MONDAY’S STORY LINE: Before heading to Colorado to take on the Avalanche, the Wild hit the ice at the Xcel Energy Center for practice.
Defenseman Clayton Stoner, who has missed 15 games with a lower body injury, joined the team for the first time in a month. The defenseman was happy to be back with his teammates after four weeks of working out on his own and with a trainer.
“It is fun to be back with the guys and feel like you are part of the team again and know you are on the path to recovery,” said Stoner.
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Stoner said he felt good out there; even so, there is no timetable for his return.
“It was good to be back on the ice with the team. I felt pretty good,” said Stoner. “I don’t think I am ready to be in a game yet. With a month off you have got to get your timing back and get up to speed,” noted Stoner.
With the trades of Nick Schultz, Greg Zanon and Marek Zidlicky over the past 10 days, Stoner has become one of the senior members of the blue line on a team in need of leadership and physical play in the lineup.
“It’s not just his playing ability but he is a good leader for us and brings a lot of emotion every game,” said Mike Yeo of Stoner.
Yeo said he thought Stoner looked good and is anxious to get him back, but they will be cautious not to rush him.
“We definitely don’t want to put him in a tough spot. We are definitely going to make sure he isn’t going to injure it any further if he comes back in and that we give him a chance to play well,” said Yeo.
Stoner will make the road trip to Colorado and Phoenix and practice with the team, but he is questionable for both games.
OTHER INURY NEWS: Nick Palmieri (upper body) practiced with the team today and it questionable for tomorrow’s game in Colorado. Palmieri missed Sunday’s game after being injured Friday in Detroit.
HE SAID IT: “It is something we have to overcome. Well, let’s overcome giving up a goal in the first shift of the game first of all. We have to react better if it happens. Things happen through the course of a game. We were much stronger earlier in the year at dealing with these types of things and part of that is the confidence we had when we were rolling, when we had everybody in the lineup. We knew that we could overcome those things and now I think the question marks are there in our own heads. When something like that happens, we have to respond better.” — Yeo on responding to giving up early leads