It was just over two months ago when Minnesota Wild defenseman, Keith Ballard, took a hit during a game against the New York Islanders that led to an unnerving scene on the ice of Xcel Energy Center. The incident left him with three facial fractures and a debilitating concussion.
From the desk of Let's Play Hockey:
Nominations are currently being accepted for the inaugural Patrick Schoonover Award, an annual award that will be given to the Minnesota PeeWee or Bantam hockey player who best exemplifies Patrick’s ideals of hard work, high character, loyalty, honesty, humor and athletic achievement.
On the ice for his Eastview Bantam AA team, Patrick Schoonover was a leader, defender and excellent teammate. Off the ice, he was a leader, defender, excellent friend and classmate, loving brother and son. In recognition of the way he led his life, Let’s Play Hockey and the Minnesota Wild are proud to present the Patrick Schoonover Award.
Nominations can be made by youth hockey coaches and parents, with the winner selected by Let’s Play Hockey staff and the Schoonover family. The winner of the inaugural Patrick Schoonover Award will be presented at the Boys’ High School Hockey State Tournament Banquet in March at Roy Wilkins Auditorium. The winner and the Schoonover family will make the “Let’s Play Hockey” announcement at a Minnesota Wild game, and a permanent display for the award will be installed at Xcel Energy Center.
To nominate a player for the Patrick Schoonover Award, fill out the this form and e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Forms are also available, here, at letsplayhockey.com. Nominations are due by noon on Friday, Feb. 20.
Minnesota Wild forward Stephane Veilleux has brought the same energy and work ethic to the rink for 499 National Hockey League games. Tonight, the veteran will do it for the 500th time, as the Wild hosts the Florida Panthers at 7 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center.
The Minnesota Wild has recalled forward Stephane Veilleux from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League (AHL).
The 33-year-old has recorded 14 points (2-12=14) and 65 penalty minutes (PIM) in 43 games with Iowa this season and has tallied eight PIM in five games with Minnesota. The 6-foot-1, 199-pound native of Beauceville, Que., has compiled 104 points (49-55=104) and 346 PIM in 499 NHL games with Minnesota, Tampa Bay and New Jersey. Veilleux ranks fifth in Wild history in hits (439), eighth in games played (421) and ninth in PIM (298). He was originally selected by Minnesota in the third round (93rd overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft and wears No. 19 for the Wild.
Prior to its game in Winnipeg tonight, the Minnesota Wild has recalled defenseman Stu Bickel (BIH-kuhl) and forward Brett Sutter (SUH-tuhr) from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League (AHL). The team also has placed forwards Ryan Carter and Jason Zucker (ZOOK-ER) on Injured Reserve due to upper body injuries.
Bickel, 28 (10/2/86), has tallied one assist and ranks second on the team with 46 penalty minutes (PIM) in nine games with Minnesota this season. He has recorded eight points (2-6=8) and 51 PIM in 23 games with Iowa. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound native of Chanhassen, Minn., has totaled 10 assists and 203 PIM in 76 career NHL games with the New York Rangers and Minnesota. Bickel signed as a free agent with the Wild on July 1 and wears jersey No. 4 with Minnesota.
Sutter, 27 (6/2/87), has recorded three assists and a plus-1 rating in five games with Minnesota this season including his first career multi-point game when he notched two assists at Winnipeg on Dec. 29. He has 18 points (7-11=18) and 27 PIM in 45 games with Iowa this season. The 6-foot, 200-pound native of Viking, Alta., owns 10 points (2-8=10) and 40 PIM in 59 career NHL games with the Wild, Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes. Sutter signed as a free agent with Minnesota on July 1 and wears sweater No. 27 with the Wild.
For the second straight Monday, Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk has been named a National Hockey League Star of the Week. This week, he’s ascended to the top of the League’s Three Stars thanks to a two-game scoreless streak. In two wins Dubnyk was perfect, posting two shutouts and stopping all 42 shots faced.
The Wild has recalled goaltender Darcy Kuemper from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.
Kuemper, 24 (5/5/90), is 13-12-2 with a 2.62 goals-against average (GAA), a .904 save percentage (SV%) and three shutouts in 29 games with Minnesota this season. He went 2-3-0 with a 3.22 GAA, a .891 SV% and one shutout in five starts with Iowa after being assigned on Jan. 26 for a conditioning assignment. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound native of Saskatoon, Sask., is 26-22-6 with a 2.49 GAA, a .910 SV% and five shutouts in 61 career NHL games with the Wild. Kuemper wears sweater No. 35 with Minnesota.
Forward Matt Cooke underwent successful sports hernia surgery today by Dr. L. Michael Brunt at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. Cooke is expected to make a full recovery and return to play in approximately six weeks.
The 36-year-old has appeared in 27 games with the Wild this season, posting four goals and four assists.
When a team is feeling it, the club wants to keep playing and stay rolling. After four straight wins, the Minnesota Wild is back in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race and gaining confidence.
However, thanks to a lull in the schedule, the team won’t get back at it until Saturday, hosting the Colorado Avalanche at 7 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center.
“We played a lot of games and all of a sudden we have three days between games,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “You have to make sure we’re getting ready for an opponent that we know is going to be ready to play against us.”
Of course, the Wild topped the Avs in seven games in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year and took the opening two games of the season in a home-and-home series, outscoring Colorado, 8-0.