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Wild using some rest days to get healthy ahead of West Coast road trip

While the Wild have slowly started to rediscover their game as of late, they’ve simultaneously been bitten by the injury bug

Minnesota Wild head coach Dean Evason looks on against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Minnesota Wild head coach Dean Evason looks on against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Matt Blewett / USA Today Sports
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — In the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s letdown at Xcel Energy Center — the Minnesota Wild suffered a 4-0 shutout loss to the Seattle Kraken — defenseman Jonas Brodin wasn’t thinking about rest. Heck, if he had his way, the Wild would have suited up that very moment for a rematch with the Kraken.

“You want to play right now,” Brodin said before pausing to look at the bigger picture. “Maybe it’s good for us to rest a little bit.”

Indeed. While the Wild have slowly started to rediscover their game, they’ve simultaneously been bitten by the injury bug. In the past couple of weeks alone, wingers Jordan Greenway (upper body injury), Marcus Foligno (upper body), Ryan Hartman (upper body), and Brandon Duhaime (upper body) have missed time.

In that sense, the Wild taking a couple of days off this weekend will be good for everyone. The only time players will hit the ice in the next few days will be for Saturday’s outdoor practice at the ROC (Recreation Outdoor Center) in St. Louis Park. That time away from the rink should give Greenway, Foligno, Hartman and Duhaime some time to heal up.

“I’m not going to make a bunch of excuses,” coach Dean Evason said after Thursday’s loss. “We just didn’t have our energy level to a man, and for whatever reason. You can guess why. We’ve got a bunch of days off here now, so we’ll hopefully collect some bodies.”

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Regardless of how healthy the Wild are moving forward, they also understand they have to play a certain way to have success. Too many times this season they’ve gotten “too cute” in the offensive zone, and it’s cost them.

“Our skill comes from when we play hard,” winger Matt Boldy said. “It starts with us getting in on forechecks and being hard to play against and breaking teams down. That’s when the skill comes out. I think we got a little bit ahead of ourselves (in the loss to the Kraken) and didn’t get into that grittier game.”

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It sounds as if Greenway will travel with the Wild on the upcoming West Coast road trip. He has skated with his teammates the past few days and appears to be close to making his return. As for Foligno, Hartman and Duhaime, it’s still unclear if any of them will be available.

“Would we like some guys back that are regular NHL hockey players? Sure,” Evason said. “If they are, then that’s wonderful. If they aren’t, then we need people to step up and provide us with game within our lineup.”

The next week won’t be easy for the Wild, a back-to-back against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks before an actual rematch with the Kraken.

“We have a big road trip coming up,” defenseman Matt Dumba said. “It’s going to be a battle, and I think guys are up for it though. That’s what we’ve got to do, just take these next couple of days, get the minds right, get the bodies healed up, then be better on the road.”

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