Two Wild players had exciting summers, albeit for very different reasons. Both experienced life-changing events, which also signified where they are in their respective lifetimes.
“It was a fun time for myself and my family and friends,” Koivu said. “There was a lot of planning…the first half of the summer was a little busier.”
Koivu said that there are a few differences in a Finnish wedding, but things are pretty much the same as here: church and reception afterwards. After the wedding bliss, it was back to work.
“After (the wedding) it was the usual,” Koivu said.
The usual consists of the typical hockey player’s offseason regiment of working out, conditioning and on-ice skill work. Of course, Koivu’s home life this offseason was a little different, he and his wife, Helena, had a baby girl last year during season. With his new family in tow, he’s ready to start Wild training camp and the 2014-15 regular season.
“The last week or two, it’s a lot of waiting, and mentally you’d like to get there already,” Koivu said. “We’re excited and can’t wait to get it going.”
For Niederreiter, he exchanged wedding photos for another kind of glamour shot, as the cover boy on the Swiss release of NHL 15.
“It was a great honor,” Niederreiter said. “Mark Streit was on the cover and then Roman Josi and now I’m fortunate enough to be on the cover.
“It’s a cool thing.”
Niederreiter said he’s played the game a few times, but he’s not a video-game fanatic. He prefers to spend his time outdoors, and coming from the Swiss Alps (yes, the Lighthouse has seen The Sound of Music), who can blame him?
Clearly, the video game cover was a thrill for him, but the bigger event came with re-signing with Minnesota. On Sept. 11, the Wild and Niederreiter came to terms on a three-year contract.
“It was a long summer with a lot of thinking and going back and forth, but at the end of the day I’m very happy the deal got done and I’m happy to be here,” Niederreiter said.
After showing significant signs of potential during the regular season and a breakout playoff performance, including the series-clinching goal in Game 7 in the first round against the Colorado Avalanche, Niederreiter wants to build on his first year in the State of Hockey.
“I’m still very young and I still have to learn a lot about League and about the team,” Niederreiter said. “So I’m (going into camp) to make a new impression and play my best hockey.
“I feel like every year, the longer you play in the League, the more you have to improve yourself. This year is very important for me. I feel like I had a good season last year, but this year I want to make it a great season.”
After a couple of weeks skating at Braemar Arena, the Minnesota Wild clicked the heels of its ruby slippers and returned home to Xcel Energy Center today for an informal captains’ practice.
With Wild Training Camp, presented by Andersen Windows, opening on Friday, the club skated in a split session today. After a first half of flow drills and in-zone two-on-two and three-on-three play, the Zamboni cleared the ice for a dominating performance from a familiar line.
Wearing green, the trio of Zach Parise, Jason Pominville and Mikael Granlund looked like it hadn’t taken any time off, scoring several goals on pretty plays during the scrimmage. Sure, there was limited contact and guys are still shaking the summer rust off, but it was a joy to watch the three working together.
The Lighthouse saw four goals from the line (we might’ve been texting and missed one) all coming from transition and rushes.
Pominville was on the receiving end of a Parise entry pass, and redirected the puck on grey goaltender, John Curry. The netminder made the initial save, but Pominville stopped in front of the net, pulled the puck out of Curry’s pads and popped a backhander in.
A few minutes later, Granlund skated the puck deep into grey’s zone and whipped a no-look pass to Pominville in the high slot. The wing coasted between the hash marks and moved the puck to Parise on the backdoor. Money.
Pominville picked up his second of the scrimmage, one-timing home a pass from Parise, who was stationed behind the net.
The line closed out the game, this time Granlund finishing the play. Initially, Granlund set up Parise for an open one-timer, but Curry made a diving glove save sliding right to left. The wing stayed with the action, passing to Pominville who found Granlund open for a chip shot over Curry.
“They couldn’t contain us today out there, I guess,” Parise laughed. “We found ourselves in a couple of mismatches today against Haula’s line.
“It was pretty easy actually.”
Of course, Haula had the misfortune of walking by when the Lighthouse was talking to the Wild assistant captain, so he was the target of the ribbing. Wild fans hope that the ribbing will proceed through Training Camp and into Opening Night against the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 9.
View a photo gallery of today's practice, here.
Following his first season with the Minnesota Wild, forward Nino Niederreiter will grace the cover of the Swiss version of EA SPORTS NHL 15.
Niederreiter has had plenty of fan fair in his native country, especially after representing Switzerland at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He is also the highest-drafted Swiss-born player ever, selected fifth overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Of course, fans in the State of Hockey will always remember him for last year’s series-clinching Game 7 overtime goal in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Colorado Avalanche.
