Wild to be without Eriksson Ek, Spurgeon for 2022 Winter Classic

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The Wild will be without two key players for the 2022 Winter Classic against the Blues Saturday night at Target Field.

Spurgeon has been dealing with a lower-body injury since late-November. He missed eight games before returning to the lineup and then re-aggravating it after playing four games. The Wild captain last played Dec. 16.

Eriksson Ek, meanwhile, was injured during Minnesota’s final game before the extended holiday pause against the Stars. The Wild forward went into the boards awkwardly following a puck battle with Dallas defenseman Jani Hakanpaa.

On Sunday, the first day NHL players could return to practice following the break, Wild head coach confirmed the two will miss Saturday’s outdoor game.

“Neither one will play,” Evason said. “Both are not positive [for COVID-19], not rosy outcomes, but as far as timeline and all of that, I don’t have a time frame. It’s disappointing for any player that can’t play.”

[Winter Classic jerseys: Blues / Wild]

With Monday’s NHL games postponed, the Wild’s next game will be the Winter Classic. A few of the players took advantage of the extra days off to prepare for their outdoor event this weekend.

Both the Wild and Blues are scheduled to practice on the Target Field rink Friday.

“Just get going and feel the surroundings and all that good stuff,” Evason said. “We’re excited to get going for that game on the first.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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