The Wild is in the midst of a four-day break between games on its calendar. It's not anything the team isn't used to, with this being the third four-day layoff the Wild has dealt with in the past five weeks.
And after playing a back-to-back against the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues this weekend, rematches against each of the Wild's playoff opponents from last season, Minnesota surpassed the double-digit games played mark for the season.
It's provided a sample-size—albeit a smaller one—for some reflection, and one Head Coach Mike Yeo thinks has the Wild on a good path.
The Wild knows the Chicago Blackhawks quite well. Playing against the same team 28 times over the past three seasons as Minnesota and Chicago have breeds familiarity.
So when the Wild faces the Blackhawks for the first time this season on Friday, despite some changes to the Blackhawks roster from this offseason, Minnesota knows it's going up against a team with a deep forward group, which makes the Wild's depth all the more paramount.
"It's not just on the defensemen, too," Head Coach Mike Yeo said. "If you're going to have any kind of success against this team, you're going to have to defend as a group out there, and our forwards, how they play both with and without the puck, will be a huge factor in what our defensemen's games looks like at the end of the night.
"It's going to have to be a collective effort, that's for sure."
A day ahead of a its first game of the season against the Chicago Blackhawks, lots of questions were asked of the Wild regarding another meeting with a team it has faced in each of the past two postseasons.
There's undoubtedly a high level of respect for the Blackhawks in the Wild's locker room, but this early in the season, all games are still about improving, regardless the opponent.
"For sure you have to adjust the way the opponent plays, and what their strengths are," Mikko Koivu said. "It's a challenge with the defending champions, so you want to always play a good game.
"But it's more important that we play better as a team, and stay in our process right now."
Like many teams around the League, the Wild will get its first look at a young Edmonton Oilers team on Tuesday. Edmonton's roster consists of 13 players who are 25 years old or younger.
And as has been the case with most of Edmonton's opponents, the Wild will be tasked with and was asked about playing against 18-year-old rookie Connor McDavid.
"Obviously he's a great player, and he's been proving it lately, but most of all we have to worry about ourselves, and our game plan to deter what he does best with his speed," Jared Spurgeon said. " You can see with a lot of the young guys with how talented they are and how hard they work.
"Every game you play against one of those young guys is something new, and you look forward to that challenge."
Through the early portion of the season, Head Coach Mike Yeo has maintained one of the most important things for the Wild is using each game to get better.
A 4-1-1 start is also very important, and after reviewing the Wild's Thursday 3-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Yeo liked what he saw.
"There are certain games where it looks better live, and then you watch the tape, and you realize it wasn't as good as you thought it was, and vice versa," Yeo said. "Actually last, when I watched the tape, it was pretty darn close to a 60-minute effort."
Between October 19, and November 13, the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association are putting on the 17th annual Hockey Fights Cancer Campaign. Beginning in 1998, the joint initiative has raised over $15 million that has been donated to national and local organizations in cancer research and care.
This year, four local cancer charities will partner with the Wild throughout October: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and Movember.
The Wild will host its official Hockey Fights Cancer Night on Tuesday, October 27, against the Edmonton Oilers. There are a number of ways fans can get involved, key dates, and upcoming events.
There are plenty of ulterior storylines facing the Wild tonight, playing a winless Columbus Blue Jackets team, and one with a new coach.
That's why, as always, the Wild is keeping the focus on itself.
"It's going to be a tough game," Jonas Brodin said. "They just fired their coach, and they got a new coach, so they're going to come out hard and work a lot. We have to be ready from the start, and just play our game, and don't focus on them."
Pace, for the Minnesota Wild, can take on a number of meanings.
"There are things that go into it. Playing fast isn't just skating around 100 miles per hour," Zach Parise said. "You can't play fast if you play through the neutral zone like we have been. The way we've been turning pucks over in the neutral zone, you can't play fast."
As Head Coach Mike Yeo opened practice Wednesday, he addressed his players at center ice, stressing pace and execution, which to the Wild, are intertwined.
As the Wild go through the early season checklist of shoring up different elements of its game, the focus in practice on Tuesday was the defensive zone.
It's an area the Wild has excelled in the past, so an area that it would like to get back to its old standards after returning from a three-game, West coast road trip.
"Certainly one focal point for us is how we come into our defensive zone coverage," Head Coach Mike Yeo said. "It resulted in a few goals against last game, and usually an area where we're pretty sharp."
After losing to the Los Angeles Kings in overtime on Friday, Head Coach Mike Yeo said the Wild's game on Sunday against the Ducks could be a similar challenge.
"We keep facing teams that are a little ornery right now, so it will be another good test on Sunday," Yeo said.
That's what the Wild is expecting at Honda Center when it faces the Anaheim Ducks, a winless team (0-3-1), but a team with a lot of size and skill.