The Minnesota Wild will take a much more veteran lineup to its second preseason game tomorrow night. But before traveling to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins, the Wild held a special-teams specific practice today at Xcel Energy Center.
The power play is something that the club could improve upon from a season ago. Last year, the Wild ranked 16th (17.9 percent) in the National Hockey League. Minnesota Head Coach Mike Yeo thought the team was strong at even strength, but to get to the next level, needs to make progress on the PP.
The Minnesota Wild will travel with 22 players to Pittsburgh for its second preseason game, tomorrow against the Penguins.
Here is the list of players making the trip:
The Wild can dress six defenseman and 12 forwards, so two players on the list will not dress tomorrow night. Kuemper is expected to play two periods, while Bryzgalov is set to play one.
With limited amount of practice time leading into the team’s first and second preseason games (up next is the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Thursday), Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo continues to include game-like situations in the sessions. At today’s practice, the team went through a number of five-on-five situational drills in each zone.
Straight from the locker room, here's tomorrow's lineup for the Wild's first preseason game of the 2014-15 season against Winnipeg at 7 p.m. central.
Thirty five hundred people came to Saturday’s open practice, while another 1,100 ran their hearts out in an outdoor race for the Minnesota Wild Foundation, and fans bought tickets as fast as the Xcel Energy Center Box Office could print them. All before noon.
So it’s no surprise that ESPN the Magazine confirmed this week what we’ve known all along — the Xcel Energy Center, Home of the Home Ice Advantage, has the No. 1 stadium experience in the entire NHL.
Thank you Wild fans for helping to make this happen. Make sure you get to experience it this season!
The magazine’s yearly rankings are out, and the Wild’s stadium experience trails only the San Francisco Giants, Memphis Grizzlies and Green Pay Packers in all of pro sports in North America.
The Wild ranks 24th overall amongst 122 pro teams, in categories such as “Bang for Your Puck”, Fan Relations, Ownership, Affordability, Coaching, Players and Title Track. The Wild jumped 26 spots, having ranked 50th at this time last season.
Your favorite NHL team also ranks 12th in fan relations, 15th in ownership and 17th in players amongst teams from all sports. The Wild also has the third best ranking in the NHL in the player category, behind only Chicago and Detroit.
The full ESPN the Magazine rankings can be found here.
On the first day of Wild training camp, presented by Andersen Windows, groups A and B were scrimmaging. With time winding down and his team trailing by a pair of goals, Thomas Vanek, skating for the Group B team, threw the puck on net. It hit traffic in front and bounced into the top corner of the net. While it wasn’t the prettiest goal Vanek has ever scored, it was a good introduction to the team.
The Wild signed Vanek, who has 277 career goals, as a free agent in the summer to add offensive punch to a team that averaged 2.43 goals per game last season. Today, he was skating on a line with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle. Although it will take the trio some time to get to know each other on the ice, the Wild captain was impressed with what he saw in his newest teammate.
The Hockey Lodge Mobile Store will make its debut this Saturday, as thousands of people converge on downtown St. Paul for the Breakaway Run, Ticket On Sale and Open Practice.
The Mobile Store is powered by Reebok. Similar trucks are the Winnipeg and Chicago and markets.
The plan is to use the Hockey Lodge Mobile Store at large outdoor events like county fairs, Grand Ole Days, as well as Opening Night, etc. The Mobile Store will be located outside Gate 2 on Kellogg Blvd. Saturday.
Wild Media Day always has a similar feel — first day of training camp and first day of kindergarten. You know, lots of photos and introductions.
Wild players spent three hours getting put through the ringer — head shots, a different kind of head shots, photos of their entire body in full gear, interviews with three local TV stations, FOX Sports North, Wild radio, community relations, and of course our favorite, Wild.com. Also, Wild game ops films parts of the “open” — oh, have you heard about our new scoreboard? It’s going to be great! (No, don’t ask us for a photo).
Every Wild player is matched with a “buddy” who walks them around and makes sure they don’t miss a stop. It’s not just the NHL roster either, as all 57 players here at camp need to get head shots taken. While some players took their time getting here today after physicals, Matt Cooke was the first in line and therefore the first done, at 10:17 - just more than an hour after he began. The veteran move, hammering it all out before there’s a line.
We’ve got a full behind the scenes gallery. Our social team launched the Wild Snapchat account today (minnesotawild), so you’ll want to make sure you check out the Mikko Koivu selfie. A good shot of Nino Niederreiter is in there, too.
WildTV was there, following forward Erik Haula. He was mic'd up for a Becoming Wild, presented by Toyota, webisode. Look for that once training camp starts. Today, we posted a BW webby from the team's golf outing on Tuesday. Check that vid out, here.
Wild.com Media Day Awards
Best Hair - Mikael Granlund. The #FinnishFlow is in midseason form
The players had a noon meeting to officially open camp, but several had to finish their last stops immediately following. They hit the ice before most of you are at work tomorrow. It’s been a long summer, but yes, it is almost October.
Wild.com is streaming live on Saturday, Sept. 20 from the Wild’s Open Practice at training camp, presented by Andersen Windows.
The live stream will start broadcasting around 9:30 a.m., and run for about an hour. Radio Studio Host Kevin Falness and Television Analyst Mike Greenlay will call the action, and the Lighthouse might chime in for a couple of comments, too.
Today, the team is participating in the annual media day before taking the ice for the start of training camp tomorrow.
Ilya Bryzgalov has been invited to Wild training camp on a pro tryout. He’s expected to be on the ice when camp opens Friday.
This brings the number of players invited to camp to 57.