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Wild defenseman Matt Dumba reveals he suffered punctured lung in April

It’s pretty clear Dumba wasn’t at 100% for the opening-round series against the St. Louis Blues.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba picks up hats after left wing Kirill Kaprizov's hat trick May 4 against the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center. Dumba said on Monday, May 16, 2022, that he suffered a punctured lung in April.
Brad Rempel / USA Today Sports

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba slowly staggered to his skates during an April 5 game following a head-on collision with Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki in the neutral zone. In the aftermath, Dumba missed 12 games with what the team deemed an upper-body injury.

On Monday, Dumba revealed the specifics, telling reporters he suffered a punctured lung in the incident, plus a dislocated rib. He praised the team’s training staff for helping him return to the lineup in time for the playoffs.

“It was tough to go through,” Dumba said. “Those guys pushed me knowing I wanted to get back and help this team.”

Asked if he was at 100% for the opening-round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, Dumba sidestepped the question, replying, “I was going to play no matter what.” He actually returned to game action for the regular-season finale against the Colorado Avalanche.

“We wanted to give it a test run,” Dumba said. “I felt good enough to play.”

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That said, Dumba was conspicuously absent on the power play throughout the series between the Wild and the Blues. Was the absence due to him not being at full strength?

“I think it has a little bit to do with that,” Dumba said. “But we’ve got plenty of guys that can play on the power play.”

The Wild fell 4-2 in the series with the Blues, bowing out in the first round once again — and an ineffective power play was a big reason why. The most frustrating part for Dumba, beyond the fact that he wasn’t at 100 percent for the playoffs, was that he felt like the Wild let the fan base down.

“It was an atmosphere we’ve never seen here before,” Dumba said. “That’s why it’s so hard to be sitting here now with the season over.”

Dental work

Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek sported a toothless grin Monday while chatting with reporters. His need for dental work came as a result of defenseman Dmitry Kulikov accidentally whacking him in the face last week before the Wild were eliminated by the Blues.

“It’s hard,” said Eriksson Ek, who missed nearly 20 minutes of game time before returning with a full shield. ” You want to be out there.”

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Though his face looked a little better, if not a little swollen, on Monday, Eriksson Ek said he lost a few teeth in the incident and also punctured a hole in his lip. Originally, the training staff tried to glue Eriksson Ek’s teeth back into his mouth before deciding to pull them out completely.

Did it hurt?

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“You’re so fired up from the game, so not too bad,” Eriksson Ek said. “On the flight and the next day was pretty painful.”

Free agents

While it’s unclear if the Wild are going to re-sign star winger Kevin Fiala this offseason — he’s probably going to be too expensive — there’s a very good chance they bring back defenseman Jake Middleton if the price is right.

It’s clear that Middleton wants to be back next season.

“I’ve mentioned how much I enjoy it here and how seamless the fit was right away,” Middleton said. “I’m pretty bummed out that it’s ended now because I’m just getting to know these guys. I really enjoyed going to war with them every night. I’m really enjoying it here, and it would be nice to come back.”

It’s also a good bet that the Wild will kick the tires with veteran winger Nic Deslauriers. He clearly has interest in returning to Minnesota.

“We strongly love Minny and there’s hope I come back, for sure,” Deslauriers said. “It’s all about business now.”

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