Wild veteran Marcus Foligno joked that teammate Jonas Brodin owes him a steak dinner. But perhaps Foligno should negotiate for something more after Brodin nailed him with a slap shot last month and broke his right ankle.
“I didn’t know Brods had that heavy of a slap shot,” Foligno said with a laugh while talking to reporters for the first time since suffering the injury. “Just got unlucky with it. It caught me in the perfect area right above the skate.”
Though he was most excited to talk about his return to the lineup — Monday’s game between the Wild and St. Louis Blues was postponed — the 29-year-old winger took a few minutes to reflect on what he’s been through the past month.
His troubles started on March 12 during a home game against the Arizona Coyotes. That’s when Foligno absorbed the slap shot from Brodin and crumbled to the ice.
Though he struggled to the bench under his own power, Foligno knew something was wrong as he limped to the locker room. He has taken his fair share of pucks to the lower extremities throughout his career, and this time felt different.
“This pain wasn’t really going away,” said Foligno, who has missed the Wild’s past 15 games. “It felt like it numbed my right ankle a little bit. Tough to skate off.”
It wasn’t long before Foligno learned that he had a broken right ankle. While he tried his best to stay positive in the immediate aftermath, he admitted frustration started to set in because he was having perhaps the best season of his career.
Not only was Foligno bringing the energy every game, his performances were showing up on the stat sheet, too, with 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) in 23 games.
“I was feeling really good about my game,” he said. “Things like that are going to happen. Just wish it didn’t happen and I was able to keep at it with these guys all season long. My job is to just come in here and pick right back up and make sure there’s no lull period.”
In the 15 games without Foligno in the lineup, the Wild slogged their way to an 8-5-2 record, very clearly missing his presence both on and off the ice. He tried to be involved as much as possible while he was off the ice, serving as a sounding board for teammates that needed it.
“It’s tough being out,” he said. “You just want to talk to guys and see how guys are doing. That’s my role on this team. Just to make sure everyone’s feeling good about themselves and their games. That’s how I wanted to be during my injury.”
As for the injury itself, Foligno said he feels like he’s back to full strength. But in that same breath, he acknowledged that with the was he plays, he won’t know for sure until he’s in an actual game.
“My biggest thing is my reaction and my timing and things like that,” Foligno said. “Everything feels 100 percent right now and ready to go.”
What about that steak dinner?
“He knows he owes me,” Foligno said of Brodin. “Maybe he doesn’t need any more steak, though, because that was a pretty hard shot. He could probably lay off the steak for a while.”