BOSTON – Wild players stormed the ice one by one Thursday morning, just as they have done a dozen times this season.
But when the coaching staff urged players to start line rushes at TD Garden, rookie winger Brandon Duhaime was hastily removed from the ice.
He had tested positive for COVID and had to meet with head coach John Worley for further tests. A few hours later, he officially entered the COVID protocol and was unavailable for Thursday night’s game against the Bruins.
If it feels like the game hasn’t been able to take a break lately, it’s because everything that can go wrong went wrong in the last month. On the injury front, the Wild are currently facing captain Jared Spurgeon (lower body injury), top center Joel Eriksson Ek (upper body injury), No. 1 goalkeeper Cam Talbot (lower body injury) and forward Nick Bjugstad. renounce (upper body injury). They too will have to do without winger Jordan Greenway (COVID protocol) for at least the next few days.
« Every team in the league goes through it, right? » said coach Dean Evason. « It is a good opportunity to test our strength in space, and we have no doubt that we will be as positive as possible and master whatever comes up. »
When asked if it was difficult to stay positive, Evason joked that he hadn’t snapped at a reporter yet.
« There’s nothing we can do about that, can we? » he said. “We’ve talked enough here in recent years to go from game to game. This is the team that will be on the ice and we expect them to let off steam and get the job done. »
The good news for the wild? They brought back star defender Jonas Brodin for the game against the Bruins. He’d missed much of the last week while on the COVID log. They also added top prospects Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi to the lineup for their highly anticipated NHL debuts.
« We have new people in our line-up tonight that we’re looking forward to, » said Evason. « We are excited about the challenge that the whole group has to do the work here in a great building tonight (against) a great team. »
Boldy said he expected a lot of people to be in attendance when he made his NHL debut. He grew up in Millis, Massachusetts, which is about an hour from TD Garden, and bought about 10 tickets for family members.
Even better, college coach Jerry York bought a suite so Boldy’s former Boston College teammates could see their boyfriend’s NHL debut in person.
« It’s great, » said Boldy. “These guys are still some of my best friends, this whole group that I went to school with. It’s great to have her here. I would have taken care of many if it hadn’t been for that. They’re some of my best friends so it’s really exciting to have them here. It is a dream for me to have all the support from my pals. »
After missing the Winter Classic during the COVID protocol, Brodin expressed his disappointed Thursday morning.
« It was hard to sit at home alone and watch the game, » he said. « Just bad timing. »
After testing positive for COVID, Brodin said his biggest concern was that his teammates would test positive too.
« Only the whole week I was nervous, like ‘I hope nobody gets it anymore' », said Brodin. « I just feel a little bit bad. »
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Wild fall to compete with the blues to spoil the Winter Classic spectacle
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