Injured Minnesota Wild winger Jason Pominville did not practice with the team after leaving Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings due to an uncalled elbow to the face by Kings captain Dustin Brown.
Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s Director of Player Safety, has since suspended Brown for the rest of the season (two games). For now, Pominville has been classified as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo is waiting to see how well his deadline blockbuster acquisition is feeling tomorrow as the team prepares to take on the Edmonton Oilers in their final home game of the season before making a decision on whether or not he’ll play.
“You get pretty upset when you feel it wasn’t a clean hit, and when there’s no call either, it gets the guys fired up,” said Wild alternate captain Zach Parise. “We handled it the right way. I’m sure people would’ve loved someone to take a run at Brown, but the situation the game was in the other night, we responded right and finished the game hard the way we needed to.”
On a brighter note, injured fourth line winger Mike Rupp skated in today’s full practice. He has been out with a lower-body injury for the past four games. Rupp’s size, grit and attitude has been sorely missed in the Wild lineup. “All six foot five inches of him…he’s a big body and a physical presence,” said Yeo in regards to Rupp. “He’s great to have around in the locker room, a guy that’s been a part of winning a lot of hockey game and winning game this time of year.”
Minnesota has a chance to clinch a playoff spot tonight without having to play another game. While Dallas can’t knock Minnesota out, a win over the Blue Jackets tonight by the Stars would punch the Wild’s ticket to their first postseason run in five years. Though Head Coach Yeo stressed that he is planning on treating tomorrow’s game against the Oilers as a must-win, he did indicate he’d be keeping a close eye on tonight’s Stars/Blue Jackets matchup. “Probably,” he said with a smile. He won’t be the only one.