ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – The Minnesota Wild can clinch a playoff spot Monday night if they beat Edmonton at home and Colorado loses in LA — if both are in regulation.
But the bigger concern for Minnesota at the moment is how exactly they adjust to life without Ryan Suter, who suffered a broken ankle Saturday night and is out the rest of the year. WCCO’s David McCoy tells us how they plan to make up for losing their best defenseman.
“Sure it is a blow, but it’s a chance for other people to step up. I mean, and for leaders to take the team on their back, and show you can play through adversity,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said.
“That’s what we have. We’re all going to have to play better, we’re gonna have to play simple and smart,” Wild forward Zach Parise said.
There’s no good time to lose a player as important to the Wild as Ryan Suter. But a week before the start of the playoffs?
“It’s late in the season to be making major adjustments of course, you know we’ve been playing some awfully good hockey and you don’t replace a guy like Ryan, there’s nobody in the league that can replace him,” Wild center Matt Cullen said.
But here’s the bigger problem: It’s not just Suter. Both Jared Spurgeon and Gustav Olofsson aren’t ready to return from injury either — though the expectation is that they will be by the start of the playoffs. Until they are, that’s three pretty young, inexperienced defensemen in their place.
“Adversity is part of every season, and you know, we’re facing some here at the end of the season, but you know what, it’s a group deal. And you’ve heard it a lot before but it’s the only way you can manage something like that is the guys have to step up, the young guys coming in and the rest of us have to rally around,” Cullen said. “This is an early dose of adversity for us in what we hope will be a long run. So we’ve got to be able to manage it.”
“The greatest feeling of success is when people say you can’t do something, you do it. So, that’s where we’re at,” Boudreau said.