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Rink Report: Parise, Pominville Back with Wild

Veteran forwards each missed three games because of mumps

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

EDINA -- Zach Parise and Jason Pominville were on the ice for practice on Saturday as the Minnesota Wild prepared for its game against the San Jose Sharks at Xcel Energy Center Sunday.

Parise and Pominville have each missed the past three games because of the mumps, but both said they felt fine on Saturday. Wild coach Bruce Boudreau is expected to chat with each player Sunday morning and decide whether they can go against the Sharks.

"I thought it was pretty energetic out there. They looked fine," Boudreau said. "I mean, they haven't played for a while, but they certainly didn't [look like it]. I thought the whole practice had a lot of energy in it. They looked OK, but I just asked them. They'll tell me how they feel tomorrow, and then we'll go from there."

Video: Bruce Boudreau Practice at Braemar Arena

If Parise and Pominville each play, it would offer Boudreau a glimpse at his full lineup for the first time since the Wild traded for Martin Hanzal and Ryan White six days ago. 

"I'd be anxious to see," Boudreau said. "It's not exactly an easy team you're picking to start off with, but you can't pick your battles; you've got to go after them all."

While both players were diagnosed with mumps, each said they felt OK during the duration. Parise was even at the rink last Monday prior to the Wild's win against the Los Angeles Kings before being sent home.

"I didn't feel sick at all," Parise said. "Some of the guys had some different symptoms. I just had a little lump in my neck. I didn't get the swollen jaw like everyone has gotten or seen. So like I said, I was really surprised when my test came back positive."

Pominville said he slept on one side and experienced soreness but didn't think anything of it until the morning, when he checked the mirror.

"I just called [head athletic trainer John Worley] right away and he said, 'Go to the doctor.' The funny part is when I showed up there, Zach was there without me knowing," Pominville said. "But it wasn't that bad. I had a fever and stuff like that, but I didn't get it as bad as some guys a couple of years ago because of the booster shot we got a couple years ago."

Neither has played a game since before the Wild's bye week, but both skated Sunday in the club's first practice afterward and each player went to Braemar Arena to skate on Friday when the rest of the team had a day off.

"It was fun to be back," Parise said. "You feel like you haven't played in such a long time with the break and the mumps. It feels like it's been a long time. It's nice to be back skating."

Video: Zach Parise & Jason Pominville return to Practice

Line dance

With Parise and Pominville skating on normal lines, Boudreau shook up his forward group at practice.

In addition to the Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund line, which remains untouched, Parise skated with Eric Staal and Chris Stewart. 

Nino Niederreiter was with Hanzal and Charlie Coyle, giving Boudreau a line with tons of size.

Pominville was with White and Haula.

"We have a lot of really good players. We have four really solid good lines. We are a really deep team," Parise said. "You have to put it altogether. We are going to continue to try to do that and work and find some line combinations that hopefully we can stick with. You know, Chicago keeps winning, and we want to stay ahead of them, so we have to make sure that we're sharp."

Scouting the Sharks

Riding an eight-game point streak and winners of three straight, the San Jose Sharks come to town, playing the first of back-to-back games. The Sharks complete their quick two-game road trip on Sunday in Winnipeg before heading back to the West Coast to open a six-game homestand.

San Jose's solid stretch has moved it to within five points of the Wild for the top spot in the Western Conference.

Defenseman Brent Burns is in the mix for the Hart (MVP), Norris (best defenseman) and Art Ross (leading scorer) Trophies this season, leading the Sharks with 27 goals and 40 assists. His 67 points is fifth most in the NHL. If Burns wins the Art Ross, he'd be the second defenseman in League history to do so, and the first since 1975 (Bobby Orr). 

Joe Pavelski, a former Wisconsin Badger, leads Sharks forwards with 55 points, including 21 goals and 34 assists.

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