Post by Mike Doyle
For the first time this season – with the exception of Mike Lundin, who hasn’t skated because of a nagging back injury – the injury bug may bite the Wild against the Vancouver Canucks today.
Because of the early start time (3 p.m. in the State of Hockey) in Vancouver, the status of Mikko Koivu, Greg Zanon and Guillaume Latendresse will be unknown nearly until puck drop. The team didn’t participate in a morning skate and all three are game-time decisions.
Koivu received 10 stitches to the face after being clipped by linemate Dany Heatley’s skate against the Oilers Thursday night. Koivu didn’t skate yesterday, but signs point toward him playing tonight. One of the setbacks: the chin-piece of a full facemask would rest on the sewn-up area. If he skates without a mask, the wound will have no protection. If he skates with it, a solid knock to the mask would likely reopen the wound.
Zanon missed the third period against the Oilers due to a tweaked groin. The shot-blocking machine has only missed one game during the past three seasons. If he is a no-go, Justin Falk will see his first action of the year.
Latendresse was held out of practice with a lower-body injury. The team leader in points missed 58 games (10/28-3/6) last season following surgeries to his left hip. Hopefully, the big winger was held out for precautionary measures. If he is rested, Nick Johnson will likely be inserted into the lineup with some line shuffling to follow.