Wild winger Marcus Foligno hoping injury bug is finally in his past
Though the production hasn’t been there to this point, he has a few weeks to get rolling before the playoffs.
NEWARK, N.J. — The most frustrating part for Marcus Foligno is he was finally back to feeling like himself. He was running hot for the Minnesota Wild earlier this month with a pair of goals and a pair of assists in the span of a week.
Not bad for a player who hadn’t been able to gain much traction to that point.
Unfortunately for Foligno, right when it looked like he was starting to rediscover his scoring touch from last season, the injury bug bit him once again. Midway through the March 12 loss to the Arizona Coyotes, Foligno fell awkwardly to the ice, then landed on an opposing player’s skate.
He suffered a contusion near his groin, and missed recent games against the St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals.
“It was a little freak incident,” Foligno said before the Wild played the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night at the Prudential Center. “A weird area to get clipped.”
After taking some time to let the contusion calm down, Foligno made his return to the lineup with coach Dean Evason penciling him in alongside Ryan Hartman and opposite Mats Zuccarello on the top line.
“Obviously, he’s a huge part of our hockey club,” Evason said while praising Foligno for all the little things he does. “It always takes a little bit of time and I’m sure he didn’t feel his timing and all that kind of stuff. But he’s worked extremely hard. We don’t anticipate him having any trouble slipping back into the lineup.”
It helped that Foligno didn’t feel the need to rush back. As the training staff nursed him back to 100%, his teammates held down the fort with a couple of wins.
“That goes to show about the depth that we brought in,” Foligno said in reference to the Wild adding Marcus Johansson, Oskar Sundqvist, and John Klingberg at the trade deadline. “When we bring in guys like that, I feel a little bit less pressure of rushing things.”
Maybe the most impressive thing about Foligno this season is the way he’s been able to keep a positive attitude despite so many setbacks.
“That’s why he’s a leader on our hockey club,” Evason said. “I know there’s been some stuff made maybe his production and all that kind of stuff. We love how he competes his butt off every single night. He can lead in that department when he gets here tonight.”
Though the production hasn’t been there to this point — Foligno made his return to the lineup with 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 53 games — he has a few weeks to get rolling before the playoffs.
“I feel confident to jump right back into how I was playing before the little setback,” Foligno said. “Just excited to be back with the guy and hopefully now with (a few weeks) left in the regular season I can roll and be healthy going into the playoffs. That’s the main thing.”
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