SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Wild might not get center Eric Staal back to face the Kings Thursday, and the team may also be without veteran Matt Hendricks.
Neither player was on the ice Wednesday afternoon in San Jose for a brisk practice before the group departed for Los Angeles.
Staal remains ill, and the team believes he may be dealing with a virus.
It’s likely he doesn’t fly to L.A. until Wednesday evening instead of accompanying the team in the afternoon.
“Tonight he’d have to feel really good tonight and have a really good morning skate to feel strong enough to go,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I would say he’s questionable.”
The same status appears to apply to Hendricks, who Boudreau said had a maintenance day as he deals with bumps and bruises.
Hendricks subbed into the lineup Tuesday with Staal unavailable, and he logged 13 minutes, 18 seconds in his first action since he suffered a lower-body injury Oct.16 against the Coyotes.
Boudreau still expects the Wild to be able to dress 12 forwards against the Kings because if Staal or Hendricks can’t play Thursday, he said the team will call somebody up from the American Hockey League.
“We won’t be a man short one way or another,” Boudreau said.
Despite falling to the Sharks 4-3, the Wild assembled a strong effort without Staal.
The team limited San Jose to 22 shots and didn’t give the Sharks a single power play – only the ninth time that’s happened in franchise history and the fourth on the road.
While there was still disappointment with the result, the Wild seemed to recognize the positives from that showing and exhibited an upbeat vibe during Wednesday’s session.
And with a back-to-back upcoming against the Kings and Ducks, resetting in a hurry will be important.
“They were pretty energetic this morning out there,” Boudreau said. “That’s a good sign.”