Wild recall three from AHL
ST. PAUL, Minn. — While the Minnesota’s Wild thoughts are with forward Zach Parise after his father, J.P., died Wednesday night, the team has an important home game Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks and made several roster moves.
Minnesota designated Parise a non-roster player as he is away from the team with his family. The Wild also placed goaltender Darcy Kuemper on injured reserve, requested waivers for defenseman Stu Bickel and recalled defenseman Jonathon Blum, goaltender John Curry and forward Jordan Schroeder from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.
Kuemper aggravated a lower-body injury in Wednesday’s practice, which turned out to be more significant than head coach Mike Yeo initially believed.
"Didn’t think it was much yesterday, but I’m assuming, think that it got a little bit worse during practice yesterday," Yeo said. "So, we don’t think he’ll be available for the next week or so."
Kuemper, 24, has started 27 games for the Wild this season and is 13-12-1 with a 2.68 goals-agaist average and .902 save percentage. Curry has one appearance for Minnesota this season, making 19 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss on Dec. 27.
Niklas Backstrom will start Thursday against Chicago and will be counted on without Kuemper.
"Backy, typically, the more he’s played the better he’s played," Yeo said. "And if I know him, I know that he’s looking at this as an opportunity; not only for himself, but to help the team here. He’s a veteran guy. I think that composure could bode well for us. But again, as much as anything, I like that he’s going to want this opportunity, and I think our guys are going to play hard in front of" him.
Defensemen Marco Scandella and Nate Prosser missed Thursday’s morning skate and won’t play against the Blackhawks. Prosser has been out with an illness.
Scandella, who’s tied for sixth among all NHL defensemen with nine goals, suffered an upper-body injury in Tuesday’s overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks and Yeo wasn’t sure when Scandella might return.
"I know he’s feeling better today," Yeo said. "That’s all I know. So obviously he’s out for tonight and then we’ll just take it day by day right now."
Blum leads all defensemen for Iowa with 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 29 games. He’s played in one game with Minnesota this season and has seven goals and 16 assists in 107 career NHL games.
"He’s a puck-moving guy," Yeo said. "It’s a team that you have to be really strong defensively, but the more time that you have the puck and the better you execute then the less time you spend defending. So that’s going to be (an) important part tonight."
The Wild reassigned forward Brett Sutter to the AHL on Wednesday and without Parise, recalled Schroeder. Schroeder, 24, is tied for second on Iowa with 24 points (10 goals and 14 assists) in 28 games.
Schroeder has played in one game with Minnesota this season and has six goals and nine assists in 57 career NHL games. He’s expected to play Thursday’s game on a line with center Erik Haula and wing Thomas Vanek. All three players played at the University of Minnesota.
"I think that line played together earlier in the year for us, the Gopher line if you want to call it," Yeo said. "We like the idea of some speed, skill with Thomas. We felt that was one thing that he needed was some speed. Obviously Haula brings that, but Schroeder as well on the right side, somebody that can read off him, somebody who can shoot the puck and somebody who can get to holes, find those holes for those little plays Thomas can make."
Minnesota, which is 11th in the Western Conference with 41 points, has lost eight of its past 10 games in regulation or overtime heading into Thursday against Chicago, which is third in the Western Conference with 54 points.
"Not get caught up in the whole big picture stuff, not get caught up in focusing on the result and be ready to handle adversity within the course of the game," Yeo said of handling Thursday’s game. "I thought we played a good game last game. We have to find a way to be better than that tonight. I know that as good as we can be tonight there will be moments where they have pressure on us, where we’re playing in our zone, whether there’s a bad bounce or a bad call or a goal against, we’re going to have to respond to those situations. So that will be a good test."
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