With 12 players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol as the Minnesota Wild return to the ice for the first time in 10 days, the injury and illness beleaguered team needs as many warm bodies as possible to practice for their inevitable return to competition.
Good news, Wild fans. The Lizard King is ready to heed the call.
Mats Zuccarello (arm surgery) practicing with the #mnwild for the first time this season.— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) February 12, 2021
Mats Zuccarello practiced Friday for the first time since his arm surgery last offseason, and the timing couldn’t be better. While head coach Dean Evason would have had his hands full trying to fit the lizard-shaped peg into a lineup hole when the Wild were at full strength, the fact that the Wild had only 10 regular skaters take part in practice today (along with six Iowa Wild-based taxi squad players) means that the Zuccarello’s presence will be welcomed with
cold-blooded warm open arms.
In other, “please no more bad news” good news, defenseman Matt Dumba reportedly saw some ice time this morning (again via Michael Russo of the Athletic). Though considering the initial practice after a ten day layoff will likely be pretty mild in nature, it shouldn’t be assumed that the Wild’s leading goal-scoring defenseman will be game-ready just yet as Dumba continues to rehab his lower-body injury. Thankfully, though, what at first appeared to have been a long-term ailment won’t end up costing Dumba as much time as originally feared.
Update: That being said, Dumba seems pretty optimistic that he’ll be back on board come Tuesday -
Matt Dumba said he's ready to play Tuesday for #mnwild.— Sarah McLellan (@sarah__mclellan) February 12, 2021
All in all, the Wild’s lineup is starting to take shape, and they still have four days until their next scheduled game in Los Angeles against the Kings. Which is good, because if they had to play a game tonight, their lineup would be, well, interesting...