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Posted On Thursday, 01.08.2015 / 2:28 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blackhawks at Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Defeating the Chicago Blackhawks when your team is at full strength is difficult enough. The Minnesota Wild will try to do it Thursday while playing without a number of critical pieces.

Minnesota trails the Winnipeg Jets and Los Angeles Kings by six points for the two wild-card spots for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference. The Wild have two games in hand, but must snap out of a stretch where they have lost eight of their past 10 games in order to make a second-half charge.

"[We can't] get caught up in the big-picture stuff," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "We need to be ready to handle adversity over the course of the game. I thought we played a good game last time, but we have to find a way to be better tonight. I know as good as we can be tonight, there are going to be times where they pressure us and we're going to be in our own zone, whether there's a bad call or a bad bounce or a goal against, we're going to have to respond in those situations."

Among the players out for Minnesota are goaltender Darcy Kuemper and defenseman Marco Scandella. Forward Zach Parise is also not expected to play as he spends time with his family following the passing of his father, former NHL player J.P. Parise, Wednesday evening.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 7:53 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

Parise out for Wild to be with ailing father

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise will not play against the San Jose Sharks at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday to spend time with his father, former NHL player J.P. Parise, who has stage 4 lung cancer.

"It's hard to watch," Zach Parise told the Star Tribune on Saturday. "It's the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with in my life."

Posted On Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 1:42 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sharks at Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Coming off one of their worst losses in franchise history, the Minnesota Wild will come back with goaltender Darcy Kuemper when they play the San Jose Sharks Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Kuemper started Saturday against the Dallas Stars and allowed four goals on 21 shots in 29 minutes of work before giving way to Niklas Backstrom in what ended up as a 7-1 loss. The six-goal margin of defeat tied a franchise record.

"Let's write the Dallas game off," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "Aside from that, I think he's been pretty good [since Christmas]. There's always lessons to be had … but we're just going to throw that one in the garbage."

Posted On Friday, 01.02.2015 / 2:16 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild will get defenseman Jonas Brodin back in the lineup Friday when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Xcel Energy Center.

Brodin has missed the past two games with an upper-body injury sustained last Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets.

"I feel good right now," Brodin said. "I feel 100 percent. I don't feel like I've missed a lot."

The Wild may also get forward Jason Zucker back in the lineup. Zucker has missed three games because of illness, and before practicing Thursday hadn't been on the ice since before the holiday break.

Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 1:32 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Jets at Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A mysterious stomach virus has been running through the Minnesota Wild dressing room for the past couple of weeks.

Unfortunately for the Wild, the three-day holiday break did not rid the room of the illness as forward Jason Zucker will be out Saturday as the Wild host the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center.

Zucker has had a breakout season in his first full season with Minnesota, scoring 12 goals in 32 games, third-most on the team. He is one of six players to have skated in every game.

After losing five players to the mumps at various points earlier this season, this stomach virus has also wreaked havoc, hitting each goaltender, forwards Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle, and defenseman Jared Spurgeon among others.

"It's his turn," Wild coach Mike Yeo said.

Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 7:04 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

Wild goalie Backstrom a late scratch due to illness

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom was a late scratch Tuesday for the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Xcel Energy Center because he is sick.

Coach Mike Yeo announced Backstrom would start against the Flyers following the Wild's morning skate, but he was removed from the lineup prior to warm-ups.

With Backstrom out, Darcy Kuemper will get the start. Kuemper has been pulled in four of his past five home starts.

Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 1:10 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flyers at Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild center Mikael Granlund is expected to play Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers after missing one game with an illness. He missed the Wild's game Saturday against the Nashville Predators, as well as the past two days of practice, with a stomach ailment that has gone through the Wild dressing room.

Coach Mike Yeo said he expects Granlund to assume his duties on Minnesota's top line despite a solid game Saturday by Charlie Coyle, who skated between Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek after Granlund was scratched following pre-game warm-ups.

Minnesota aims to snap a three-game losing streak and head into the NHL's three-day holiday break with some momentum. To do that, Yeo hopes significant changes to Minnesota's bottom-six group will make things more difficult on the Flyers. Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine will be scratched and Stu Bickel will be in the lineup at right wing on the fourth line.

"Teams have been too comfortable coming in here lately," Yeo said.

Posted On Saturday, 12.20.2014 / 2:29 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Predators at Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Nashville Predators will be without forward James Neal on Saturday when they play the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

Neal remained in Nashville because of an illness. Predators coach Peter Laviolette said it is not believed to be the mumps and Neal could join the team later on their three-game road trip, which starts against the Wild. The Predators play at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday and Tuesday at the Boston Bruins Tuesday before heading home ahead of Christmas.

Laviolette moved Craig Smith into Neal's spot on the right side of Mike Ribeiro and Filip Forsberg on the Predators' top line.

Posted On Wednesday, 12.17.2014 / 2:55 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Bruins at Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Boston Bruins forward David Krejci could return to the lineup Wednesday as the Bruins play on the second half of back-to-back games against the Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Krejci hasn't played since Nov. 18; the Bruins have gone 3-7-1 in his absence. He has three goals and seven assists in 11 games this season.

"Been trying to stay positive throughout whole process," Krejci said, according to the Bruins website. "This is just another step forward. Got to wait and see."

He said he's being cautious to make sure once he does return to the lineup, he's able to stay there.

"I've worked hard to get back where I am," he said. "I don't want to any setbacks anymore. Want to keep playing from now on until the end of the season."

Posted On Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 2:22 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Islanders at Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter will return to the lineup Tuesday when his team plays the New York Islanders at Xcel Energy Center. Suter has missed the past two games because of the mumps.

Suter began showing symptoms of the illness nine days ago, and missed games last week against the Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks, the first games he has missed since signing with Minnesota in July of 2012.

"It's hard to put it into words [what his return means,]" Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "The first thing you have to look at is the amount he plays through the course of the game, we're talking half the game. Then obviously from a defensive standpoint; how he helps to alleviate pressure, how helps you defend quickly, the way he's able to separate guys from the puck.

"I could keep going, there's a lot of things."

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