Matt Dumba

Q&A: Matt Dumba on fighting, Wild’s busy offseason

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No NHL team had fewer home wins (16) than the Minnesota Wild last season. Matt Dumba had to watch a lot of losing nights as he sat out injured for the final three-and-a-half months after rupturing his right pectoralis muscle in a December fight.

It wasn’t easy for the Wild defenseman to be unable to help his teammates out and right the ship of a season that would end with their lowest point total over a full season since 2011-12 and lead to a summer of change.

“Yeah, that was a tough. That was hard for me watching that, but there’s no real explanation for it,” Dumba told NBC Sports. “It can be electric in there, especially if we get a good run going. People in Minnesota, it’s the state of hockey, it’s just waiting to erupt. I know the new guys who come on board and say how crazy it is here when we are in the playoffs. For the guys who missed out on that last season, it’s unfortunate. We’ve got to get back there and show them.”

We spoke to Dumba at the NHL Player Media Tour earlier this month about his season-ending fight, the Wild’s offseason, and more.

Enjoy.

Q. Have the Wild been running in place?

DUMBA: “I think so, yeah, since I’ve been with the squad. The scenery’s nice in the playoffs but you’ve got to work your way up the mountain. I think that’s where we’re trying to climb. The climb this year is just take that next step and really just start getting up there.”

“We’re not satisfied with just making it to that first round or to the second round. I’ve done that. We want bigger and better things for our team. I think everyone on our squad, just the morale and talking to the guys, that’s what we need to do is band together and find a way to make this happen.”

Q. Front office change. Did you see that coming? Does it affect anything you guys do on the ice?

DUMBA: “No, I don’t think really affects all that much just initially. I’ve heard all good things about Bill [Guerin] and his vision, what he wants to do here and how he wants to play, I think you’ll definitely see the transition this year. We plan on making some big moves in this division.”

Q. You were injured in a fight. What happened there?

DUMBA: “It was just kind of a wild punch that just kind of got away from me, just kept extending away from the body. There was a pop and I knew it wasn’t good. That was unfortunate, just a freak accident.”

Q. Have you retired as a fighter?

DUMBA: “I can’t say that. Like any fighter, any competitor, athlete, that’s why you come back, that’s why you train so hard, to get back to where you once were. I still believe it’s part of this game and a necessary part of this game. I’m not ruling myself out or jumping into a fight in my first game. Whatever happens, happens.”

Q. Were you upset a team in your division won the Stanley Cup?

DUMBA: “That rattles me. I don’t want to see anyone win. I just turn off the TV. I missed hockey a lot this year, so I did watch the playoffs, but certain teams I had a tough time watching and my friends knew that. It’s tough, it’s really hard to say. But like any guy, you want to be there, you want to see your team have that success. It’s hard when you see one of your rivals do so well.”

Q. Do you see red when you see Blues?

DUMBA: “I think there’s little rivalries in the Central with every team. I think that’s what gets you up for those games. It kind of pushes you and your your game to another level. I’m always happen and excited to play those games, but there’s no love there, that’s for sure.”

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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.

Matt Dumba’s ‘anger’ led to indefinite stint on sidelines

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Chalk one up for those who are staunch supporters of their star players not engaging in fisticuffs.

Fans of the Minnesota Wild would have wished that Matt Dumba wouldn’t have thrown a “wild punch” at Matthew Tkachuk in a game against the Calgary Flames on Dec. 15.

The fight happened just 40 seconds into the first period. The result? A torn pectoral muscle, surgery, and an indefinite timeline for return.

Dumba, who led the NHL in defenseman scoring prior to the injury, told the Star Tribune’s Sarah McLellan that he was “angry.”

“I was angry and threw a wild punch that didn’t connect,” Dumba said Friday. “I had a bunch of stitches in my face and I think he rubbed those, had hit those a couple times, and it made me pretty angry.”

Dumba, wearing a brace around his right arm, told reporters that he didn’t feel the pain of the injury until he had a chance to calm down in the penalty box.

Dumba’s surgery came on Dec. 26 and along with it, a three-month timetable to return. On Friday, Dumba didn’t have a firm return date.

“It’s pretty slow to start here,” he told NHL.com. “Everything is just letting it heal, letting it get the rest that it needs. That’s our focus right now. I’ve been doing that and making sure this repairs the right way.”

Dumba will be stuck in that brace for a few more weeks before he can start rehabilitating the injury.

The Wild could sure use their best defenseman in the fight for a playoff spot. They could use that scoring — the Wild are 25th in goals-for this season. It appears that if he’s to play again this season, it might not be until the playoffs begin in early April.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Wild’s Dumba out at least 3 months after surgery

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba is expected to miss at least three months after surgery to repair a ruptured right pectoralis muscle.

The Wild said Wednesday that Dumba’s surgery was performed by Dr. Brad Nelson at TRIA Orthopaedic Center.

