After a week of inactivity for the National Hockey League’s All-Star Break, the Minnesota Wild restarts north of the border. The Wild kicks off a three-game Canadian roadie tonight against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place.
The Wild will have Mikael Granlund back in the lineup against its old Northwest Division foe. The forward missed 13 games after suffering a fractured wrist on Dec. 27 against the Winnipeg Jets.
For the first time in a long time, the Wild looks like a healthy club.
“We were up in the suite trying to watch the game,” Suter smiled. “(Thomas) Vanek’s kids didn’t show up so I had to play.
“I was the goalie.”
In addition to acquiring goaltender Devan Dubnyk from Arizona, the Minnesota Wild made a few other roster moves today.
Dumba was recently named to the AHL All-Star Classic, scheduled for Jan. 25-26 in Utica, NY. The 20-year-old has posted 12 points (4-8=12) in 17 games with Iowa. In 20 games with Minnesota this season, Dumba has a goal and three assists.
Scandella is retroactively placed on IR, Jan. 6. The blueliner has missed four games with an upper-body injury.
Falk suffered an upper-body injury in Pittsburgh last night.
Nothing is easy for the Minnesota Wild right now, and tomorrow night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres could become more challenging some time after 5 p.m. EST. That is when the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety is scheduled to have a phone hearing with Wild defenseman Ryan Suter.
Last night in Pittsburgh, the blueliner caught Pens’ forward Steve Downie with an elbow during the second period. Downie left the game and didn’t return. Suter wasn’t assessed a penalty on the play.
“It was kind of a fluky thing, he brushed my arm, elbow, as he went by,” Suter said after the game. He said that it was incidental and after poking at the puck was going to grab his stick with both hands. “That’s not the type of player I am.”
Pick any sports cliché out of a hat to address how the Minnesota Wild can dig its way out of its current slide, but, at the end of the day it’s about wins and losses. Sometimes it doesn’t come down to X’s and O’s and the way that a team gets out of a funk is by performing on the greatest platitude of them all—compete for a full 60 minutes.
“It’s only going to take one win to gain some confidence and get on a roll,” Wild forward Matt Cooke said. He joked that you can pretty much use a sports cliché generator right now, but most importantly the club needs to, “have fun and embrace the challenge.”
Tonight, the Wild’s challenge is Cooke’s former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, currently sitting third in the Eastern Conference.
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.