On the first day of the Minnesota Wild’s informal captain’s practice, 21 players were on the ice at Braemar Arena.
Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo lives the game of hockey. However, when the bench boss is away from the rink, his favorite pastime is fishing. On Tuesday, Sept. 9, he will trade in his coaching hat for an anglers cap, as he hosts the inaugural Mike Yeo Classic, a fishing tournament which will raise money for the Miracles of Mitch Foundation and Angel Foundation. The event is in partnership with Gander Mountain and is a springboard for a larger event in 2015.
Six boats will launch on Lake Minnetonka in the morning and conclude with a weigh-in in the afternoon. Wild players Erik Haula, Keith Ballard, Kyle Brodziak, Matt Cooke and Justin Fontaine are set to participate in the tourney.
Wild goaltender Josh Harding’s battle with Multiple Sclerosis has been an inspiration for those afflicted with the disease and the hockey world. In 2013, his perseverance was recognized, as he won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his dedication to hockey.
Today, Upper Deck announced that Harding will be honored with a “Heroic Inspirations” collectable trading card.
The Minnesota State Fair is a blur of deep-fried goodness, live events, mixed with a carnival atmosphere, providing a glimpse at all things that make the Land of 10,000 Lakes a unique place to call home.
Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo got a first-hand look at the Great Minnesota Get-together, making five stops at media booths, including KFAN 100.3 FM, 1500 ESPN, the Star Tribune, Cities 97 and 105.1 FM The Ticket. One might’ve grown dizzy following him around all day, but our social media team shined it on (enjoying idyllic Fair weather while the Lighthouse was stuck in the office all day) and posted an Instagram vid of the bench boss making multiple stops:
Of course it wasn’t all business for the club’s bench boss, as he planned on partaking in another State Fair tradition: over-eating.
Forward Justin Fontaine was at the Fair, signing autographs at the Wild booth. No word on what or how much food Fontaine consumed.
Nordy Wild made an appearance at the Fair’s parade, his golden mullet resembling a deep-fried Twinkie. Fortunately for Nordy, no hungry State Fair goers attempted to drizzle chocolate sauce on him.
Four Minnesotans have been selected for the 2014 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game. Defenseman Jack McNeely (Lakeville), and forwards Alec Baer (St. Louis Park), Paul Bittner (Crookston) and Brock Boeser (Burnsville) were selected to play in the third-annual contest.
The prospects game is set of Sept. 25 at First Niagara Center, home of the Buffalo Sabres. In all, 42 prospects have been tapped to play in the game and all are eligible for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Twenty-three players appeared on the 2014-15 NHL Central Scouting Futures List, comprised of players who could potentially be selected in the first three rounds of the draft.
For the complete USA Hockey release, go here.
The Minnesota State Fair is in full swing and the Wild fans will have a chance to get-together with a couple of their favorite players.
Wild forwards Justin Fontaine and Erik Haula will appear at the Minnesota State Fair at the Wild booth, in the Fan Central Building at the corner of Dan Patch and Underwood, to sign autographs. Fontaine will appear from 3 - 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Haula will sign autographs from 3 - 4 p.m. on Friday.
While at the team’s booth, fans can inquire about the Wild State Fair 5-Game Pack and pick up new Wild gear.
Fans can listen to Wild GM Chuck Fletcher and Head Coach Mike Yeo, as they make media stops at the Fair. Yeo will be there tomorrow to talk hockey at the KFAN 100.3 FM booth at 11:30 a.m., the 1500 ESPN booth at noon, the Star Tribune booth at 1:30 p.m., the Cities 97 booth at 2 p.m., and the 105.1 FM The Ticket at 4:45 p.m. Fletcher will be make stops on Friday with KFAN 100.3 at 11:30 a.m. and the 1500 ESPN booth at noon.
Our home city of Saint Paul was recently crowned the “Most Romantic Getaway” in North America by USA Today 10Best, and the Wild will help the city prove its point in the “Chance for Romance” contest.
Singles from around the country will have the chance to be paired by celebrity matchmaker Kailen Rosenberg. Contestants nationwide will be submitting their 2 minute videos between now and this Friday. Kailen Rosenberg will be doing interviews and pairing 10 couples from 20 states during the month of September. The 10 couples will be announced October . The winning couple will be chosen by popular vote from October 1st through October 15 through USA TODAY 10Best. The couple will fly to Minnesota for their whirlwind romantic first date in St. Paul October 30 - November 2.
One couple from Minnesota, and one from across the U.S., will be selected to have a weekend in Saint Paul, including Wild suite tickets, and a stay at the Saint Paul Hotel.
Single folks can sign up for the contest here.