Thursday, May 26, 2022

After a month-long hiatus, Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek is finally ready to return.

Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek joked that he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry last week.

After missing some time with an upper body injury, Eriksson Ek trained with the Wild last week and was ready for last Friday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. Or so he thought.

Unfortunately for Eriksson Ek, the 24-year-old from Sweden went into COVID protocol before training last Thursday, further delaying his return to the squad.

“It was hard,” he said. “However, it has given me a few extra days to recover and (I) will definitely be ready to go.”

If all goes according to plan, and there’s no reason to think otherwise, Eriksson Ek will play Friday’s game against the Blackhawks in Chicago. It will be his first appearance since his injury against the Dallas Stars on December 20.

“Fortunately for me, they weren’t out too often,” Eriksson Ek said. “It’s not fun to train alone and try to come back to recover. But I didn’t miss a lot of games and that probably helped me not get too angry or too angry about the time I spent.”

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Although he has been out for the past month, due to the unstable schedule caused by the COVID outbreaks in the NHL, Eriksson Ek has only missed five games. While Eriksson Ek was lucky, it also means that Wild will have to sprint to the finish line.

“It’s going to be almost like last season, right?” Ericsson Ek spoke about the compressed schedule. “This is what we want to do. We want to play games. We are definitely ready for it.”

It will not be difficult for Eriksson Ek to return to the squad, playing between wingers Jordan Greenway and Marcus Foligno. This trio works so well together and seems to bring out the best in each other.

“We know what to expect from each other,” Eriksson Ek said. “It’s important for me to turn back time, get into the rhythm of the game and try to do it as quickly as possible.”

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Asked if he had any doubts about returning to the squad, Eriksson Ek dismissed the question, saying he should play the way it has made him effective throughout his six-year career.

“I have to allow myself to do this to feel comfortable because I am doing the right thing,” he said. “If I skate thinking, I’ll probably just get mad at myself. I have to be comfortable getting on the field and playing the way I want to.”

SHORT

With so many games delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreaks, the Wild have found out which makeup games they should be playing next month. There will be home games against the Carolina Hurricanes (Feb. 12), Detroit Red Wings (Feb. 14), and Florida Panthers (Feb. 18), and road games against the Winnipeg Jets (Feb. 8 and 16), Edmonton Oilers (February 20) and Ottawa Senators (February 22).

Nation World News Desk
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