It's been a season of milestones for Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu, and on Sunday against the Florida Panthers, Koivu's name will again jump to the top of the Wild's record books.
Koivu enters Sunday tied with Nick Schultz atop Minnesota's all-time games played list. A mainstay in the Wild's lineup, Koivu is in his 11th season in the State of Hockey, will become Minnesota's true iron man during the Wild's Sunday matinee.
Earlier this season, the Wild honored Schultz — now a member of the Philadelphia Flyers — for approaching his 1,000th career game. Schultz accomplished the milestone two games after his return to Saint Paul in January.
EDINA -- The Minnesota Wild returned to the State of Hockey with a full complement of skaters at practice on Saturday at Braemar Arena.
The State of Hockey is definitely represented in the City of Brotherly Love.
Megan Shay is from Mahtomedi, Minn., but now lives in Philadelphia after attending Villanova, and is currently nearing a Masters of Physician Assistant degree from University of Sciences.
Minnesota Wild interim Head Coach John Torchetti thought his team was ready for the New York Islanders on Tuesday night in Saint Paul, a 4-1 loss and the first defeat he has tasted since taking over behind the bench on Feb. 15. But Torchetti has been a hockey coach far too long to let one game get to him.
“You know, we didn’t get what we wanted,” Torchetti said. “We went over it. We did our film yesterday before practice, discussed it, move on and bring some energy tonight, and we’ve got to play a good road game.”
This weekend, Red Bull will host one of its Crashed Ice, downhill ice cross, races minutes away from where the Minnesota Wild plays its home games.
But someone who calls the Wild home will also be a part of the Red Bull event.
Sadie Lundquist, who serves as a fan relations account executive, also moonlights in the Red Bull races, and has been doing so for two years. With four events annually, she's traveled to Quebec, Germany, and competed in Saint Paul before, close to where the Duluth-native originally called home.
Zucker, who left the Wild's game on Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period after a check by Chicago defenseman Michal Rozsival, was placed on Injured Reserve with a concussion on Wednesday. Rozsival was assessed a five-minute interference major and match penalty. Zucker did not play in the Wild's 4-1 loss against the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
With 22 games separating the Minnesota Wild from the NHL calendar's finish line, the Wild is hoping to smooth an inroads that will extend past the yellow tape that signals an end of the season for 14 of the league's 30 teams.
The Wild starting pacing its way toward a longer season when interim Head Coach John Torchetti took over last Monday. Minnesota reeled off four straight victories, a season high, but then suffered its first bit of adversity under its new bench boss with a 4-1 loss against the New York Islanders on Monday.
"It's a bump in the road," Torchetti said. "I'll tell them what I feel we have to do better next game."
Minnesota Wild interim Head Coach John Torchetti said it feels like he's been on the road for nine days.
It's not technically true by the lay of the NHL schedule, but in some respects, Torchetti is dead-on.
"To me, I'm excited to be here," Torchetti said. "And it's indoors." His official home debut was on Sunday, when the Wild defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Torchetti's Saint Paul debut, in front of a modest crowd that figures to be around 18,000, compared to the 50,000-plus on Sunday, is on Tuesday night against the New York Islanders.
Forward Jason Zucker will be out on Tuesday when the Minnesota Wild goes for its fifth-straight win, and hosts the New York Islanders.
Zucker was checked by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival during the second period of the Wild's 6-1 victory against Chicago on Sunday. Rozsival was assessed a five-minute major and match penalties, and Zucker did not return to the game with an upper-body injury.
"He's actually going to be meeting with the doctors today, so we're actually maybe going to have something tomorrow on that moving forward," interim Head Coach John Torchetti said.
Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula was named the Second Star by the NHL for the week of February 15.
Haula, whose game has taken off since New Year's Eve, had a big week that culminated with his first career three-point game on the campus of his alma mater.
In the Wild's four games last week, Haula recorded two goals and five assists. He had a two-assist game against the Vancouver Canucks that helped the Wild snap an eight-game losing streak, and followed that up with a goal and an assist two nights later against the Calgary Flames.