Wild lose Nick Schultz for first playoff round
The Minnesota Wild will play the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs without defenceman Nick Schultz, who had an appendectomy on Monday evening.
"It was a normal procedure," said Wild general manager Doug Risebrough, who confirmed Schultz suffered a partially ruptured appendix.
Schultz, 25, is resting comfortably, but he won't recover in time to play in Minnesota's best-of-seven series against the Colorado Avalanche.
"We're not putting any timeframe on it," Risebrough said. "We will deal with it, in terms of how his recovery is."
Schultz was scratched from Sunday's regular-season finale, a 4-3 shootout loss to Colorado, because he felt ill, and was examined by a doctor because he wasn't well enough to skate in Monday's practice.
"It is a good-sized blow," Risebrough told the Star Tribune. "But we will just have to deal with it.
"He is a solid, solid player and a solid, consistent player. He did it the same every night … so that is the thing that will be most challenging to replace — that consistency."
Schultz posted two goals and 15 assists for 17 points with a plus-9 rating in 81 games this season, his sixth in the NHL.
The Strasbourg, Sask., native has totalled 19 goals and 77 points in 448 NHL games since he was drafted in the second round (33rd overall) by the Wild in 2000.
Schultz signed a six-year, $21-million US contract extension with Minnesota on Feb. 23.
With Schultz and Kurtis Foster (broken left leg) on the shelf, the Wild head into the post-season with just six healthy defencemen.
But Risebrough reportedly is reluctant to use bring up a player from the AHL's Houston Aeros because he is limited to four callups throughout the playoffs.
"We don't want to necessarily make that call until we know there is a need," he said.
With files from the Associated Press