LOS ANGELES -- During a stoppage in the first period at Staples Center, referee Shane Heyer held up the faceoff as the Kings aired a long tribute video for forward Jarret Stoll, punctuated by a standing ovation from the Los Angeles crowd.
"I think [the ref] let him win the draw, too," Ryan Suter joked. "It's great to see when you go back when a guy's been there for a while, when he goes back to a place — it was pretty special. It was a great showing of respect."
Stoll played his 18th game for the Wild on Thursday, and his first at Staples Center since he signed with the New York Rangers this offseason. Though he's still a newcomer to Minnesota, the video was emblematic of the kind of impression he's made on his teammates so far.
SAN JOSE – Prior to its game on Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings, Head Coach Mike Yeo said the Minnesota Wild hadn't forgotten it was a good team.
"We've got a group that a couple of weeks ago, we were one of the better teams in the league," Yeo said. "We're a good team that's just in a bad spell."
That spell ended with a 3-0 win against the Pacific Division-leading Kings on Thursday at Staples Center, a building in which Los Angeles was 15-7-1 entering the game.
LOS ANGELES – There was no temptation for forward Jarret Stoll to keep going down the hallway, past the Minnesota Wild's locker room, and into more familiar territory on Thursday morning, but he did crack a smile when talking about his former team.
"It was an easy walk over, and I knew exactly where I was going," Stoll said. "It was different being in here, but it's going to be a fun night."
Stoll and the Wild will play the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Thursday, a building he called home for seven seasons as a King, and a building he and the Kings clinched two Stanley Cups in.
ANAHEIM – After two practices and an off day, the Minnesota Wild returns to game action on Wednesday at Honda Center against the Anaheim Ducks.
For a team currently determined to get out of a slide, a lull in the schedule was useful, but nothing would be a better tonic than going out and having a strong game.
"It's been a welcome break; that's for sure," Head Coach Mike Yeo said. "It's nice to have a few days to try to collect yourselves, and now we've got a chance to see if we used the days affectively."
ANAHEIM -- The Minnesota Wild is in the midst of arguably the most adversity it has faced this season.
But with three days separating the Wild from its previous game — a 3-0 loss against the Nashville Predators — and a Wednesday matchup with the Anaheim Ducks that begins a stretch of four games in six days, the Wild knows how quickly momentum can swing.
"Practice is awesome, but getting in the fire in actual games, when we get those opportunities, that's where we can build the most, and really get the confidence and the momentum," Matt Dumba said.
In the midst of a 120:52 goalless drought, the Minnesota Wild went through a practice on Sunday led by Skills and Skating Coach Andy Ness.
It was a session spent primarily with puck on stick, taking shots, and trying to regain a feel and a rhythm that has been amiss during a recent slump.
"Practice-schedule wise has been tough for us lately, and then you don't have a lot of practices, and you tend to focus on the team concepts, and the systems part of your game," Head Coach Mike Yeo said. "What suffered a little bit is the individual skill work for the players, and that was the purpose of today."
A shot on goal can lead to many random outcomes, all of which the Minnesota Wild are looking to create on Friday against the Winnipeg Jets.
After losses against the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils to open a three-game homestand, one of the objectives for the Wild against Winnipeg on Friday is simple: attempt more shots.
"We need to have a lot of shots," Jonas Brodin said. "It's hard to defend as a defender if the opposite team is shooting the puck a lot. You never know where it's going to go."
Once the subject of a rant by Allen Iverson, the Minnesota Wild got some much needed work in Thursday at Xcel Energy Center. And yes, we're talking about practice.
For the third time since Christmas, the Wild found time amid a hectic schedule to get on the ice for a full hour, and fine-tune some areas of its game it felt needed improvement.
"I honestly don't remember the last time we had a practice like that," Jason Zucker said. "It's good to get out there and have a couple, and it's good to get back into that routine a little bit."
Before the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks met in the past three Stanley Cup Playoffs, before the likes of Mikko Koivu and Jonathan Toews forged a new rivalry between the Central Division opponents, the Minnesota North Stars and Blackhawks were the hot ticket.
"It was fun," Brad Maxwell said. "And it grew. When I first came in, in ’77 it was pretty good, but then as years progressed, so did the rivalry."
The ticket will get punched again in February when North Stars and Wild alumni team up to face former Blackhawks prior to the 2016 Stadium Series Game.
Tom Reid wears many different hats around Minnesota.
Some nights, his hat is actually a headset as he's doing play-by-play for Minnesota Wild hockey games on the radio.
Other nights, he's wearing his proprietor hat, and making sure things are operating smoothly at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub.