The Minnesota Wild have been hobbled by recent injuries to offensive players as well as their goalies. Injuries to players such as Devin Setoguchi and Guillaume Latendresse have forced the team to look for other offensive options. It has been reported that Latendresse is close to returning, but Gui has often had problems with his conditioning, especially after his stints on the injured reserve.
While news of Latendresse’s eventual return to the ice may have excited some fans, the loss of Devin Setoguchi to an apparent knee injury greatly impacts the Minnesota lineup as well as their offensive depth. However, the Minnesota Wild have repeatedly shown that they are a resilient team, regardless of the injuries that plague the team. The team has played without the likes of Guillaume Latendresse and Marek Zidlicky for a little while now, but contributions from players such as Kyle Brodziak, Marco Scandella, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard have kept the Wild atop the Western Conference.
On the other hand, Niklas Backstrom returned to the ice and resumed his strong play as the Wild downed the Phoenix Coyotes for their seventh straight win in a row and fourth straight on the road. Backstrom showed no ill effects from his groin injury as he stopped 35 of 36 shots sent his way and once again gave his team a chance to win despite being severely out-shot.
Some may be amazed at the Wild’s ability to pull out wins in seemingly difficult situations, but the tutelage of J.B Spisso has created a united locker-room in Minnesota where every player is willing to stand up for each other and do anything to help the team win. Chemistry and unity in any professional NHL organization cannot be understated since egos can get in the way of any team that wants to win Lord Stanley’s Cup. Spisso’s ideology has obviously created a strong mentality within the Minnesota Wild locker-room and a more in-depth look at his commitment to the team could reveal why the Wild have played as such a cohesive unit despite losing man games to injury.
Here’s an interview that details the beliefs that Spisso has tried to impart upon the current Western Conference leaders:
With injuries to Justin Falk and Marek Zidlicky, players such as Jared Spurgeon and Marco Scandella will be heavily relied on to maintain the Minnesota blue line and eat up key defensive minutes. In addition, the physical play of forward Cal Clutterbuck will be accepted with open arms as he is set to return to the lineup for Tuesday’s matchup against the Winnipeg Jets. Sustaining injuries to various parts of the lineup has not necessarily been a detriment to the Wild as these injuries have opened the door for certain players and even minor league call-ups to stand up in the face of adversity. Despite being injured and sometimes out-shot, the Minnesota Wild are a situational team that will capitalize on any mistake and they should not be taken lightly by any opponent looking to gain two points on a given night.