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From the Rink: Coyle skates with team, moves closer to return

Forward sustained fractured leg in game against Chicago Oct. 12

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

ST. PAUL -- With the eyes of the League on Wild forward Jason Zucker in recent days, behind the scenes, his good buddy Charlie Coyle appears closer to a return to the ice.

The forward was on the ice again on Tuesday, skating hard with assistant coach Darby Hendrickson as he attempts to recover from a fractured leg sustained in the Wild's third game of the regular season Oct. 12 at Chicago.

Thursday will mark five weeks since the injury occurred, and with an original timeline of six to eight weeks, Coyle's return isn't too far down the road. 

"I'm still just going step by step. I want to make sure I'm 100 percent; I don't want anything to linger during the season and through the rest of it," Coyle said. "I'm making small improvements every day it feels like and getting comfortable with it."

The skate on Tuesday was the first time he's been back on the ice with teammates present and the third time overall. He skated alone in the Twin Cities once last week with the Wild on a road trip and then was on the ice alone again on Monday. 

Video: Wild pregame vs. Flyers

Coyle said he hasn't pegged a date yet for his return but hopes it shouldn't be too much longer. 

"You want to get back as soon as possible but you've got to look at the big picture," Coyle said. "Sometimes you push it a little more than you should have, but I've been feeling real good after the last couple [skates]. I'm looking forward to getting back but I want to do it the right way."

His return would be a welcome sight for Minnesota, especially on the power play, which has scored just twice in the past 32 advantages. Coyle was off to a good start this season, earning two assists in a little over eight periods of hockey. He's coming off a career high 56-point campaign last season. 

"He looks pretty good out there," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "I think it's just getting stronger on his leg. But I don't think we have any timetable right now. I think when he feels ready to play, he'll let us know and I'm sure the doctor will have some say. But it's up to those two right now."

Video: Boudreau pregame vs. Flyers

The guys who will be in the lineup on Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers will try for a second win over their Eastern Conference foe in as many games; the Wild scored a 1-0 victory at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.

Zucker has scored six consecutive goals for Minnesota (over a three-game span) and one more would tie an NHL record that has been accomplished just twice in the 100-year history of the League. 

Goaltender Devan Dubnyk is also riding a lengthy shutout streak (135 minutes, 5 seconds) after blanking the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers, stopping 73 shots total in those two games. 

Here are the projected lineups:


Jason Zucker - Eric Staal - Nino Niederreiter

Tyler Ennis - Mikko Koivu - Mikael Granlund

Daniel Winnik - Joel Eriksson Ek - Luke Kunin

Marcus Foligno - Matt Cullen - Chris Stewart

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba

Gustav Olofsson - Mike Reilly

Devan Dubnyk

Alex Stalock


Claude Giroux - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek

Dale Weise - Jordan Weal - Wayne Simmonds

Jori Lehtera - Valtteri Filppula - Travis Konecny

Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Michael Raffl

Ivan Provorov - Robert Hagg

Brandon Manning - Shayne Gostisbehere

Travis Sanheim - Mark Alt

Brian Elliott

Michal Neuvirth

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