The 24-year-old Dumba didn’t play in the last two periods of the Wild’s 2-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Dec. 15. He leads NHL defensemen with 12 goals and has 22 points overall in 32 games.

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Flames’ Lomberg ejected for jumping Wild’s Dumba after questionable hit

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(UPDATE: Lomberg has been automatically suspended for one game and Flames head coach Bill Peters has been fined $10,000, per the NHL Department of Player Safety, as per rule 46.22, Instigating in the Final Five Minutes of Regulation. He’ll also have a hearing today for “a legal line change for the purpose of starting an altercation.” That could end up being a fine or multi-game ban. In other discipline news from the gameMark Giordano will have a hearing today for kneeing Mikko Koivu.)

A wild finished between the Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild saw a massive (questionable?) hit, an ejection and a seven-minute power play on Thursday.

A heated contest came to a head with under a minute left in the third period with the Flames holding a 2-0 lead.

Wild defenseman Matt Dumba stepped up in the Flames zone and delivered a hit to Mikael Backlund. There are a couple of angles to watch. One of them shows Dumba jumping into the hit and the other shows his shoulder hitting Backlund square in the face.

Here’s the tape:

Backlund was forced out of the game and could be out for a while, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon.

Appears he was in concussion protocol, as well.

The Flames didn’t take too kindly to the hit and Ryan Lomberg came off the bench on a line change and made a b-line right to Dumba, jumping him and getting one punch in before the refs piled on top of the two.

Lomberg got two minutes for instigating, five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct for his efforts. The power play for Minnesota didn’t amount to anything as Mike Smith stood tall for the 31-save shutout.

Dumba was not penalized on the play.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Long after Burns, Wild’s Dumba is top-scoring d-man in NHL

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — More than seven years have passed since the Wild traded Brent Burns.

Finally, there’s a reason in Minnesota to stop wincing about dealing away one of the NHL’s most potent defensemen.

Matt Dumba leads all blue-liners in the league with 10 goals, a rate that translates to 34 scores over a full schedule. That’s a staggering pace that would crush the franchise record, set by Burns with 17 goals in 2010-11, his final season with the Wild. It’s doubtful Dumba can double that, but it’s clear that the $30 million, five-year contract the Wild gave him prior to this season was a worthy investment.

”It’s fun. I think it’s sustainable if I keep hitting the net and not try to do anything too tricked up or too special. Guys are kind of getting it to me more often and finding me more often,” Dumba said last week, after his two goals helped the Wild beat Ottawa 6-4 .

He knocked in a wrist shot from the point in the second period to make it 4-1. In the first period, he scored on power-play one-timer in the circle from a slick feed by Mikael Granlund.

”That was an absolute muffin,” Dumba said.

Dumba became just the sixth defenseman in the last 30 seasons to reach 10 goals by the 22-game mark, according to the NHL, joining Shea Weber (Nashville, 2008), Al MacInnis (St. Louis, 1997), Ray Bourque (Boston, 1995), Gary Suter (Chicago, 1995) and Jeff Brown (St. Louis, 1992).

”He’s going to score as long as he keeps shooting the puck and hitting the net because his shot is that good,” coach Bruce Boudreau said.

In Minnesota’s 4-3 loss to Arizona on Tuesday night, Dumba had an assist to stretch his streak to seven straight games with at least one point. That’s tied for the team-record mark for defensemen to match Ryan Suter‘s run in 2013.

The 24-year-old Dumba, who had 14 goals and 36 assists to go with a plus-15 rating while playing all 82 games last season, when he established career highs in almost every category. The 6-foot, 184-pound Dumba was drafted in the first round in 2012, exactly one year after the Wild traded Burns to San Jose.

”We’ve got to get him to play a little bit both ends of the ice type of thing, but scoring 10 goals as a defenseman is quite the feat,” Boudreau said.

Ah, but Dumba has come a long way on the defensive end.

”I get to watch the offensive ability and also not have to feel like there’s going to be a 2-on-1 every time he’s on the ice, because I can’t think of a time that he’s made a poor decision as far as getting in offensively,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said.

That’s how he gets paired with Suter as the Wild’s most-used duo. He’s averaging 24 minutes per game, just 45 seconds behind Suter for the team lead. Dumba’s shooting percentage is also up to a career-best 12.8, the fifth-best on the Wild, another sign of growth.

”I try not to force stuff really too much. I know that really doesn’t help anyone,” Dumba said. ”It’s more of letting it come to you and when you’ve got those opportunities, take a shot and hit the net while you do it.”

Burns has averaged 55 points per season over the last seven years, and he won the Norris Trophy in 2016-17 as the NHL’s best defenseman. If Dumba keeps improving, well, he could find himself in the conversation for that award someday.

”Any defenseman will tell you it’s a tough position, tough as a young kid, because we all come from situations where you’re a dominant player or a player who could do a little more,” Dumba said. ”When you play against everyone up here that kind of takes a little bit off of that. So it’s just kind of figuring out where you stand, how hard you have to work to be successful.”

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