A quick look at the ice during Wednesday’s practice at TRIA Rink brought good news for the Wild.
After missing several weeks with an upper body injury, star guard Jonas Brodin returned to action. He alternated with the other members of the blue line throughout practice, gliding across the ice with ease and looking very much like himself there.
“He looked good,” coach Dean Evason said. “We had some fights and he looked okay. His legs will be fine. Just a matter of handling the puck, and he looked good in that zone too. It will be a great bonus to bring it back this weekend.”
Which begs the question: Is a couple of workouts enough to prepare Brodin for a weekend trip to New York for games against the Rangers and Islanders?
“I think so,” said Brodin. “Recently I’ve been skating a lot with (skating coach) Andy Ness and training with (strength and conditioning coach) Sean Skahan. I felt pretty good today when I was there with the guys again.”
It was the first time Brodin had skated with his teammates since an upper body injury in a win over the Boston Bruins on January 6. He took the puck out of his hand in the last 20 minutes of the game, and although he initially thought it was a bruised bone, he realized after a hit late in the game that he was actually much worse.
Luckily for Brodin, he was able to skate during his absence, so he still feels in pretty good shape. What is the hardest thing about getting back into the squad?
“I’m just getting into the game to understand the speed with other guys,” Brodin said. “It’s weird to ride with a bunch of guys.”
After leaving Monday’s game early with a lower body injury, goaltender Cam Talbot returned to the ice for Wednesday practice.
That’s a good sign as Talbot is gearing up to start Friday’s game against the Rangers. It’s no secret that he would love to play against his former team, especially considering that legendary goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist will take his jersey off before the game.
“We had a good conversation with him this morning,” said Evason, who emphasized that Talbot could have returned to the game last night if the outcome had not been predetermined. “He said that yesterday he felt great, and today we had a lot of rush. There was a lot of movement for him, and that was good. Let’s see how he shakes it out.”
With the Wild having to deal with adversity for most of last month, it seemed fitting that center Nico Sturm and defenseman John Merrill entered COVID protocol the same day Brodin returned to training.
While it’s unclear if any of the players have had symptoms, the NHL will no longer require daily testing of fully vaccinated players after the upcoming All-Star break. Instead, the player will only need to check if they are showing symptoms.
Asked if he thought it was a good thing, Evason admitted he wouldn’t mind if daily testing stopped for the foreseeable future.
“It would be great if we didn’t have something stuck up our noses every day,” the coach said with a laugh. “But if we have to do it to keep everyone safe, then that is also the right thing to do. We’ll just do whatever it takes to try and stay as safe as possible.”