The Wild Need The Swedes Back

Joel Eriksson Ek lining up for a faceoff
Creator: Rick Scuteri | Credit: AP

Minnesota Wild fans know how many penalties Joel Eriksson Ek draws. He is forever being facewashed and shoved around from his usual position in the blue paint. Unfortunately, he also manages to take a lot of penalties at the same time. It’s a time-tested joke that Ek is the only player who can get a two-minute penalty for being hit in the face. But during the game against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, the ridiculousness climbed to a whole new level.

Unfortunate Injuries

After a strange check into the boards by Nick Bjugstad during the game against the Arizona Coyotes last week, Ek left the ice and limped down the tunnel. It was announced that he has a lower-body injury and while it isn’t serious, he does need some time to recover. He’s been our for the past four games as fans patiently await his return.

There is talk that Ek could be back by the time the Wild play the St. Louis Blues at home on Saturday. After the dismal showing against the Kings, the Wild need a miracle to make a push to the playoffs. Part of that miracle, outside of the Vegas Golden Knights and Blues both failing miserably, would be to get Ek back into the lineup ASAP.

And that’s not enough because Jonas Brodin was injured during the game against the Anaheim Ducks. Their absence was felt deeply by a team that has already played through enough penalties this year. As their top defensive-defenseman and defensive-offenseman are out, the team had a hard time plugging the holes in their Swiss cheese defense.

Ek Penalty in Los Angeles?

Frustration set in during the third period of the Kings game when it became obvious that the Wild weren’t going to be able to make it even a close loss. Ryan Hartman did the usual and started a brawl with Pierre-Luc Dubois. After Dubois turtled and Hartman headed to the box, Dubois decided to push things just a bit further and intentionally shove Brock Faber on his way off the ice.

Choosing Faber, both a rookie and one of the smallest players on the ice at that time, means that Dubois knew what he was doing. At that point, all heck broke loose on the ice. Poor Faber, a player not known as a fighter, was shoved out of the scrum as everyone else on the ice jumped in. Jake Middleton, Mason Shaw, and the rest made it well known that no one was going to shove their teammates around.

Once that was cleared up, the officials started handing out misconducts to every player on the ice and a few that weren’t even there. Somehow, Ek managed to be announced by the in-arena announcer as one of the players with a 10-minute misconduct. Only Ek could manage to take a misconduct penalty from two time zones away.

Funny enough, Hartman stepped in for Ek and took a two-minute roughing penalty for being hit in the face during the game in St. Louis last weekend. The Wild seem to get some sort of crazy penalty every game.

Injury Update

As of Friday morning, Ek was on the ice for practice. It is a good sign that he may draw into the lineup tomorrow as John Hynes was previously expecting. Even though he didn’t skate as much as he normally would, Hynes was still hopeful that he was a possibility for Saturday as he had made “significant progress.”

Brodin, however, will not be ready to go quite yet. His injury is healing and he should be back soon. After the game against the Blues on Saturday, the Wild have five days off until they face the San Jose Sharks next Thursday.

Saturday Lineup

The lines and pairings look to be the same as the last game. Vinni Lettieri and Alex Goligoski will be the healthy scratches while Adam Beckman will skate on the fourth line once again.

The power play units are also the same. For the last game, Hynes switched the quarterbacks on the power play. Declan Chisholm is now on the top unit while Brock Faber switched down to the second one. This will allow Faber to get a little more rest while he takes on more 5-on-5 ice time with Brodin still out of the lineup for now.

There is also no goalie decision for Saturday’s game yet. Filip Gustavsson had a shutout in his game against the Ducks while, other than the Kings game, Marc-Andre Fleury has been great in net.

For more Minnesota Wild news and vibe checks, listen to Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast.

Trading Gustavsson Would Be the Dumbest Idea Ever Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast

 In this episode, Mikki explains why it would be best if the Minnesota Wild kept all three goalies around. She also laughs at the Kirill Kaprizov haters, talks about the prospects who've been given a chance at the end of this season, and her attempts to write a hockey romance book.Links:Her Wild Side Merch Shop!Ticketmaster Affiliate LinkSocial Media:TwitterInstagramFacebookFor more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR  
  1. Trading Gustavsson Would Be the Dumbest Idea Ever
  2. Bold Statement: I Would NOT Trade Brock Faber for Connor Bedard
  3. The Mom of Wild Twitter Says the Season Isn't Over Yet!
  4. The Wild Can Still Make the Playoffs if We Send Good Vibes!
  5. If Matt Boldy Was an Article of Clothing, He'd Be a Polo Shirt

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