Wild Are Not Ruling Out Joel Eriksson Ek Returning for Game 1 vs Stars

Photo: Amy Irvin - The Hockey Writers

The sky has been brightening around Joel Eriksson Ek’s injury and return status in recent days. Early last week, he wasn’t even skating yet and seemed far from any sort of imminent return. But momentum began to shift later in the week when Bill Guerin told Michael Russo (The Athletic) that Ek might be a go later on in the first round, should the series against the Dallas Stars go deep.

Joel Eriksson Ek a go for game 1?

Then, Dean Evason took to the press conference podium on Sunday and wouldn’t rule out Ek’s return for game one, which is on Monday. According to Joe Smith (The Athletic) JEEK skated for 45 minutes earlier in the morning with skating coach, Andy Ness, which is usually the last step an injured player takes before getting back into practice and, eventually, back to game action. Evason confirmed that Eriksson Ek is one of the few players who doesn’t need to practice in order to play, if cleared for action by doctors.

If Joel Eriksson Ek is healthy enough to contribute to the Minnesota Wild lineup in a positive way then having him on the ice completely changes the dynamics of their 1st round series vs the Stars.

Even if he isn’t in the lineup for game 1, this news likely has the Dallas coaching staff scrambling a bit to make sure they have a plan of attack that includes Ek being on the ice, vs not. And Wild fans can take solace in knowing their favorite center will be back sooner than expected.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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