This just in: hockey is an intense sport. Things said and done in the heat of the moment are typically saved for those on the inside—the players and coaching staff—during a sixty-minute game or in the locker room between periods or following the contest.
Occasionally, that passion and intensity spills into practice.
That was the case at Xcel Energy Center today where Head Coach Mike Yeo wasn’t satisfied with the team’s effort in practice, following a 4-3 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks.
“We weren’t good enough,” Yeo said about the team’s execution today. “We’re not in a position where we can be—let alone a decent practice—bad practice.”
Tonight’s contest is a rubber match between the two clubs, with the teams splitting wins on home ice. The Wild won the first contest with a 4-3 shootout victory at Xcel Energy Center Oct. 30 while the Sharks won the second 2-1 at SAP Center at San Jose Dec. 11.
When driving in a blizzard, it’s important to keep your eyes on the road ahead—regardless of the swirling mess around your vehicle that’s desperately trying to knock you into the ditch.
Like a driver on a hazardous highway, the Minnesota Wild will continue to look forward as it navigates the treacherous Western Conference. Rather than looking back at the team’s most recent outing, a lopsided loss in the Lone Star State, the focus is on tomorrow night, when the Wild hosts the San Jose Sharks at 7 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center.
“You lose 2-1, you lose 7-2; regardless it’s the same result,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “It’s very frustrating and disappointing to lose a game like that, but to sit around here and dwell on it for the next couple of days is not going to help us for tomorrow.”
The Minnesota Wild should have two New Year’s resolutions: get healthy and earn wins in close games. The club can’t really control the former, but will get a chance at the latter to start 2015 against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
First from the infirmary, defenseman Jonas Brodin will re-enter the lineup tonight after missing the two previous contests with an upper-body injury. The blueliner said that he’s “100 percent” and feels like he hasn’t missed much time. He has been skating for the past three days. Brodin said that the hit from Winnipeg Jets defenseman, Grant Clitsome, was “my bad” because he fell as he was taking the hit.
The Wild went through a quick but brisk 40 minute practice today at the Ice Haus, the awesome practice facility connected to Nationwide Arena. After arriving at the hotel in Columbus at 3:15 a.m., Mike Yeo pushed practice back to 2 p.m. to give the players an extra hour of rest. Every Wild player participated in practice.
To an athlete, waking up groggy to a missed call can be unnerving. It could be any number of possibilities, so Tyler Graovac wasn’t quite sure yesterday waking up to a voicemail from Wild Director of Minor League Operations Jim Mill that said: “Grao, call me ASAP.”
It was great news for Graovac actually, who learned he was being summoned to the Minnesota Wild to make his NHL debut tonight. Graovac and his Iowa Wild teammates had arrived in Grand Rapids, Mich., around 5 a.m. He quickly had to get on a plane to Minnesota, before another plane got him to Winnipeg around midnight last night.
Graovac said he “felt a lot of emotions on the ice” this morning at MTS Centre, where he impressed in a Wild preseason game this year.
"You're my boo." — Erik Haula
"We're running out of poses."
‘Twas the day before holiday break, when all through Xcel Energy Center, the Wild was stirring, practicing to score a game winner.
The Wild looks to head into the holiday break with visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads, tonight hosting the Philadelphia Flyers. After two-consecutive overtime losses, the Wild will shake things up before taking three days off.
Forward Mikael Granlund will return to the lineup after missing Saturday’s 6-5 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators. Granlund was expected to go and participated in warmups, but was feeling ill and didn’t play. He skipped yesterday’s practice for an extra day of rest.
While Minnesota has secured victory in only one of its recent OT games, a 4-3 shootout win against the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 13, the team has showed its resolve in the third period. In its last two games against the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators, the Wild has tied the contest in the third period to force overtime and earn an extra point.
“I give our guys a lot of credit. Again, it is tough to be battling back all the time,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “I am pleased that our guys continue to battle back, and that shows something to me, but now let’s make sure not to put ourselves in that position so many times.”