ST. PAUL, Minn. — With the Minnesota Wild fighting for playoff positioning, forward Dany Heatley underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder Tuesday.
Heatley, who had 11 goals and 10 assists in 36 games this season, was hurt at the end of Wednesday’s loss at San Jose in an altercation with Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
“Really tough,” Minnesota center Kyle Brodziak said after Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Chicago. “Obviously a guy that knows how to score goals and a night like tonight, we could have used one for sure. Yeah, it’s tough.”
Heatley, who has 360 career goals, and Vlasic were battling near the goal when the defenseman cross-checked Heatley to the ice. Heatley got up and swung his stick at Vlasic, missing him. But the swing caused Vlasic to retaliate. Vlasic slashed Heatley across the arm and drove Heatley to the ice. Vlasic was given a major penalty and game misconduct for slashing and was fined $8,378.38 by the NHL for the incident.
In announcing Vlasic’s fine, the NHL said Heatley was injured on the fall to the ice.
The team revealed Tuesday night that the surgery, performed by Dr. Tony Miniaci at the Cleveland Clinic, will keep Heatley out for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs. The Wild expect that he’ll be fully recovered for the start of the 2013-14 season.
“Keep going,” Yeo said of how the team will manage without Heatley. “Injuries are a part of the game.”
The Wild, who fell to seventh place in the Western Conference after Tuesday’s loss, were also without center Matt Cullen (lower body), who’s missed the past four games. Plus, goaltender Josh Harding is still on injured reserve as he attempts to return from an adjustment in his medication for multiple sclerosis.
Yeo said Cullen, who has seven goals and 18 assists this season, met with a doctor Tuesday and that “he’s getting there.”
Harding had returned to practice with the team a couple weeks ago but hasn’t been participating in recent workouts.
“We’re hoping to get him out with us very soon,” Yeo said of Harding. “That’s about all I can say.”