Injuries are just part of the NHL. Of any sport, really, and it isn't any different for the Minnesota Wild. Unfortunately.
The Wild are already going without their best offensive forward in Zach Parise, who is still out with a foot fracture. Josh Harding, by far the Wild's best goaltending option as of now, was out for the last game, is out for this game, and who knows how long?
You can now add Jared Spurgeon to the injury pile, according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune. He'll be out for a few weeks with a "lower-body injury", which is hockey injury report for "F*** off and go away". He probably got it blocking a shot, so you can put those pieces together. Which is a shame for the Wild, as you could argue that he's been the Wild's best defenseman this season.
Ryan Suter has the money and acclaim, and Jonas Brodin has the future Wild fans are most excited about, but they've both struggled this year, particularly when it comes to the defensive/possession side of the game. While the Wild's top pairing has struggled, the 5'9" Spurgeon continues to fly under the radar, and has been putting in 21 and a half minutes for the Wild where he tilts the ice in the Wild's favor, and being gritty and solid in his own zone.
Spurgeon's absence hurts the Wild a bit more than just taking his play off the ice. Marco Scandella came into the year as a question mark until he found consistency playing with Jared Spurgeon. Recently, Spurgeon did move up to play with Suter, but having Jonas Brodin as a defensive partner didn't seem to hurt him. Now, he has neither, as Brodin will be moved up to play with Suter.
Those 21 minutes are going to have to go somewhere, too. Ryan Suter's problems may be an issue of fatigue, as he plays almost a half hour night in, night out. Having a reliable 21 minutes missing from the lineup won't put any pressure off of Suter to continue to log those minutes. And at the bottom of the depth chart, the Wild are going to rely on guys who are either inexperienced, not at Spurgeon's level, or both. Also from Michael Russo, Nate Prosser will be in tonight, playing the second line with Scandella, and Mathew Dumba may be called back to the Wild instead of being returned to Juniors.
And this isn't a good time for the Wild to get more problems. The Wild just got out of a 6-game losing streak, but their problems still exist. They're still 10th in the Western Conference, and all the teams around them in the standings still have games in hand. The Wild are still fighting for their playoff lives, and have a less than 10% chance at a playoff spot.
At the end of the day, every team gets injuries, and the test of a good team is how they compete when you take away pieces from their puzzle. The team and the fans can't point to this as the reason the Wild won't make the playoffs. But whether it's Keith Ballard re-discovering his form, Nate Prosser playing over his head, Jonathon Blum putting together the skills that made him a top prospect, or Mathew Dumba figuring the NHL out, the Wild are going to need someone to step up.