The Minnesota Wild skated at Saint Thomas Ice Arena this afternoon and welcomed Cal Clutterbuck back onto the ice.
With the team in Chicago for the last two days, the forward has been on the ice the past few days on his own, trying to return from a lower body injury after taking a low hit from Edmonton’s Taylor Hall on Feb. 21. Clutterbuck has missed five games and is currently on Injured Reserve.
“I’m pretty confident today and I’m feeling pretty good,” Clutterbuck said after practice. Clutterbuck assured conditioning isn’t an issue, as he’s been pushing himself to get back on the ice.
“It’s a progression. Three days ago it was tough to get through, but yesterday a little bit easier,” Clutterbuck said. “But today I felt great.”
The feisty forward adds an element of physicality to the club’s front line. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said that there is a “good chance” that, barring any setbacks, Clutterbuck will be back in the lineup for Saturday’s road game against the Nashville Predators.
“I thought Clutter was absolutely flying out there today,” Yeo smiled as Clutterbuck passed by in the hallway. “It was good to see him back.
“It’s always nice to get a guy like that back coming back into your lineup.”
Jokes aside, the winger did look good on the ice today and was skating alongside Kyle Brodziak and Dany Heatley. Minnesota’s practice had an a little bit of an edge, with the team running through a number of battle drills. It was a combination of not having time to work on physical, battle-type drills because of the schedule and that the Wild will have an off day tomorrow.
Mike Rupp was not at today’s skate, as the forward flew back to New York to see his family and collect some items. The trip was planned for some time and this was the first chance for him to get home since being acquired by the Wild.
Goaltender Darcy Kuemper also missed today’s skate with a lower body injury. Yeo said the netminder had been dealing with the issue before last night’s game and this was an opportunity to give him a rest.
The top-two lines looked the same as yesterday and the fourth line was a rotation between Zenon Konopka, Mikael Granlund, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Torrey Mitchell.
The session ended with a brisk skate.
Tonight, the team will don aprons and carry serving trays at the annual Wild About Children fundraiser presented by West Bend. The Wild will serve up a delicious multi-course meal from Kincaid’s Classic American Dining. The event benefits the Minnesota Wild Foundation and its premier community partner, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.