Kaprizov placed on IR by Wild with upper-body injury

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Kirill Kaprizov was placed on injured reserve Saturday by the Minnesota Wild after he sustained an upper-body injury in a 3-2 win against the Boston Bruins on Thursday.

The forward was injured when he was hit along the left boards by Boston forward Trent Frederic at 10:09 of the second period after getting his skates caught up with Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. Kaprizov skated slowly to the bench before being helped down the tunnel to the locker room.

Kaprizov and forward Joel Eriksson Ek (upper body), also placed on injured reserve, missed a 3-2 shootout win against the Washington Capitals on Saturday. Each is eligible to return for Minnesota’s next game, Jan. 14 against the Anaheim Ducks.

“It’s so hard to give a time frame, right? We’re going to see,” Wild coach Dean Evason said of Kaprizov before the Capitals game. “Again, he’s not in tonight. Again, very disappointed. … We’re going to move forward. He’s not in tonight. We’re hoping whenever we play next, we’re hoping he’s in but I don’t know.”

Kaprizov leads the Wild with 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 32 games this season.

“You’ve got a guy as gritty and determined as he is, if he can’t play, then no, we’re not optimistic at all,” Evason said Friday. “Like I said, the nice thing is we’ve got a week to heal up. Hopefully it’s not serious and he can — it’s serious enough that he’s not going to play tomorrow — but hopefully it’s not more serious than that that he misses more time than that.

“I’d like to reiterate, we certainly didn’t like the hit. Thought it was an unnecessary hit on a vulnerable player.”

Frederic was assessed a minor penalty at 10:12 for boarding on the play and a fighting major against Wild defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.

“I hope [Kaprizov] is all right,” Frederic said. “Obviously, I didn’t mean to hurt him. I was just going to make a hockey play and finish a check. I haven’t seen it. I think he kind of fell as I was doing it, so it’s hard to pull off it.”

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said, “I didn’t see it live. … It looks like [Kaprizov] turned away from [Grzelcyk] in a 1-on-1 situation, and Frederic was tracking back into the zone. I don’t know if Kaprizov stumbled or ducked from the hit. I don’t know the player well enough, but Frederic sort of leaned into him. I don’t think there’s any malicious intent other than separating him from the puck, which you better do, or he’ll hurt you. You just have to do it in a legal matter.

“It looked clean from my point. They didn’t see it that way. Obviously, Minnesota is going to react. It’s one of their best players, so I get that. We’d do the same. [I] didn’t think there was anything malicious in the hit, personally.”

The Wild are also without goalie Cam Talbot (lower body), defenseman Jared Spurgeon (lower body) and Alex Goligoski (NHL COVID-19 protocol), and forwards Nick Bjugstad (upper body) and Jordan Greenway  (COVID-19 protocol). Forward Brandon Duhaime was removed from protocol Saturday but did not play against the Capitals.

“The whole League’s gone through it,” Evason said. “… The world has gone through different stuff, so we are all trying to make the best of it. Our group has done a tremendous job of not letting those distractions affect as a group. We go out, we play hard, we play right, hopefully that’s enough to give us an opportunity to have success. It did last night. We’re looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.”

NHL.com independent correspondents Patrick Donnelly and Jessi Pierce contributed to this report

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