own and will travel to California. Winger Mats Zuccarello will make his season debut Tuesday following offseason arm surgery, and Alex Stalock has been skating with goaltending coach Frederic Chabot. Stalock is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.
Still, the Wild has some work to do to get back to full strength, but the steady presence of Greenway could bolster the team. It already has.
"The game maybe does slow down a little bit and I have more time maybe with the puck just because of how much I do use my size and how physical I am," Greenway said. "There's a lot of positives for me in using my body and being physical."