For the first time in what seems like forever, the Wild didn’t play a home game on Black Friday. However, your favorite team is back at Xcel Energy Center on a busy Saturday in downtown Saint Paul to host the St. Louis Blues at 7 p.m.
We’re encouraging you to come downtown early and enjoy all that Saturday has to offer, including the tree lighting at Rice Park powered by Xcel Energy (4-6 p.m.) and Wells Fargo Winterskate. The event includes fireworks at 5:30 p.m. Open skating is set from 6:30-10 p.m.
The Hmong New Year celebration also continues on Saturday at RiverCentre.
Plan ahead with Parking Panda to avoid parking issues when you arrive to downtown Saint Paul.
Congratulations are in order as the Minnesota Wild won the Tier III division of the USA Hockey Sled Classic last weekend at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va.
The Wild defeated the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 in the championship game. The field included 16 teams, each affiliated with an NHL club. Each sled hockey team represented its affiliated NHL club by wearing official NHL licensed jerseys with local club marks and logos.
Aaron Holm led the Wild and ranked second in the Tier III division with 13 points (5-8=13) in four games.
3:40 a.m. - About six hours after last night’s 3-2 win in Philadelphia wrapped up, the alarm goes off. Three-hours-before-dawn wake-up calls are not normally my thing, but when it’s been below freezing for two weeks and you’re headed to Tampa Bay, you hop right out of bed. Ok, not hop but you don’t groan too bad either.
I’m joining up with the Wild Fan Trip to bring you great photos and insights of these yearly ventures to a couple of road cities. The Wild partners with AAA Minneapolis on these trips - this one has almost 100 fans who’ve fled the Polar Vortex.
5:20 a.m. - 16 minutes from parking to gate (thanks MSP Terminal 2), andI decide to check out the brand-new, open-for-a-week Wild Restaurant inside the security checkpoint at Terminal 2. I suggest you do the same next time you’re there.
The Wild was back on the ice today after a day off, skating at Xcel Energy Center before flying to Philadelphia to start a three-game road trip. The start time is officially 6 p.m. central Thursday, but puck drop will be just after 6:50 due to some pre-game festivities. FSN pre-game starts at 6, KFAN pre-game is on at 6:30.
The big news at practice was actually “leaked’ by Head Coach Mike Yeo to Paul Allen on KFAN this morning. Charlie
"Looking back at last year we lost Mikko, at a critical point, we got Charlie going in the middle,” Yeo told reporters after practice. “His speed and skill and size was a real factor in keeping our head above water in a tough time."
The Wild activated Josh Harding from Injured Reserve and placed him on waivers. If he clears at 11 a.m. tomorrow, he will be assigned to Iowa.
Chuck Fletcher spoke to Wild.com from Toronto, where he will attend tonight’s Hockey Hall of Fame ceremony.
“The reality is Josh hasn’t played a game since Dec. 31 of last season,” Fletcher said. “He missed training camp and the first month and a half of season. The most important thing for our organization, and Josh, is to give him the opportunity to regain the form of last season when he played so well for us.”
Mike Yeo just wrapped up his media availability prior to tonight’s game against the Bruins.
The Wild has recalled Stu Bickel and Justin Falk, the latter of whom is expected to play. Jonas Brodin is “sore in a couple different areas,” Yeo said, likening last night’s hit from Chris Kreider to a car crash. Yeo said it’s a measure of precaution, and added what a tough player Brodin is.
Erik Haula will not play tonight. He has not been diagnosed with a concussion, but it’s the team’s call to hold him out for precautionary measures. Yeo said the team has to “protect the player,” and didn’t want to put him in a position to get hurt again, and miss more time.
The Wild leaves the familiarity of the Western Conference for the first time tonight, beginning a back-to-back in New York against the Rangers.
Minnesota had Sunday off, save for the team flight, so today’s morning skate was focused on execution and staying sharp. With all the talk about the Wild practicing more than playing, the team will wind up going five days (Saturday-Wednesday) with nothing more than a morning skate.
Most NHL teams look at their schedule late in the preseason or early in the regular season and try to plan a “team bonding” trip. It didn’t take more than a cursory glance to see a five-day break between games for the Wild this week as the perfect opportunity.
So the Wild departed for Southern California after practice today for a couple days of team bonding before playing in Anaheim on Friday night.
After enjoying a well-deserved Sunday away from the rink, the Wild went back to work Monday at Xcel Energy Center. With no games until Friday, the coaching staff focused on a lot of individual skill work with the players, leading to an extremely spirited 3-on-3 game on a half sheet of ice.
“There was a lot of hidden work,” Mike Yeo said. “They’re having fun, so they don’t realize how hard they’re working.”
It might seem easy to get distracted without a game until Friday, but that didn’t seem to be the case.
Two games against Colorado — two shutouts of various degrees of difficulties. They combined to give Darcy Kuemper this week’s NHL No. 2 star designation.