Defenseman Jonas Brodin sustained a broken cheekbone when hit by a dump-in on his second shift of last night's 2-0 win over Nashville.
He is out indefinitely and the Wild will have a better idea of a timetable Thursday. The fact the team knows that definitively tells me that it'll be determined Thursday if Brodin needs to surgery. His face is a mess and at the very least needs some major dentalwork. GM Chuck Fletcher said today surgery hasn't been ruled out.
As of now, the Wild says this is all relatively good news because there was originally a concern he had a broken jaw or orbital bone. Typically, players can play through a broken cheekbone with a cage, but that can't be determined until once the swelling goes down and it's determined if an operation is needed.
Regardless, it's clear Brodin will miss some time and now it's up to the Wild's cast of defensemen -- Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Clayton Stoner, Marco Scandella and Nate Prosser to pick up where it left off during a soundly-played game last night. Keith Ballard is still working his way back from a head injury, so Matt Dumba should get his opportunity to play multiple games in a row.
The way the Wild has played defensively and by having the puck the majority of games should allow the Wild to overcome Brodin's injury as long as that continues.
"Let’s put it this way, I’m not sitting here thinking, ‘Oh no, we lost Jonas and now we’re in trouble,'" coach Mike Yeo said. "I still have a lot of confidence going into every game that we have a team capable of winning every night against any team. Obviously he’s a big loss for us, an important part of the team. Without question, we have the guys capable in there of keeping us at or even raising us to another level."
The injury occurred less than three minutes into Tuesday's win over Nashville on Gabriel Bourque's dump-in. I tweeted a GIF and that can be found in my www.twitter.com/russostrib timeline last night (can't get the link to work on here for some reason).
Yeo confirmed Brodin wasn't wearing a mouthguard, not that it would have protected him from a broken cheekbone. But Yeo said, "We can’t tell them to do it. you wish that everybody did, you wish that everybody wore a face shield. But bottom line is it’s still up to the players. Sometimes something like this changes the mind of not just the guy that it happened to, but some others as well."
Just a freak accident, although a number of Wild players said a six-foot dump-in by Bourque not up the wall was a pretty careless play.
Scandella had a great game yesterday, as did Jared Spurgeon, who will take Brodin's spot next to Suter. Clayton Stoner had another solid game (although the coaches would prefer to see less -- or no -- toe-dragging from him in games). Prosser's time is now after waiting patiently. He played well in more than 20 minutes yesterday, although next time the Wild's down to 5 D and controlling a game up 1-0 and he opts to fight, he may see Yeo's wrath. Yeo understood Prosser was trying to prove his worth when he fought Eric Nystrom in the third last night, but Yeo said that wasn't the time and he's lucky the Preds didn't turn the momentum.
Prosser says this is a great opportunity for himself.
Dumba has taken Brodin's spot on the No. 2 power-play unit and a lot will be riding on Dumba to play more consistently now. In Tampa and Florida, mistakes by Dumba led to a 2-on-0 and breakaway in consecutive games. It's a big adjustment going from junior to the NHL and Yeo said he's got to learn that he can't make that one extra play when he gets the puck at the blue line. Make a decision to pass, shoot or dump it, but don't make that extra move.
Yeo said it's clear the nine-game rule (if he plays 10, a year of his contract burns off, which means the Wild's got a decision to make soon; he's played six so far) is in Dumba's head. But Yeo and GM Chuck Fletcher said the team is not thinking about the rule right now and Dumba's just got to play. The only rule Fletcher cares about is the 41-game rule that burns a year of his seven-year free agency. And even that isn't pressing because the Wild needs to win now, not worry now whether Dumba's UFA year is agen 26 or 27 (hope that all makes sense).
Ballard did work out today but was kept off the ice. He has a history of concussions, so the Wild's being careful. Also, Charlie Coyle skated on his own today and looked good apparently, so he'll take part in Thursday's morning skate. He won't play, but he's ready to take the next step in his recovery from a sprained knee.
Same lines in the practice as what finished last night. Justin Fontaine skated with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter skated with Kyle Brodziak and Matt Cooke. Fontaine will get to go head-to-head against his former UMD teammate and summer roommate Justin Faulk on Thursday against the Canes. Faulk, from South St. Paul, is expected to have 30 friends and family members in the crowd. I'll write more about that in Friday's paper and Thursday's blog.
That's it for now. I have to get autographing cards for Thursday's ChalkTalk!!!! Could you imagine the kid that comes to Thursday's game with hopes of getting a Zach Parise and Ryan Suter autograph and he ends up leaving with ... mine? Scarred for life.
Photo credit: Mike Greenlay (Me, and me embarrassed)
I'll have a lot more in Thursday's paper, including quotes from Chuck Fletcher on the Brodin injury and Nate Prosser.
Helmet/cage ready for whenever Jonas Brodin hits the ice next. Hopefully real soon. pic.twitter.com/ifXaSR6fN6— Matt Benz (@benznasty) October 23, 2013
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