ST. PAUL, Minn. Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck has shed his crutches following the lethal hit he took in last week's game against the Edmonton Oilers, but he won't be ready to return to the lineup when Minnesota returns home against the Calgary Flames Tuesday night.
Clutterbuck was walking slowly without the aid of crutches Monday and said his thigh contusion was improving. Clutterbuck hasn't practiced since taking a knee to his thigh from Edmonton forward Taylor Hall in a dangerous play in Thursday's game. Hall was suspended two games for kneeing. Clutterbuck missed Saturday's game at Calgary and coach Mike Yeo said he won't play Tuesday against the Flames.
"He's doing better," Yeo said. "So, hopefully, just a calm day today. Obviously pretty scary, but encouraging that he's getting better quickly."
The Wild will face the Oilers in Minnesota on Sunday, March 3 and Hall's suspension will be over by then. Hall missed Saturday's game for Edmonton and will miss Monday's night's game at Chicago.
Clutterbuck's status still remains in doubt. But his progress could indicate he won't miss significant time. Clutterbuck said he didn't think Hall's hit was clean and the league agreed.
"I think it's a little reckless," Clutterbuck said, speaking after the team's skate Friday in Calgary. "I've been in that situation a lot of times personally, so I know that there's a fine line between milliseconds and split-seconds. Personally, I probably wouldn't put myself in that situation. But, you know, he made a decision, was probably a little frustrated with the way the game was going. He made a decision and here we are."
Called up to give the Wild another right-handed shot in the lineup because of Clutterbuck's absence, rookie forward Charlie Coyle scored his first NHL goal in Saturday's loss at Calgary. Coyle, 20, practiced Monday on the top line with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu.
Focus on the power play: With Minnesota's ongoing struggle to score goals -- an NHL-low 35 goals in 17 games -- Yeo said change could be coming to the personnel on the power-play units. Forwards Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mikael Granlund were working with the first unit during practice on Monday.
"We've made some adjustments to schemes, set-ups," Yeo said. "We've taken different approaches with the same personnel. So I think the next step is to try a change in personnel."
Minnesota is 27th in the league on the power play, converting just 13.8 percent of its chances. The Wild scored on five of their 24 chances with the man advantage through the season's first five games, but they are 3 of 34 in the last 12 games.
Yeo said Minnesota is getting the zone time, it's just not scoring. The Wild had one shot on goal in two power-plays on Saturday.
"There's certainly some power plays where we've lost momentum," Yeo said.
Short stay: Minnesota returns home for one game before embarking on another two-game road trip, this time to Phoenix and Anaheim.
The Wild are slated to travel the most miles in this condensed season. Veteran forward Matt Cullen said the travel hasn't been a burden.
"It's a little different to be coming in and out, but to be honest, it's been fine," Cullen said. "I haven't really noticed the schedule being extremely difficult as far as travel and things like that. It's been really good. We're well into it now and everybody's feeling good and feeling mid-season form. The travel hasn't been an issue."
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