That’s the answer Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo gave when asked about Jason Pominville’s status for tonight’s Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Pominville practiced with the Wild, for the second day in a row, at today’s morning skate. A better sign, at the end of practice he was on the receiving end of body checks thrown by defenseman Nate Prosser.
After the skate Pominville spoke to the media and said he’s “heading in the right direction,” but declined to speak about his availability. He said that he’d discuss it with the coaching staff, so we’ll have to wait until pregame warm-ups whether he’s dressed or not. However the winger, who has missed five games with an upper-body injury after Dustin Brown elbow on April 23, didn’t skate on a line during the morning rushes.
The first three lines looked the same as Sunday’s 3-2 overtime win, but the fourth was slightly different. Mike Rupp left the ice early in the practice, so his status is unlikely for tonight. So, Jake Dowell skated at center between Stephane Veilleux and Torrey Mitchell on the checking line. Of course, Dowell started his NHL career with the Blackhawks, skating in parts of four seasons in Chicago. I’m sure there’s nothing he’d like more to stick it to his former team.
Josh Harding will get the nod in net tonight, as he’s been in goal for the first three games of the series. Yeo didn’t comment on who would be backing Harding up, as Backstrom has been a full participant in practice for the last two days after suffering a lower-body injury in warm-ups of Game 1.
Understatement alert: tonight is a big game. Obviously the Wild doesn’t want to go back to Chicago down 3-1, so Minnesota will want to play the same type of physical and gritty contest as its overtime win on Sunday. Wild Captain Mikko Koivu spoke about the importance of tonight’s contest and what the club will need to do to secure victory.
Relating to the regular season, Ryan Suter was named one of the three finalists for the Norris Trophy, given to the League’s best blueliner. He was nominated alongside Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang. Suter spoke to the media about the honor and the series against Chicago. Check out this WildTV video congratulating the defenseman on the honor.
If you’re going to the game, the Wild will host a pregame party from 6 to 8 p.m. between Gates 1 and 3. There will be a band, food and beverages (including a beer garden), so check it out.
Finally a reminder, tonight’s contest will start at 8:30 p.m. State of Hockey Time. It will be broadcast locally on Fox Sports North and nationally on NBC Sports Network. The game will air on the radio on KFAN 100.3 FM.