Pominville returns to practice for Wild, status unclear

Jason Pominville returned to the ice Monday but his status for Game 1 in Chicago is uncertain.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — With one day remaining until the Minnesota Wild open the playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota coach Mike Yeo wasn't going to reveal the status of injured forward Jason Pominville.

Pominville, the Wild's big pickup at the trade deadline, has missed the past two games with an upper-body injury, but he returned to practice Monday as Minnesota prepares for its matchup against Chicago, the Western Conference's top seed.

"Well, he looked good in practice today," Yeo said after practice. "Let's just wait and see tomorrow."

Pominville has four goals and five assists in 10 games with the Wild this season after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres on April 3. Pominville last played on April 23 when he took an elbow to the face from Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown and was knocked down. Pominville was obviously woozy after the hit and hasn't returned since. Brown was suspended two games for the hit.

Pominville skated with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Kyle Brodziak during Monday's practice, the same linemates he had when he was injured, possibly a sign that he could return for Tuesday's playoff opener at Chicago.

"It's good to see him back out," forward Zach Parise said. "That line was playing so well with him and Brodziak and Bouchard before Pommer got hurt. That's what you need. You need everyone, every line to be playing well. There's not a year that goes by that you don't see a third line, a fourth line scoring big goals for teams. That's how you move. We need all the balance scoring we can get."

Torrey Mitchell took Pominville's spot on a line with Bouchard and Brodziak. Mitchell would likely center Mike Rupp and Cal Clutterbuck on the fourth line if Pominville returns.

Pominville is one of the few players on the young Wild with playoff experience, an added bonus for Minnesota as it faces the Blackhawks, who were the President's trophy winners for the league's best regular season record and have playoff experience.

"Well, he's a big part of our team in a lot of areas," Yeo said. "Obviously the offensive threat that he is, smart player, plays in all situations for us, and as much as anything else, the experience that he has in the playoffs and his leadership, obviously a big part of our team."

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