Dumba's continued absence has been a blow to Wild's power play
ST. PAUL -- When Matt Dumba was lost to a shoulder injury on Dec. 15, Minnesota Wild coaches and teammates immediately lamented losing the big defenseman’s slap shot on the power play.That was prescient.
Not only did Dumba have six power-play goals in 32 games -- he’s still tied with Zach Parise for the team lead -- but in Bruce Boudreau’s words, “He was sort of running our power play.”
“And you notice,” the Wild coach told reporters Thursday, Jan. 10, “it hasn’t been as successful as we would like it to be since he’s been gone.”
In 11 games without Dumba heading into Thursday night’s game against Central Division-leading Winnipeg at Xcel Engery Center, the Wild were 1 for 19 with the man advantage.
“Dumba’s quite a valuable player for us,” Boudreau said.
After surgery to repair a torn shoulder muscle on Dec. 26, Dumba, 24, was expected to miss at least three months. He was injured during a fight with young Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk in a loss to Calgary at the X.
“We miss him. We miss his presence,” Boudreau said. “We miss the fact that we could have what we like to call a Big Four to put out there.”
Eric Fehr isn’t expected to miss nearly as much time as Dumba after taking a dangerous check during a 1-0 victory at Montreal on Monday, but he’s not close to returning, either.
Fehr, a veteran fourth-liner who joined the Wild as a free agent in July, missed Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins and was not at Thursday’s morning skate.
“He’s not doing great, but I think it’s a body injury,” Boudreau said. “I’m not even going to say lower or upper, but it’s probably one to two weeks.”
Fehr, a 6-4, 2010 center, has five goals and had played in all 41 games before missing Tuesday’s loss at Boston.
The 33-year-old was an anchor on the penalty kill, and Boudreau noted that the Bruins were 2 for 2 with the man advantage.
“He’s really good in that position, takes a lot of pride in it,” Boudreau said. “So even though he’s a fourth-line guy, he’s still got five goals and he’s a big guy on the PK. So we miss him.”
Asked if Fehr might skate while recovering, Boudreau said, “I’m hoping, but a lot of it depends on him.”