While many Wild players said they felt the Monday preseason opener against the Buffalo Sabres was about getting their feet wet, today's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets is no longer about dipping the toes.
"There's a little bit of a difference," defenseman Jonas Brodin said. "The first game was pretty tight. This game, we need to keep getting better, and keep thinking about small things to get better at."
The Wild is bringing a more veteran lineup to Columbus on Thursday, and though some younger players are also making the trip, anticipation toward the regular season is building with lines and defensive pairings taking shape.
Wednesday's Wild practice featured a different look than the beginning of camp as the preseason schedule continues and the regular season opener approaches.
There were two groups that skated, with the first primarily made up of players from last year's team, with a few exceptions.
"We didn't make cuts today, but we kind of separated the groups, and I don't think anyone's feeling were hurt because the group was in the first practice was pretty much everybody that was there last year," Head Coach Mike Yeo said.
The majority of Wild skaters expected to play in Tuesday's preseason game against the Winnipeg Jets did not play in Monday's opener against the Buffalo Sabres.
That means Tuesday is much like Monday again when it comes to objectives: Keeping things simple, getting back up to game speed, and building toward October 8's season opener.
"Tonight we just have to establish our game plan, kind of get back to the basics and keeping it simple early to get a feel and get the legs going into the game," Justin Fontaine said. "It's going to definitely be different than the scrimmages, and I definitely think we're ready and prepared."
The Minnesota Wild has announced its roster for Tuesday's preseason game against the Winnipeg Jets.
The following players will be traveling to Winnipeg for Tuesday's game.
The 2nd Annual Minnesota Wild Breakaway 10K/5K/1-Mile Run was a big success on Saturday morning. Downtown Saint Paul was buzzing outside Xcel Energy Center as more than 1,000 runners participated in the event.The 20 suite ticket winners will be announced shortly, as well as the winners of the 2014-15 team signed sticks (one winner per race).
And the winner of the “Best Dressed” Contest was the "Wild Sisters."
After three days of training camp practices, the Wild will play its first preseason game tonight against the Buffalo Sabres at Xcel Energy Center.
It's a quick turnaround, but a welcome one for players who finally get a chance to get back into game-situations against another team.
"Obviously, coming out of camp you've had a couple of hard days before, and it's just excited to get into a real game against someone else other than your own teammates," defenseman Jared Spurgeon said.
Training camp can serve as something of a chemistry lab. Players can be tried in different roles and on different lines or pairings to figure out what clicks before the regular season begins.
While the Minnesota Wild is returning many of the same faces from last season, coach Mike Yeo has been experimenting with a few new iterations when it comes to his lineup.
"We've got some options, and I have to think there will be a few different things we try during camp," Yeo said when camp opened on Friday.
The Minnesota Wild will open its preseason schedule on Monday against the Buffalo Sabres at the Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild's lineup is expected to feature defenseman Mike Reilly playing in his first NHL game, and first game on home ice. Reilly, who played for three years at the University of Minnesota, signed with the Wild July 1.
"It would be awesome," Reilly said of the prospect of playing in the first preseason game. "It would be unbelievable. My goal is to try to make the team, and keep coming in and kind of be a sponge and learn from guys."
Zach Parise said it's difficult to replicate a regular season game during training camp, but Saturday's open scrimmage was one step closer.
"You're just trying to get those — like we've been scrimmaging — get those good 5-on-5 reps, and kind of get some game situations going," Parise said . It's hard to create what it's going to be like in a game.
Parise scored twice in the scrimmage on Saturday in front of 3,000 fans who were in attendance. He has skated on a line with center Mikael Granlund and right wing Jason Pominville, a trio that has impressed coach Mike Yeo early on.
Saturday will be busy at Xcel Energy Center and you can still get involved with all of the Wild activities and watch some of your favorite players scrimmage as the team gears up for the 2015-16 NHL season.
8:30 a.m. – WILD BREAKAWAY RUN:
The 2nd Annual Minnesota Wild Breakaway 10K/5K/1-Mile Run starts and ends just outside Xcel Energy Center. The 10K starts at 8:30 a.m., the 5K at 8:35 a.m. and the 1-mile run at 8:40 a.m.
It’s not too late if you still want to participate. You can register at the race site between 7:00 - 8:00 AM on Saturday morning. Get more information here.
And even if you’re not the greatest runner, you can still win a prize as “best dressed” and start the season with a Nino Niederreiter autographed jersey! Registered runners who wish to enter the “best dressed” contest must visit the stage between Gates 1 and 2 to have their photo taken by a Wild staff member, starting at 7 a.m.
9:00 a.m. – OPEN PRACTICE/SCRIMMAGE:
At 9:00 a.m. on Saturday Xcel Energy Center will be open, at Gate 1, to the public for a Minnesota Wild practice session, including a scrimmage between Team B and Team C, scheduled for 9:25 a.m.
Team B boasts forward Zach Parise and goaltender Devan Dubnyk while Team C includes forward Thomas Vanek and defenseman Marco Scandella.
A live feed of the scrimmage will be available via Wild.com on Saturday morning as well.
9:00 a.m. – SINGLE-GAME TICKET ON-SALE:
Michelle and Joe Klaers (pictured below) arrived at Xcel Energy Center earlier this afternoon to become the first fans in line for the limited amount of 2015-16 regular season single game tickets going on sale Saturday at 9:00 a.m. exclusively at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office.
Beginning at noon, available tickets will also become available at all Ticketmaster locations and Wild.com. Tickets for preseason games are on sale now.
Wild single-game tickets begin at $35. The Wild utilizes demand-based pricing, which dynamically adjusts the price of individual tickets based on demand, which can be affected by rivalries, day-of-week, and marquee teams or superstar players. It does not apply to full season tickets, which feature the lowest prices for ticket packages.
Public on-sale information for the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ weekend on Feb. 20-21 at TCF Bank Stadium will be announced at a later date. Minnesota Wild Season Ticket Holders and fans who join the Wild Waiting List for season tickets will receive the opportunity to purchase tickets to the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ and the Stadium Series Alumni Game in advance of the general public.
PARKING ON SATURDAY:
Please note that that due to the Minnesota Wild Breakaway 10K/5K/1-Mile Run on Saturday the top entrance to the RiverCentre Parking Ramp will be closed from 8 to 10:30 a.m. You may enter and exit the RiverCentre Parking Ramp from the bottom entrance off of Eagle Street. The Kellogg Ramp will be closed from 7:45 to 10:30 a.m.