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Dubnyk practices as he continues to handle family issue

Goaltender hits ice for first time in nine days, unsure when he will return to game action

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

ST. PAUL -- On this Thanksgiving, life -- and hockey -- has been put into perspective for Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk. 

For the last week, Dubnyk has been away from the team as he attends to a medical situation relating to his wife, Jenn, one that cropped up the night the team returned from Buffalo, New York last week.

"It's just something that I need to be here for and I need to be with her and the kids," Dubnyk said. "There's been some days in the hospital over the last week, and it's still pretty foggy as far as what's going to happen going forward.

"She's OK. We're working on getting her back to 100 percent, but there's going to be some things to figure out here going forward."

One of those things will be how he will settle back in with the team over the next few weeks. Because the team has two more lengthy road trips coming up, including one that begins Monday when the Wild flies to Florida to begin a three-game, six-day trip, Dubnyk still isn't sure if he's ready to be away from his family. 

Answers have been tough to come by regarding his wife's diagnosis, and with the long holiday weekend, those aren't likely to come until next week at the earliest. 

A conversation with Wild coach Bruce Boudreau was to happen after Dubnyk met with the media on Thursday morning. 

Video: Dubnyk practices with team

"It was pretty scary," Dubnyk said of his wife's medical situation. "I'm glad I was there for it. Someone needs to be around, and we've got three kids, so it's tough. But we'll figure some stuff out going forward here and try to get back to normal for everybody as soon as we can."

Dubnyk lauded the support he and his family have received from both inside and outside the organization, saying Wild General Manager Bill Guerin has been a constant source of support checking in often. 

His wife's sister, as well as her mom, flew in almost immediately, and teammates, their wives and neighbors have helped pick up the slack as the family has navigated the past week. 

"You know how much support you have with friends and teammates and the organization, but when something like this comes up, the way that every single person on this team reached out, offered help, just a text to say, 'we're thinking about you,'" Dubnyk said. "You know it's there, but when something like this happens, it's nice to see how much of a family this organization is."

At the rink, Dubnyk said it was nice to get back on the ice. He had planned to skate on his own over the past week, but circumstance didn't allow it. His practice session with the club on Thanksgiving morning was his first time on the ice since the team's game in Buffalo nine days ago. 

For 45 minutes anyway, life got back to some sense of normality.

"It's nice to get here," Dubnyk said. "This is obviously a place to feel comfortable and glad to see how well they did on the road. But just getting in here and getting around the group, it feels good."

That said, Dubnyk was looking forward to getting home, watching some football and enjoying a meal with his family as it aims to find concrete answers and chart a path moving forward with Jenn getting back to 100 percent as well.

"[Playing hockey] is what you do for a living, and it's a job but anytime something like this comes up, you realize nothing matters other than your family in the long run," Dubnyk said. "Family is the No. 1 thing that matters."

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