Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot was honest with himself after practice Friday afternoon. He knew deep down he isn’t 100 percent just yet.
So he won’t suit up for Saturday’s night game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. Not even as a backup.
“If a goalie goes in and starts and he’s not ready, it can be detrimental to the team,” said Talbot, who recently was removed from the COVID list and arrived in Southern California via private jet Thursday night. “I don’t want to rush anything. I want to make sure when I come back I’m 100 percent and ready to help the team win. Until that happens, I’m not going to put a timeline on it.”
While it’s unclear when Talbot will be back in the lineup, he was thrilled just to be back at practice. He spent 10 days alone in a hotel room after testing positive for COVID, and considers himself lucky that he was asymptomatic the entire time.
“I didn’t really feel anything,” Talbot said. “Just frustrating that I had to sit around for so long and wasn’t able to do anything. You can’t get your heart rate up or anything like that.”
That’s the biggest reason Talbot isn’t ready to play just yet. He hasn’t played a game in more than two weeks, and feels rusty between the pipes.
“The biggest thing for me right now is my tracking,” Talbot said. “You’d be surprised how quickly you lose your tracking as a goaltender, not being on the ice for over two weeks. Just the timing and stuff like that coming back is a big thing for me.”
“Then the conditioning of it,” he added. “I’ve been laying around for 10 days not able to do anything or even get my heart rate up. You lose conditioning pretty quick. It’s about pushing myself in practice every day, (and) as soon as all those things are ready to go and I feel comfortable, that’s when we’ll set the timeline.”
It’s been a frustrating season for Talbot. In his first season with the Wild, he suffered a lower-body injury last month that kept him out for nearly two weeks. Then after recovering from that he missed another two weeks after testing positive for COVID. He has played in just six games this season; he is 3-2-0 for the 7-6-0 Wild.
“It’s a little bit of adversity,” Talbot said. “You just have to battle through it. I’m just going to continue to work hard, push through, work my butt off on the ice and in the gym, and try to be back as quick as possible. It’s the best I can do right now. It’s extremely frustrating to not get any traction so far. Hopefully this is the last instance I have to deal with this this season.”
Jonas Brodin, Brad Hunt, Victor Rask and Carson Soucy also arrived in Southern California via private jet on Thursday night. They could be back in the lineup for Saturday’s game. Andrew Hammond is now the only the lone Wild player still on the COVID list.