Alex Goligoski tries to stay positive despite perilous place in Wild lineup
Goligoski, a 37-year-old former University of Minnesota star from Grand Rapids, Minn., has been a healthy scratch most nights.
DALLAS — If Minnesota Wild veteran defenseman Alex Goligoski is upset, he has done a good job hiding it.
Not only has Goligoski remained professional despite his perilous place in the Wild lineup, more importantly, he’s continued to work his butt off behind the scenes.
All in the name of staying ready when he gets the chance to get back on the ice.
“It is what it is,” said Goligoski, a 37-year-old former University of Minnesota star from Grand Rapids, Minn. “You’ve got to focus on what you can control.”
It has been a frustrating past few months for Goligoski, who has been the healthy scratch on most game nights. Though he has been a reliable player whenever the Wild have called upon him, he’s clearly the odd man out on the blue line.
Asked about how Goligoski has handled it, coach Dean Evason replied, “Like anybody, he’s pissed off that he doesn’t play, right?”
Not surprisingly, Goligoski echoed those sentiments, saying, “Everyone wants to play, and I’m no different.”
But Goligoski has focused on staying positive through it all, choosing not to go public about his frustration.
“What’s the point in that?” he wondered. “It’s not going to do anyone any good. You just focus on coming in and going to work every day. You’ve got to be ready.”
That mindset was put to the test in Wednesday’s game against the Dallas Stars as Goligoski started in place of the injured Jonas Brodin.
“He’s hungry to get back in there,” Evason said. “We expect a real good game from him.”
It’s unclear how much time Brodin will miss after suffering a lower-body injury earlier this week. He will be reevaluated when the Wild return from their road trip, according to Evason, and it seems unlikely that he will play in Thursday’s home game against the Vegas Golden Knights.
These are the types of situations where the Wild feel fortunate to have someone like Goligoski waiting in the wings. He has more than 1,000 games under his belt and can fill a variety of different roles. Plus, he works as hard as anyone whenever he steps foot on the ice.
“He’s not not playing because he can’t play,” Evason said. “It’s been a numbers thing.”
Thus, if Brodin is out for an extended period of time, the Wild feel comfortable with Goligoski filling that role. As for Goligoski, he’s focused on the task at hand.
“We need to start getting some points here and propping ourselves back up,” he said. “Just excited to get back in and hopefully contribute.”
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