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Wild's Parise, Haula miss second consecutive practice

Forwards considered day-to-day with undisclosed injuries ahead of playoffs

by Dan Myers / Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forwards Zach Parise and Erik Haula missed practice for a second consecutive day, putting their status for Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the Dallas Stars on Thursday in doubt. 

Both are considered day-to-day with undisclosed injuries. Parise, who led the Wild with 25 goals and was second with 53 points in 70 games, didn't practice Friday and was scratched for the 2-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

Interim coach John Torchetti seemed more confident in the status of Haula, who is expected to play an important shutdown role against the Stars top line of Jamie Benn, Cody Eakin and Patrick Sharp. Haula played in the regular-season finale against the Flames, but did not practice Sunday. 

"Someone else can go in there I think. It's been on the board if [he isn't in the lineup], Torchetti said. "But I like Haula's chances."

Zac Dalpe took Haula's spot on a line with Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville on Monday and would likely slot in if Haula is unable to play Thursday.

Video: Wild on Excitement for Playoffs - 4/11/16

If Dalpe is in the lineup, it would constitute a remarkable return to the ice for a player who has worked through his share of adversity both on and off the ice over the past year.

Dalpe lost his mother, Lisa, to kidney cancer shortly before training camp. He returned to the team and had a strong camp but was sent to Iowa of the American Hockey League. Groin, hip and knee injuries limited him to eight games before he was recalled by the Wild on April 5. 

Dalpe, 26, scored Saturday in his second game with Minnesota.

"I think it's a great opportunity if he does get in. He didn't get the amount of games and reps you'd like but he's got experience," Torchetti said. "He's not a rookie, he's got some years of experience. I like his size, I like his skating, he's got a great shot. I've got all the confidence in the world in this kid."

Torchetti said he got to know Dalpe well earlier this season when he was Iowa's coach before replacing Mike Yeo in Minnesota on Feb. 13.

"We've been through a lot together," Torchetti said. "He was injured for three months so we got to talk a lot. You get to see what type of person he is. It's pretty rewarding seeing him in the lineup going into the playoffs if he's one of our starting 12 forwards."

Video: Wild on Zac Dalpe Opportunity - 4/11/16

Dalpe, a second-round pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2008 draft, said he's comfortable playing any role given to him. Dalpe has shown an ability to score in the AHL, having scored 23 goals in 61 games with Charlotte in 2010-11 and 21 goals in 2012-13, but has also been asked to play a more defensive style.

"Maybe not at the center position but more of a wing position," Dalpe said. "I was in Carolina and I was on a line with Brandon Sutter, he was a shutdown guy. I'm excited. I look at that role as a shutdown, but also bring offense. 

"The thing with those two guys, with Pominville and Nino, they're offensive guys so I want to fit right in."

Dalpe said he would be excited for the challenge of lining up across from one of the most explosive lines in the NHL.

"It's tough but you're in that role for a reason," Dalpe said. "They're obviously great players, world-class players, but you have to earn the trust that you're good to play against them."

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