Tag: Jason Zucker

Devan Dubnyk

It’s Minnesota Wild day at PHT


The Minnesota Wild’s 2014-15 campaign was a tale of two seasons. There was the time before Devan Dubnyk and then the time after his arrival.

Before Dubnyk was traded on Jan. 14, the Wild were a team in disarray. They had lost 12 of their last 14 games, shifting the question from if they could take a step forward from their 2014 second round exit to if they could even make the playoffs. Now in the third season of the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter era, their stagnation was tremendously disappointing.

On Jan. 7, Wild coach Mike Yeo seemed to lose his cool during a team practice in dramatic fashion. To make matters worse, goaltender Darcy Kuemper left the same practice with a lower-body injury.

The Minnesota Wild went on to lose another four games, including a 7-2 defeat to Pittsburgh on Jan. 13.

“We’re so easy to play against,” Zach Parise said after the game, per the Associated Press. “We lose battles. The details of our game are terrible. We don’t make it hard on the other team.”

Then Minnesota acquired Dubnyk from Arizona for a third round pick and he was given the nod on Jan. 15. He ended up starting in 39 of the Wild’s final 40 games and posted a 1.78 GAA and .936 save percentage over that span to salvage their campaign.

Once in the postseason, Minnesota bested the St. Louis Blues in six games, setting up a series against the Blackhawks for the third consecutive year. Chicago had beaten them twice before and despite all the Wild had accomplished on their road to Chicago this time around, the outcome would not be any different. The Blackhawks powered past Minnesota in four games.

Offseason recap

After his strong performance, the big question for the Wild this summer was how much re-signing Dubnyk would cost them. Determining fair value was no simple matter given Dubnyk’s rocky history, but the two sides ultimately settled on a six-year, $26 million deal.

Up against the cap, this has been a quiet summer for Minnesota as far roster changes go. Chris Stewart and Kyle Brodziak walked as unrestricted free agents while former Wild players Sean Bergenheim, Matt Cooke, Jordan Leopold, and Keith Ballard remain unsigned. On top of that the Wild haven’t made any significant additions thus far.

That’s to be expected though as the team has to factor in the potential raises that Jason Zucker, Jared Spurgeon , Matt Dumba, and Kuemper might get as restricted free agents next summer.

Wounded Wild: Stewart separated shoulder, Zucker played with broken thumb

Jason Zucker

When it comes to playoff injuries, we usually don’t get the full story until after the fact. The latest example of that is the Minnesota Wild, which opened up about the status of their players now that they have been eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks.

Chris Stewart revealed today that his upper-body injury was actually a separated right shoulder. He was hurt during Game 2 of the second round and while he was able to play through it long enough to finish the contest, he missed the final two games of the series.

“I had nothing. It’s just frustrating,” Stewart told the Star Tribune. “Want to get out there, want to help your team. Toughest job in sport is watching. Wasn’t a story book ending, but I’m still happy with the opportunity I had here.”

Stewart had 14 goals and 36 points in 81 contests in 2014-15 between Buffalo and Minnesota. He was acquired by the Wild on March 2 for a 2017 second round pick and played out the remainder of his two-year, $8.3 million contract. Given Minnesota’s cap situation, Stewart will probably test the free agent market.

Jason Zucker also had a rough postseason run as he broke his thumb in Game 2 of Minnesota’s first round series against St. Louis. He remained in the lineup, but was limited to a single goal in the eight games that followed.

“Pain-wise it wasn’t bad until the numbing wore off, but overall, I think the toughest part is once your thumb is numb, you can’t feel your stick very well, so stickhandling was a little bit tough,” Zucker said.


Dubnyk: Minnesota is ‘where I want to be’

Video: Blackhawks hold off Wild to take series lead


Jason Pominville might lose sleep over this one.

Late in the third period, with the Minnesota Wild pressing for the tying goal to send Game 1 into overtime, the puck took a fortuitous bounce off the end glass and eventually found its way to Pominville in a prime shooting location. But the puck was rolling, and Pominville sent his shot well wide of the net, with goalie Corey Crawford beat.

The host Chicago Blackhawks held on from there for the 4-3 victory and a 1-0 series lead over the Wild.

Earlier on, it looked like this game might turn into a blowout. The Blackhawks, in front of their home crowd, erupted to beat Devan Dubnyk three times on eight shots, taking a 3-0 lead into the intermission.

But the Wild battled back. Jason Zucker, Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund scored within a span of 9:30 into the middle period, getting Minnesota back into a tie game. Dubnyk did his part, making a spectacular save on Patrick Sharp to ensure the Wild didn’t fall further behind when still trailing by two.

However, Teuvo Teravainen’s first career playoff goal — a wrist shot from the side boards that got by Dubnyk — with under a minute remaining in that frantic second period stood as the winner.

Game 1 ready? Q says Kane cleared for contact, showing ‘real good progress’


Two days ahead of their playoff opener, the Blackhawks got more good news on the Patrick Kane front.

“He had real good progress,” head coach Joel Quenneville said of Kane, who’s been out since late February with a broken collarbone. “Got cleared for contact, and handled everything pretty well.”

Kane practiced with Chicago on Monday, the latest step in what’s been a quick recovery from an injury that was supposed to sideline him up to three months. The former Conn Smythe winner broke the collarbone on Feb. 24 against Florida and underwent surgery shortly thereafter but, much like Minnesota’s Jason Zucker did following the same injury, resumed skating far quicker than expected.

(Zucker ended up missing just two months, rather than the original prognosis of three, following his broken collarbone, and has scored three goals in his first three games since returning.)

Should Kane play in Game 1 against Nashville, his return would be even quicker than Zucker’s — seven weeks to Zucker’s eight — but the 26-year-old said he pushed himself to speed up the rehab process.

“I’ve done a lot to try to get myself, whether it’s healed as fast as possible or feeling good as fast as possible, whatever you want to call it,” he explained, per the Chicago Tribune. “I’ve done a lot of different things to try and make that happen.

“I’m pretty happy with the progress so far.”

For what it’s worth, Kane took his usual line rushes alongside Kris Versteeg and Brad Richards on Monday, and practiced on the club’s first power-play unit.

Cooke back for Wild after 31-game absence


The Minnesota Wild are getting healthy at the right time.

Having just returned Jason Zucker (broken collarbone) following an eight-week absence, the Wild will get another key lineup piece back tonight as Matt Cooke (sports hernia) plays for the first time since Feb. 1.

Cooke, who’s missed the last 30 games, had four goals and eight points in 27 contests prior to getting hurt. The 36-year-old should be a welcome addition as the postseason draws near; Cooke is a known playoff performer with over 100 games of experience, capturing a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009.

Of course, Cooke is better known as one of the league’s most notorious players — his questionable hits have landed him a series of suspensions, including a seven-game ban last postseason for kneeing Colorado’s Tyson Barrie in the opening round.