Minnesota might play with five defensemen tonight
Another day, another crazy injury development for the Minnesota Wild.
According to the Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo, the Wild might only dress five defensemen tonight in Phoenix to take on the Coyotes. Clayton Stoner (lower body), Mike Lundin (hernia) and Justin Faulk (leg) are all out while Jared Spurgeon is dealing with the flu. Minnesota tried to get Tyler Cuma up from AHL Houston, but he missed his connecting flight to Phoenix and won’t be able to make his big league debut.
So, the five healthy defensemen are Marco Scandella, Tom Gilbert, Steve Kampfer, Nate Prosser and Kurtis Foster, though for accuracy’s sake we should mention Foster has a bad back and therefore not “healty.”
As for other viable options -- there really aren’t many for Minnesota to consider. Stoner could play in a pinch, but head coach Mike Yeo said he’d rather play shorthanded than jeopardize Stoner, who has been out since Feb. 2 after tearing the muscle off the bone in his hip. There’s always the option of re-creating some Paul Deutsch magic, but the prospect of actually playing a 51-year-old beer leaguer (as opposed to letting him warm up) is kind of terrifying.
To give you an idea of just how bad Minnesota’s season has been injury-wise, consider this: Cuma would’ve been the 45th player to dress for the Wild this season, smashing the old franchise mark by five.
The NHL record, set by Boston in 1991-92, is 55.