Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov out against Caps, possibly longer after “predatorial hit”

Kirill Kaprizov
Jan 6, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov (97) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals, coach Dean Evason announced on Friday.

Kaprizov sustained an upper-body injury after being hit along the boards by Boston’s Trent Frederic midway into the second period of the Wild’s 3-2 victory over the Bruins on Thursday. Frederic was assessed a minor penalty for boarding and a fighting major against Minnesota defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.

Evason calls it a predatorial hit

After the game, Evason was fuming and unloaded on the Frederic for the hit.

“Really frustrated with how Kirill got hurt,” Evason said. “I mean, it’s a predatorial hit… You know what he’s doing. He’s going to hurt our best player…That is not a hockey play. The puck’s sitting right there. All he has to do is take the puck and go. And in a vulnerable position, you hit a player from behind.”

Kaprizov’s linemate and friend Mats Zuccarello held his tongue afterwards.

“I’m not going to comment on that. Whoever sees it sees it,” Zuccarello said of the hit. “As a hockey fan, I would like to have Kirill out there when I’m sitting front row watching him.”

“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.”

Kaprizov out for Caps game

The Wild will host Washington on Saturday before returning to action against the visiting Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 14.

“He’s seeing the docs, getting looked at here today,” Evason said Friday of Kaprizov. “… Just that (he’s) definitely out (Saturday) and we hope for the best-case scenario or the best positivity that we play (Saturday) and then we’ve got some time off to not only heal him up but other people as well.”

Signed to a five-year, $45 million contract in September, Kaprizov has recorded team-best totals in assists (26) and points (40) in 32 games this season. His 14 goals are one shy of the club lead (Ryan Hartman).

Kaprizov, 24, won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie last season when he had 27 goals and 51 points in 55 games. The forward received 99 of 100 first-place votes.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report