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Wild without Haula, Brodin, Cooke against Sharks

by Dan Myers / NHL.com

SHARKS (6-4-1) at WILD (5-3-0)

TV: CSN-CA, FS-N+, FS-WI

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild center Erik Haula will miss a second straight game when his team plays the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

Haula was injured Monday as the result of an illegal hit to the head by New York Rangers defenseman John Moore, who was suspended five games by the NHL on Wednesday.

On Tuesday Moore reached out to Haula via telephone to apologize.

"I thought that was really nice," Haula said. "I haven't been around long enough to know how this stuff really works. I'm not a person who is going to be mad at him. Whether you mean it or not, I'm sure nobody really wants to hurt anyone in the League."

Haula said Moore got his number from teammate Justin Falk, who played for the Rangers last season. They spoke for a few minutes and Haula told Moore he's OK and feeling better. Haula said he hopes to be back in the lineup Saturday against the Dallas Stars.

He was on the ice with teammates during the morning skate and reported no immediate setbacks.

"You want to be smart about stuff and hope for the best," Haula said.

Defenseman Jonas Brodin was hurt against the Rangers on Monday and remains out. Brodin, who injured his hand after being hit from behind into the boards by Rangers forward Chris Kreider, skated on his own before the morning skate. Kreider received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit.

The Wild also will be without forward Matt Cooke on Thursday. Coach Mike Yeo said Cooke has been playing through a lower-body injury for the past couple of games and thought a night off would give him a chance "to get it back to normal."

"I don't expect it to be serious, but it's bothering him enough where we thought we'd give him an opportunity to rest," Yeo said.

With Haula and Cooke out up front, the Wild recalled Stephane Veilleux from Iowa of the American Hockey League. He likely will skate on Minnesota's fourth line, with Ryan Carter and Justin Fontaine. Veilleux scored three goals in 34 games with the Wild last season and is a veteran of 10 NHL seasons.

Minnesota will start Darcy Kuemper in goal. It will be his first start since Monday in New York, when he allowed five third-period goals in a 5-4 loss.

San Jose had an optional morning skate Thursday. Sharks coach Todd McLellan confirmed Antti Niemi will start in goal, but was noncommittal on any changes to his lineup.

"We'll probably make some game-time decisions, but I'd expect it to remain pretty close," McLellan said.

If McLellan does opt for change, forward Barclay Goodrow could draw into the lineup. He broke his left hand in the Sharks final preseason game Oct. 4 and was activated Wednesday. If he plays, it would be his NHL regular-season debut.

Here are the projected lineups:

SHARKS

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - James Sheppard

Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Matt Nieto - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels

Tye McGinn - Adam Burish - Andrew Desjardins

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Mirco Mueller - Brent Burns

Matt Irwin - Scott Hannan

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Jason Demers, Barclay Goodrow

Suspended: John Scott

Injured: Mike Brown (hand), Tyler Kennedy (upper body), Raffi Torres (knee)

WILD

Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Thomas Vanek - Kyle Brodziak - Nino Niederreiter

Stephane Veilleux - Ryan Carter - Justin Fontaine

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella - Nate Prosser

Justin Falk - Matt Dumba

Darcy Kuemper

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: none

Injured: Keith Ballard (illness), Christian Folin (illness), Jonas Brodin (hand), Erik Haula (upper body), Matt Cooke (lower body)

Status update: Folin skated during the morning skate Thursday and said he feels better after a bacterial illness. He could return Saturday. Ballard, suffering from the same illness, still has symptoms and remains out indefinitely.

Who's hot: Burns has scored a goal in three straight games and has at least one point in 10 of 11 games this season. He leads all NHL defensemen in points. … Fontaine had a goal and two assists during Minnesota's two-game road trip, against the Rangers and Boston Bruins, and has four points in six games this season.

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