Defenseman Matt Dumba was the last man to hit the ice for the Minnesota Wild’s morning skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome, but there was a pretty good reason for his tardiness. The 20-year-old was recalled this morning from the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Wild, and arrived in Calgary around the time Minnesota started practice.
The team recalled Dumba because yesterday Ryan Suter took a maintenance day. Speaking to the media following today’s session, Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said that Suter was ready for action against the Flames and played it coy about whether or not the Calgary product would skate in front of his hometown crowd saying, “We’ll see tonight.” The team’s bench boss said that Nate Prosser would remain in the lineup for penalty kill purposes, so it could be Christian Folin sitting if Dumba plays. If Dumba is in the lineup, Yeo said he’d make an impact on the game.
“He wants to have an impact and make a difference ever time he’s on the ice,” Yeo said. “Part of that is what makes him an effective player and part of that is still how he has to grow and mature.”
The blueliner has been gaining seasoning in Iowa, skating in 20 games with the AHL club. He was named to the AHL’s All-Star Classic and skated in the showcase. Yeo said that during his most recent call-up, playing in three games before the NHL’s All-Star Break, Dumba showed flashes of what he’s expected to bring to the lineup. The Wild bench boss added that he still has parts of his game that need improvement. If he does get into the lineup, the message would be an affirmation from his last time up with the big club.
“Would be similar to what we told him last time,” Yeo said. “We want you to be impactful and want you to make plays and be a difference maker. But you have to be sure there are certain times where a more simpler play and letting the game come to you a little bit more is what’s needed.”
In 23 games with the Wild this season, Dumba has two goals and three assists. To make room for Dumba, the Wild reassigned Stu Bickel to Iowa.
Tonight, the Wild looks gain traction in the Western Conference playoff race against a team currently sitting in the final Wild Card spot, the Flames. A veteran of tight playoff races, Zach Parise knows that this is a swing game.
“It’s a difference between being either nine points back or five points back,” Parise said. “At the same time you don’t want to get caught looking at the standings, but this is a team we’re chasing.”
Though there is still a lot of season to be played, the assistant captain understands the severity of the points at stake tonight.
“The position we put ourselves in, we need to win all the games we can,” Parise said. “We’re chasing a lot of teams. In our conference it’s really tough to leapfrog teams.
When you find a team that you’re not too far behind, you have to take advantage.”
Cooke Rejoins Wild
Wild forward Matt Cooke returned to the ice today and will skate on the third line with Kyle Brodziak and Justin Fontaine. Cooke missed practice yesterday due to a death in his family.
Super Sunday Start Time Moved Up
Good news for football fans, today the National Hockey League announced that the Wild’s game on Sunday in Vancouver will move up to 2 p.m. State of Hockey Time.