ST. PAUL -- Whenever hard-nosed winger Marcus Foligno speaks up, everyone in the Wild locker room listens.
While he doesn’t don a letter like captain Mikko Koivu and alternate captains Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, when push comes to shove, Foligno is as much of a leader as anyone on the team.
He has become the team’s spokesperson after tough losses, unafraid to call out his teammates, and he goes out and backs up his words on the ice.
Need proof? Look at last week, for example, when Foligno didn’t think twice about challenging Vancouver Canucks big man Zack MacEwen to a fight.
With the Wild in control during Thursday’s game against the Canucks, the result pretty much decided, Foligno took exception to MacEwen skating up to goaltender Alex Stalock after the whistle.
What ensued was a heavyweight bout for the ages, with Foligno landing a handful of haymakers.
“I just don’t like that stuff when guys put their belly button right in Al’s face,” Foligno said. “I just thought I’d get him out of there, and then he just asked (to fight). He’s a big boy. It was a good fight. It was fun.”
That willingness to stand up for teammates is how Foligno endeared himself to the Wild locker room early in his tenure. He wasn’t totally comfortable speaking up after arriving in the Twin Cities via a trade from the Buffalo Sabres. So more often than not, he let his fists do the talking.
That has changed this season, and coach Bruce Boudreau has been ecstatic with the way Foligno has leaned into his new role.
“He’s been a great leader,” Boudreau said. “I think the way he works, and the fact he’s such a good team player, people respect what he says.”
Dubnyk goes again
After a stellar start in Friday’s unlikely win over the Dallas Stars, goaltender Devan Dubnyk got his second straight start Sunday against the Colorado Avalanche.
It was a reward of sorts for Dubnyk, who surprised some people a couple of nights ago, and deserved a chance to keep things rolling.
“We’d like to see Duby be able to put a couple of games together,” Dubnyk said. “Maybe get on a roll for the last 25 games.”
Zucker stays low
For the third straight game, speedy winger Jason Zucker was on the fourth line, alongside veteran center Mikko Koivu, and opposite gritty winger Ryan Hartman.
While it’s clear Zucker isn’t pleased with the demotion, he tried his best to say the right things before Sunday’s game, albeit through gritted teeth.
It’ll be interesting to see how Zucker handles the situation moving forward, especially considering he has been tied to trade rumors for much of this season.
Carson Soucy returned from an illness for Sunday’s game and reassumed his spot on the blue line alongside Greg Pateryn.