Wild's Jason Zucker thankful for FaceTime with newborn at home
BOSTON — Like he has countless times throughout his career, Jason Zucker hurriedly packed his bags on Sunday night before saying his goodbyes and rushing out of the house.
"It was probably the most different departure (of my career)," Zucker said. "It was a little bit tougher. As soon as I got in the car it was weird."
It was weird because of what Zucker was leaving behind.
He and his wife, Carly, welcomed their son, Hendrix, into the world a week and a half ago, and the week-long East Coast road trip marked the first time he was forced to be apart from his family, which also features 7-year-old stepdaughter Sophia.
"I FaceTime'd them right away when I got in last night to see how they're doing," Zucker said with a big smile. "You know, obviously Carly is alone doing it now, so it's a little bit tougher for her too. I feel bad for her a little bit. She's been great, though, so I know they'll be fine."
Zucker said he is thankful for the technology that helps him stay connected with his family, but he already is excited about getting back home.
With newborn babies, so much changes from day to day, so a week from now, Zucker knows things could be a lot different.
"He might be on skates by that point," Zucker joked. "It should be different. It will be a lot of fun to see him."
Zucker said the last week and a half has been "awesome" for his family, even though it's been hectic at times, particularly at night.
"As far as sleeping arrangements, Carly and I have been doing a bit of a cycle," Zucker said. "I mean, she's handling most of it, and like I said, she's been amazing. I've been able to get some sleep on game nights and really be able to prepare the same way I always have."
That said, Zucker is scoreless in the four games since Hendrix was born.
"His greatest asset is his legs, and I think he's standing still too much," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "(We) give him a little bit of pass (since) he just had baby. He's probably up all night."
Perhaps the road trip will be a benefit form that standpoint.
"I'm sure he's taking in the rest here on the road and getting some sleep," winger Chris Stewart joked. "Maybe he'll have a little extra hop in his step."
Wild winger Charlie Coyle grew up about 30 minutes south of Boston and always looks forward to the one-game homecoming the trip to Beantown offers.
Coyle, however, was robbed of his homecoming this time around. He is not with the team on this road trip as he continues to recover from a broken right fibula.
Was it weird not having Coyle around?
"A little bit," Zucker said. "Usually he's got about 75 people here. It was definitely a less crowded morning skate."
Ice, ice baby
No one with the Wild seemed pleased with the choppy ice conditions at TD Garden following Monday's morning skate.
"It was really bad," Boudreau said.
Maybe it was Janet Jackson's fault; she wrapped up a concert about 12 hours earlier.
"You'd have to ask the Boston people," Boudreau said. "It wasn't very good this morning. ... It might be better by this evening. Who knows?"
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