Friday's 30-minute Wild practice was supposed to be a straightforward skate, letting the players' legs get a quick workout after last night's win against Edmonton before tomorrow's early 1 p.m. game against Tampa Bay and Sunday's game in Detroit. However, by the time practice ended, the Wild's blueline was dotted with question marks.
Marek Zidlicky and Nick Schultz both missed the skate with injuries. Cam Barker continued to practice with the Wild, but has missed the last 10 games with an upper-body injury. Brent Burns seemed to have his skate slip out from under him on an innocent-looking play during this morning's practice and immediately left the ice grimacing. Head Coach Todd Richards said after practice that all of the players are question marks for tomorrow's game against the Lightning.
With two-thirds of Minnesota's defense up in the air, the Wild recalled Justin Falk
and Maxim Noreau from Houston this afternoon.
The 22-year-old Falk has posted two assists and six penalty minutes in 19 games with the Wild this season. The 6-foot-5, 217-pound native of Snowflake, Man., averaged 14:41 TOI in his time with MInnesota. He's totaled 14 points (3-11=14), 41 PIM and a +15 rating in 54 games with the Aeros this season. The Wild's fourth-round pick (No. 110 overall) in 2007 played three games with the Wild in 2009-10, while tallying nine points (3-6=9) in 69 games with the Aeros.
Noreau was one of six AHL players named to the AHL First All-Star Team and ranks second among League defensemen with 54 points (10-44=54) and 58 PIM in 76 games with the Aeros. Noreau leads all AHL defensemen in power-play assists (26) and points (32) along with total shots on goal (215), and he has recorded multiple points on 15 occasions this season. The 5-foot-11, 192-pound native of Montreal, Que., made his NHL debut with the Wild on April 8, 2010, skating 7:01 in 10 shifts at Calgary. The 23-year-old joined the Wild organization after signing as a free agent May 22, 2008.