With its players dropping like flies, the Minnesota Wild escaped a close call after young gun Jason Zucker took a puck just above the right kneecap in the third period of last night’s 4-1 road win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
Considering the Wild is already missing top line forwards Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, No. 1 goaltender Josh Harding and No. 3 defenseman Jared Spurgeon, the last thing the team needed was to lose another key piece of the puzzle. While Zucker did struggle to get back to the bench and down the hallway to the locker room, he appeared fine four stitches later after the game. There’s no question the Wild brass blew a huge sigh of relief that it wasn’t anything more serious.
And, once again, in the will-they-won’t-they romance saga regarding Minnesota’s love affair with free agent goaltender Jose Theodore, the team may be closer than ever to signing the former Wild goaltender.
According to the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo:
GM Chuck Fletcher may be looking to add a goaltender to provide some insurance. This is a league where it’s awfully difficult to make a trade and Fletcher also isn’t looking to throw away assets. So according to sources, the Wild is interested in maybe signing free agent Jose Theodore, who is working out daily and skating weekly in South Florida.
Again, we’ll see if Backstrom’s three-game winning streak and outstanding performance tonight (27 of his 39 saves in the first 40 minutes) slows the GM down, but after talking to a bunch of people, it wouldn’t shock me at all if Fletcher eventually looks at signing Theodore. A lot really depends on what’s the word on Harding once we get back to Minnesota.
Finally, here’s a fun bit of trivia for you–in their past three games, the Minnesota Wild has dominated the league’s Three Stars of the Night, collecting First Stars on January 4th (Ryan Suter, three goals), 7th (Darcy Kuemper, 39 saves) and the 9th (Justin Fontaine, three goals). Let’s hope that continues.