"Taking Chuckie for a walk." — Jared Spurgeon
It’s been a long time coming for Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke.
The 36-year-old returned to practice for the first time in more than a month and a half, before the team departs for Chicago facing the Blackhawks tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. at the United Center. The wing has been sidelined with a lower-body injury, missing 19 games. Last year, he skated in all 82 of the team’s regular season games.
Cooke will not be in the lineup tomorrow, or Wednesday when the Wild returns home to host the Boston Bruins. However, today’s practice was a large step in what has been a lengthy road to recovery.
“It’s been a long process. A lot longer than anybody would’ve liked, especially myself,” Cooke said. “Today it felt awesome to get back with the guys.”
Ryan Suter was named the 2nd Star Of The Week in the NHL. He led defensemen in scoring with five assists last week and averaged 30:30 in ice time/game to help the Wild go 2-1-0 in three games.
Suter leads the NHL in TOI/game at 29:27 and ranks T-4th amongst NHL defensemen in assists and T-13th in scoring.
The Wild has recalled forward Brett Sutter from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League (AHL). The team also placed defenseman Keith Ballard (upper body) and forward Ryan Carter (upper body) on Injured Reserve.
Sutter, 27 (6/2/87), has collected 14 points (5-9=14) in 26 games with Iowa this season. He ranks fourth on the team in scoring.
"No comment." — Jonas Brodin
"Just another day at the Coyle-Zucker residence." — Darcy Kuemper
The Minnesota Wild believes it’s better than its current 15-11-1 record and 10th spot in the Western Conference standings indicates. However, the club needs to play up to its lofty standards. That was the message during today’s Wild practice in Glendale, Arizona at Gila River Arena before taking on the Arizona Coyotes tomorrow night at 7 p.m. State of Hockey Time.
“We’re tired of being on the cusp, tired of being close,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “We need to demand better than what we’ve been brining.
“We’re better than what we’ve been showing, consistently.”
I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
— Bob Dylan, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
With a Flash Flood Watch in the San Francisco Bay Area, a shorthanded Minnesota Wild defensive corps will again have to rise to the occasion against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center. It’s been an all too familiar tune for the Wild in the early going this season, as the team again will be without a pair of contributing blueliners.
Marco Scandella will serve the first of a two-game suspension following an illegal check to the head against the New York Islanders’ Brock Nelson on Tuesday. It was the second hit of the season that was reviewed by the Department of Player Safety, the first coming the St. Louis Blues’ T.J. Oshie on Nov. 30, which warranted no suspension.
Yesterday’s emotional Minnesota Wild comeback win against the New York Islanders came at a price. During the second period, defenseman Keith Ballard was run hard into the boards by Islanders forward Matt Martin and was taken to Regions Hospital. Ballard suffered three facial fractures, a concussion. He was released today and is out indefinitely.
“I haven’t spoken to him yet, but I know that he’s feeling better, and that’s very encouraging,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “It’s a significant injury.”
After the hit the Wild was charged up, engaging in scrums and jawing after nearly every stoppage. Minnesota was trailing, 3-0, at the time of the hit and went into the third period down, 4-1. However, the club used its emotions to rally to a four-straight third period goals and a 5-4 win.
The Wild has recalled defenseman Justin Falk from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Falk, 26, has averaged 8:29 in time on ice in three contests with Minnesota this season and recorded four points (1-3=4) and 24 penalty minutes (PIM) in 16 games with Iowa. The 6-foot-5, 222-pound native of Snowflake, Man., has totaled 17 points (1-16=17) and 120 PIM in 132 career NHL games with Minnesota and the New York Rangers. He was originally selected by the Wild in the fourth round (110th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and signed as a free agent with Minnesota on Aug. 1. Falk wears sweater No. 44 with the Wild.