Wild getting healthy as Kaprizov, Eriksson Ek on the verge of returning
Kirill Kaprizov should be in the Wild lineup on Friday, eight days after suffering an injury that saw head coach Dean Evason say afterward, “it doesn’t look good.”
But there Kaprizov was on Wednesday on the ice with his teammates for the first time since being on the receiving end of that hit by Trent Frederic of the Bruins. Frederic was not disciplined by the NHL, which probably really bothered Evason given his comments following the Jan. 6 win over Boston.
“Really frustrated with how Kirill got hurt,” Evason said last week. “It’s a predatorial hit. ... I mean, we don’t want that, right? The puck is sitting right there. You know what he’s doing. He’s going to hurt our best player. There’s no question that there is no intention — that is not a hockey play. The puck’s sitting right there. All he has to do is take the puck and go. And in a vulnerable position, you hit a player from behind. We see it all the time and it gets taken care of. I hope it gets taken care of here.”
Kaprizov suffered an upper-body injury on the play and was later put on injured reserve. What the exact injury suffered was never officially revealed by the team. Playing into the Wild’s favor was that two scheduled games this week had been postponed, so he only missed their wild come-from-behind shootout win over the Capitals on Saturday night.
According to Evason, “unless something unforeseen happens” the 24-year-old Kaprizov will be back in the lineup Friday against the Ducks.
More returns on the way
Possibly joining Kaprizov on the active roster is Joel Eriksson Ek. The forward has been out since Dec. 20 with an upper-body injury and returned to practice this week. Same for Jordan Greenway, who had been in COVID-19 protocol since Jan. 3.
Getting healthy is big for the Wild as they hold the fourth spot in the Central Division. It’s been a rollercoaster of results since U.S. Thanksgiving as they won eight straight, then dropped five in a row, including the Winter Classic, and have now come out on top in their last two games.