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At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Wild

by Dan Myers /

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.

If he plays, Wild coach Mike Yeo said he would like to ease him in on the fourth line. If Zucker can't go, Tyler Graovac would play.

"I would say that it's definitely an 'if' right now," Yeo said. "He's had one practice and been off the ice for eight days before that."

Graovac was reassigned to Iowa of the American Hockey League on Thursday, but was recalled Friday just in case.

Forward Erik Haula will also rejoin the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past two games. Haula has three goals and an assist in 30 games this season, but the Wild have been more disappointed with his all-around game.

Haula said he understands the message Yeo was trying to send.

"New year and now I've got to bring that mentality," Haula said. "You want to be a good teammate and stay positive around the guys. But in the back of your head, you're [angry] at yourself for not being able to play at a level that people know that you can.

"It's not about me, it's about this team. The guys who get the job done are going to play every night."

Toronto had an optional skate on Friday with about 15 players taking part.

Jonathan Bernier did not skate, so he is the assumed starting goaltender.

The status of forward Nazem Kadri's for Friday is up in the air. Kadri has not skated the past two days with an undisclosed ailment, but Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle indicated he was in for treatment. A decision on him will be made later in the day.

"We obviously have some banged-up bodies," Carlyle said. "Hopefully we have a contingent that's ready to compete tonight, whoever gets the opportunity, and that's the way you have to present it. Injuries are a part of life in the NHL and we're dealing with our fair share right now."

Toronto is without forwards Joffrey Lupul and Peter Holland, each injured Wednesday against the Boston Bruins. Each flew back to Toronto and is scheduled for an MRI on Friday.

"You can't make excuses for it, but some key guys, obviously," said Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk. "It's just opportunities for other guys to step up and play a more prominent role. I'm sure guys are excited for that opportunity."

The Maple Leafs recalled Greg McKegg from Toronto of the American Hockey League on Thursday and Carlyle said he will play.

Here are the projected lineups:


James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

Daniel Winnik - Nazem Kadri - Carter Ashton

Leo Komarov - Greg McKegg - Mike Santorelli

David Booth - Trevor Smith - David Clarkson

Dion Phaneuf - Cody Franson

Jake Gardiner - Roman Polak

Morgan Rielly - Stephane Robidas

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer

Injured: Richard Panik (head), Joffrey Lupul (lower body), Peter Holland (upper body)


Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville

Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Charlie Coyle

Thomas Vanek - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine

Jason Zucker - Ryan Carter - Matt Cooke

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Nate Prosser - Christian Folin

Darcy Kuemper

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Stu Bickel, Tyler Graovac

Injured: Mikael Granlund (wrist), Brett Sutter (illness)

Status update: With the Maple Leafs at their roster limit, Toronto would need to shuffle its forward group and have a wing play center if Kadri can't go, as well as play seven defensemen. … Sutter has the same stomach illness that has ravaged the Wild locker room in recent weeks. His timetable for a return is unknown.

Who's hot: Kessel had a goal and an assist against the Bruins on Wednesday and has five points in his past four games. His 18 goals are sixth in the NHL. … Pominville has nine points in his past eight games, including three two-point games.

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