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.
No hockey player enjoys it, but it’s something most have to do at some point in their career: participate in a morning skate even though they’re a healthy scratch for the night’s contest.
That was the case for Minnesota Wild defenseman Nate Prosser as he walked into Xcel Energy Center this morning. Skate hard, be a good teammate and prepare like he was going to play, even though he wasn’t going to be in the lineup.
However, things quickly changed as soon as he arrived in the team’s locker room. Prosser saw that two defensemen who were expected to play, Christian Folin and Keith Ballard, were both sick. Prosser would be in penciled into the Wild lineup as the team hosts the Arizona Coyotes.
"I walked in and saw a couple guys were sick; I didn’t know if they’d be playing. I was preparing like I would every day,” Prosser said. “My number’s called, so I’ve got to play my A-game.”
When the Lighthouse saw the photo tweet of Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker posing as Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in Step Brothers from @mnwild last night, we got more excited than Dale during Shark Week.
The BFFs were posing in a photo shoot for the December issue of Wild Magazine, modeling official team gear found at the Hockey Lodge. They both reached for the same sweatshirt and decided to reproduce the iconic shot from the comedy.
When the Lighthouse was in college, we were on St. Cloud State’s hockey broadcast, Husky Productions, as a color commentator. On television, the broadcasts are filled with little tidbits of info to help fill the broadcast and give the viewer a better understanding of some of the storylines going on between the teams. These factoids come across as what’s called in the business a lower third, a graphic that fills, you guessed it, the bottom third of the screen.
Well, on a broadcast we had a producer who was running the show for the first time and he wrote a lower-third graphic that read: High Score Wins. Which is an accurate assessment, but also fairly obvious fact for even a first-time viewer. My broadcast partner, Rob Hudson, read the script on air and said something like, “High score wins…Well, duh.” Then we started to laugh. And laugh. And laugh. And laugh some more. Hudson, the consummate pro, hit the mute button, so that the audience couldn’t hear him chuckling hysterically. The Lighthouse, on the other hand, giggled like a schoolgirl into the hot mic; we keeled over from laughing so hard. Then Hudson took his finger off mute and started to laugh and began to mock the graphic, because, well, duh, to win the game a team needs to outscore the opponent. We basically forgot there was a hockey game going on below us, as this went on for a good three minutes of the live broadcast.
There are two morals to this story: First, have someone look over your work if it’s your first time doing something. Second, in hockey the high score always wins.
Hollywood loves a comeback story, so it’s only fitting that Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom will make his season debut in Tinsel Town against the defending Stanley Cup champion, Los Angeles Kings.
Last season’s script played out like a twisted drama for the 36-year-old, as he battled through injury appearing in only 21 games, by far his lowest total since coming into the League in 2006. The goaltender made his final appearance on Jan. 30 against the Colorado Avalanche, and was shut down for the season after undergoing corrective core muscle surgery in February.
The “Happiest Place on Earth” is right down the highway, but the Minnesota Wild (and Lighthouse) couldn’t be giddier about getting back into game action–five days after its last outing, a 3-0 road win against the Colorado Avalanche. Tonight, the Wild skates in the land of Mickey and Minnie, as the club faces the Anaheim Ducks.
For the Wild, it will be important to get off to a good start after the layoff and back up to game speed.
“Making sure that our battle level, our intensity and our pace of play is ready to go from the drop of the puck,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “When you’re playing the games and you’re in the swing of it you’re already at that speed.”
After a day of team building in the warm California sun, the Minnesota Wild reconvened in Orange Country at the Anaheim Ducks’ practice facility before taking on reigning Pacific Division champs tomorrow night.
Yesterday, the club was in Newport Beach for a team off-ice work out followed by a bonding golf excursion. Anyone who’s ever played 18 knows its one of the best way to create a rapport with your buds. The Lighthouse’s invite must’ve gotten lost in the mail (or didn’t want us hacking up the nice fairways and greens), but it was a good way for the team to refocus with so many days off between games.
“We knew that we wouldn’t be able to practice hard for four days,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “The idea was that we’d take a step back yesterday and let the players spend some time together and have some fun.
“Mentally, back off a little and we had a good hard practice today.”
The leaves are changing, the temperatures are dropping and hockey has started in Minnesota. Fall is officially here.
This year, there’s a special addition to the State Of Hockey — the Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze in Brooklyn Park features the Wild’s logo in the state’s largest corn maze!
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.