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To rest, or not to rest, healthy players in meaningless games

Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang

Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates his first goal of the season with Kris Letang (58) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers in Pittsburgh Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


John Torchetti doesn’t intend to rest any of his healthy players on Saturday, even though the Wild have nothing to gain by beating the Calgary Flames.

Minnesota is locked into the second wild-card spot in the West. In the first round of the playoffs, the Wild are going to play the winner of the Central Division, be that Dallas or St. Louis. Nothing that happens Saturday can change that.

Torchetti, a Boston native, is familiar with a team that’s played a few meaningless games at the end of the regular season.

“Probably the most successful team in the NFL is the [New England] Patriots,” Torchetti said, per the Star Tribune. “They play everybody [in the] last game of the year.”

Sure, but only for the first half. (And there was that one time with Wes Welker...)

It actually sounds like goalie Devan Dubnyk could get the Tom Brady treatment on Saturday, playing only part of the game before giving way to backup Darcy Kuemper. So it’s not like Torchetti doesn’t recognize the situation.

The Wild aren’t the only NHL squad that have nothing left to gain or lose in the regular season.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are locked into second in the Metropolitan Division. So, will stars like Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang suit up Saturday against a desperate Flyers team? The Bruins and Red Wings sure hope they will.

The Flyers also play Sunday in Brooklyn, potentially needing a win to grab a playoff spot. So, what if the Islanders are already locked into third in the Metropolitan? At the very least, John Tavares could have his ice time limited.

Anyway, just something to keep in mind. Should be an interesting weekend for a few teams.