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Wild rookie Nick Seeler earns day off after Sunday's old-school hockey fight

Minnesota Wild defenseman Nick Seeler (36) and Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Witkowski (28) fight in the second period at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on March 4, 2018. Brad Rempel / USA TODAY Sports

ST. PAUL — After a back alley brawl on Sunday night that might go down as the best fight in the NHL this season, Wild rookie Nick Seeler was given a well-deserved day off on Monday, March 5.

"He's just sore all over, I think," coach Bruce Boudreau explained, describing the scuffle as something straight out of the 1970s.

Asked if the rookie might be able to play Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at Xcel Energy Center, Boudreau said, "I'm hoping. We were saying he was sore so today he should take the day off."

Seeler dropped the gloves with Detroit Red Wings enforcer Luke Witkowski in the second period Sunday night after what he felt was a dangerous knee-to-knee hit on Zach Parise.

Seeler confronted Witkowski, the two exchanged words and it was on. There was no jostling for position in this bout, just haymaker after haymaker for a good 15 seconds before both players ran out of gas.

"You don't really see those very often, and it happened to be that kind of fight," Seeler said. "You don't really know what to expect going in to it. That was kind of the outcome. I'm glad we're both all right after."

That was some classic Minnesota Nice from the Eden Prairie native who won't avoid dropping the gloves.

"It's just a part of my game," Seeler said. "I pride myself on being tough in the corners and in front of the net and chipping in on the physicality part whenever that presents itself. And last night it presented itself."

That fight awakened the Wild, who popped in two goals shortly after that en route to a much-needed 4-1 win to get back to third place in the Western Conference Central Division.

"You don't necessarily know if it's going pay off like that," Seeler said. "It was nice to have that momentum change a little bit and get those two quick goals after and it was fun to see that."

As for how Seeler's face is feeling a day later?

"A little sore," Seeler said with a smile. "Not bad."

Rest as a weapon

With an optional practice on Monday morning, a few players decided not to skate, including veterans Eric Staal, Matt Cullen and Daniel Winnik.

"Sometimes what people don't realize is, yeah, we're playing a lot of games (and) we're also going to the West Coast and back and the travel is a thing where we get home at the 3 a.m., so the next day is sort of a waste a lot of time," Boudreau said. "I use the phrase 'rest is a weapon,' and nowadays in March if we're not in shape or game ready. then we're in bigger trouble than we think."

"We need these guys, especially with our over-30 crowd, we need them rested," the coach added. "Because they're the guys that usually play the most anyways."