An already shorthanded Wild roster got more decimated Sunday.
Veteran winger Marcus Foligno was added to the NHL's COVID protocols list, and defenseman Matt Dumba was placed on injured reserve because of a lower-body injury. Winger Marcus Johansson also didn't play due to an undisclosed issue.
"We knew it was coming," coach Dean Evason said before Sunday night's game against Colorado.
Foligno is the first active player on the Wild this season to enter the league's protocols, and he won't be able to practice, play or travel with the team until cleared. Goalie Alex Stalock, who's out indefinitely with an upper-body injury, was previously listed but has since been removed.
Each day, the NHL is releasing names of players who are unavailable due to COVID protocols. An absence can be the result of several factors including a positive test, unconfirmed positive test and contact tracing.
All repeated COVID testing among Wild players and staff Sunday was confirmed negative.
"Our guys are committed to doing the right things with masks and distancing as much as we possibly can," Evason said. "We've all done the right things, and hopefully we continue to do that and limit exposure."
"We support Marcus. Believe me, he's done the right things. I talked to him this afternoon. Has no idea, as I'm sure a lot of people [don't]. But we'll go through the protocol. We'll do what we have to do. We'll get him healthy. That's the main thing, clearly, and then we get back him back to a position where he can compete for our hockey club."
The Wild is the latest team in the West Division to be affected by COVID-19 protocols.
Vegas' facilities are closed with three coaches and a player in isolation, and the team has had three games postponed. And Los Angeles' Andreas Athanasiou joined the protocols list last Thursday before the Kings faced the Wild; teammate Blake Lizotte went on the list the next day.
"You can do all the right things, sanitize, wash masks, all the right things," Evason said, "and there's people that sometimes get it. It happens."
Dumba left Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Avalanche early after his right leg bent underneath him as he fell awkwardly to the ice. Evason said he isn't sure how much time Dumba will miss, but Dumba's ineligible for at least seven days while on injured reserve.
"It doesn't look good," Evason said.
With Dumba out, the Wild subbed Brad Hunt in on defense and forwards Gerald Mayhew, Kyle Rau and Luke Johnson were recalled from the taxi squad to fill the gaps up front.
Evason hopes Johansson's ailment isn't too serious and that he won't be gone for long. The Wild was also without winger Kevin Fiala, who served the second game of his three-game suspension for boarding.
In other roster moves, winger Mats Zuccarello, recovering from arm surgery, was shifted to long-term injured reserve. The Wild also assigned forwards Will Bitten and Mason Shaw from the American Hockey League to its taxi squad and put goalie Andrew Hammond on the taxi squad.
Goalie Cam Talbot made his first start Sunday since he suffered a lower-body injury on Jan. 22. Colorado started former Minnesota Duluth standout Hunter Miska.
Prospect Marco Rossi's debut with the Wild has been delayed again, with the center returning to his native Austria to rest due to complications from COVID-19, but that hasn't changed the Wild's expectations for Rossi.
The team believes he will be a good player for the organization in the future.
Rossi was supposed to contend for a roster spot this season after getting drafted ninth overall last year, and he reported to Minnesota after representing Austria in the IIHF World Junior Championship in December. But Rossi never made it on the ice with the team.
The 19-year-old was sidelined with COVID-19 late last year while playing in Switzerland before returning to action and participating in the World Juniors.
The Wild debuted its North Stars themed alternate jerseys Sunday, a green and gold color palette familiar to winger Zach Parise.
"That was my favorite team growing up," he said. "So, I used to love going and watching them play."
Before he was born, Parise's dad, J.P. Parise, played parts of nine seasons over two stints with the North Stars before joining the organization as an assistant coach. The team played in Minnesota from 1967 to 1993 before relocating to Dallas and has now been in Texas longer (28 years) than it was in Minnesota.
The Wild's jersey is based on the 1978 North Stars design and has a Wild crest.
"From my dad's playing days, we had a lot of the North Stars memorabilia around the house," Parise recalled. "A lot of his old gear and pictures. So, for me in particular, to be able to wear those colors, it will be fun."