Last night, Bruce Boudreau raved about how the Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks despite dealing with serious injuries.
They might need to get used to that feeling.
The Wild shared an utterly disastrous injury report on Friday.
(Brace yourself, Wild fans.)
Good grief, that list is just … wow.
The Wild estimate that Nino Niederreiter will miss a minimum of three weeks. Charlie Coyle already underwent surgery, and Minnesota expects his window of recovery to be six-to-eight weeks. Marcus Foligno is ruled out for at least one week with a facial fracture.
Honestly, those Niederreiter and Foligno issues could be worse than those minimums make them seem, too.
This team is already dealing with Mikael Granlund‘s issues (probably a groin injury) and Zach Parise (he insists it’s not a back issue), which might sideline them for a while considering the murky nature of day-to-day updates.
At 1-1-1, the Wild are three games into a road-heavy start (three of five away from home), and then they’ll begin a six-game homestand on Oct. 24. The team already expects to be shorthanded on Saturday, their home-opener.
“What a great challenge,” Boudreau said on Thursday. “If we can come away from this in a good frame, that’s great. You have to accept challenges, and this is a real big challenge early on in the year.”
That Boudreau comment came yesterday; one can almost picture a profanity-laced, HBO 24/7-esque rant about this today, though.
Foligno and Coyle were two-thirds of a top line with Eric Staal, while Niederreiter joined Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker to form a nice second trio. The Wild are likely going to lean more on those guys, not to mention Joel Eriksson Ek, Tyler Ennis, and maybe even Matt Cullen.
If nothing else, Boudreau is the sort of coach who might be able to rally Minny through this challenging stretch. The Wild can also look to their Central Division rivals, the St. Louis Blues, for an example of a team fighting through a tough start.
But yeah, this is brutal stuff.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.
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