The wait is over for the Wild. After playing in its home opener on Saturday, an energetic, intense game against a division rival in the St. Louis Blues, Minnesota is back in game-action Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes.
Head Coach Mike Yeo said after the 3-2 victory against St. Louis on Saturday he wanted to use the next four days and three practices to tighten up certain areas of the Wild's game. Playing against an up-tempo Coyotes team, with such a long break between games, it's imperative, Yeo said, the Wild don't wait to get going.
"It's hard to replicate the battle level and the pace (in practice)," Yeo said. "With that, having to execute at that speed, you do your best, you do what you can to try to practice hard, and try to practice fast."
Three days after being traded the Minnesota Wild, Devan Dubnyk played against his former team the Arizona Coyotoes.
"I got a chance to play against them pretty quickly last year, so at least I got that one out of the way," Dubnyk said.
Dubnyk will again get to play against Arizona when the Wild play against the Coyotes on Thursday.
The Minnesota Wild will likely dress its third different lineup in three games on Thursday in Arizona against the Coyotes, with another player likely making his Wild season debut.
Head Coach Mike Yeo said rookie forward Tyler Graovac will be out a couple of weeks with a lower-body injury. Groavac played in the season-opener in Colorado, but not on Saturday against St. Louis, making way for Jordan Schroeder.
With Schroeder now in Iowa, it could mean that Justin Fontaine is ready to see his first action of the regular season. After missing part of training camp and landing on injured-reserve with an upper-body injury, Fontaine has been practicing with his teammates, and back on a line with Thomas Vanek and Charlie Coyle, where he was to begin camp.
For the second consecutive year, Nino Niederreiter is on the cover of a prominent hockey video game in his native country.
Niederreiter is featured on EA Sports' NHL 16 in Switzerland, months after the 23-year-old forward put in a historic season for a Swiss-born player.
In the 2014-15 season, Niederreiter became the first NHL player born in Switzerland to score 20 goals in a season (Niederreiter scored 24 a season ago). He was featured on the cover of NHL 15 in Switzerland, and this year, is sharing the honor with Nashville Predators defenseman and countryman Roman Josi. Niederreiter is the cover athlete for the Xbox One and PlayStation4 versions, while Josi is on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games.
Two victories to start the 2015-16 season has not changed the approach of Minnesota Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo and his players, who know they have kinks to work out and areas to tighten up in their game.
“Scoring eight goals in two games, you have to be doing a lot of good things to make that happen to be 2-0…but again we’re not a team that is just going to rest on that,” Yeo said after practice Sunday morning. “We have to continue to get better and there is a number of areas where we can do that.”
VIEW PHOTO GALLERY FROM PRACTICE
And with four days before facing the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale the Wild is looking forward to the opportunity to regroup and reflect on what they’ve been able to produce thus far.
“It’s a thing you need to take advantage of when you get these days off and you can get some work in and work on the systems,” said Mikko Koivu. “It’s a lot better to have these days after you win...before a big road trip.”
Charlie Coyle, who scored two goals in the 3-2 victory over St. Louis Saturday night, felt the same way.
“This just gives us time to work on some things we need to work on, tighten some things up and watch a little film and see what we need to do better,” Coyle said.
Yeo knows the team is all pulling in the same direction and is making sure the schedule reflects the need to rest and push.
“The guys put the work in today and that’s what we needed,” Yeo said. “You have to kind of grind through it - like I said I knew the guys were going to be tired today but you have to kind of grind through it and this gives us a full day and a half of rest now and then we’ll have an opportunity to come back after a day off basically and have two practices.”
“Dubnyk in Arizona is probably where we’re going now,” Yeo said. “Kuemper has played very well in LA. That’s kind of the idea. Dubnyk’s old team and Kuemper’s past in LA.”
- Players are off on Monday.
- Jason Zucker was not on the ice, having been given a maintenance day.
- Tyler Graovac is recovering from a lower body injury and the team will not know where he stands until practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, before heading out to Arizona. There are no plans to make a roster move in the next couple days according to Yeo.
Yes, the game Saturday between the Wild and Blues will be Minnesota's home opener, a rematch of a first round series of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the next chapter of a budding rivalry.
But the mantra after morning skate on Saturday was keeping everything in check, and not getting too amped up prior to what has the ingredients to be an intense, passionate game.
"I don't approach games that way," Devan Dubnyk said. "I'm looking to just build each game. It's early in the year, and I'm trying to build my game each game, and give the guys an opportunity to win as best as I can."
Welcome to the Saturday home opener for your Minnesota Wild. If you are making the trip to Xcel Energy Center for tonight’s 7 p.m. match-up against the St. Louis Blues, here are some reminders to make your experience top-notch.
PRE-GAME PARTY FROM 4 – 6:15 P.M.
The Minnesota Wild will host a free pre-game party for fans outside Gate 1 at Xcel Energy Center from 4 – 6:15 p.m. to celebrate the 2015-16 NHL regular season home opener.
Tickets to the game are not required to attend the party. In the event of inclement weather, fans should stay tuned to Wild.com and Wild social media accounts, including @mnwild on Twitter, for updates on the event.
Get your specialty burgers, designed by the players themselves, including Devan Dubnyk, MIkko Koivu, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. October also features the burger of the month designed by Jared Spurgeon. Find them in section 112.
GAME DAY SECURITY SCREENINGS
As part of a National Hockey League-wide effort, walk-through metal detectors have been added at all entrances of Xcel Energy Center. Please visit wild.com/security for more details including a list of prohibited items.
WEEKEND ROAD CLOSURES
If you are coming to the Wild home opener on Saturday night, please be aware of major construction announced by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Road closures, including parts of I-94 start at 10 p.m. on Friday, October 9th.
The westbound lanes of I-94 will be closed between Hwy 61 and I-35E and are expected to reopen by 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 12.. At the same time, the ramps will reopen from northbound Hwy 52 to westbound I-94 and from westbound I-94 to southbound Hwy 52.
The eastbound lanes will be closed from Highway 52 to Highway 61 and will reopen by 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 12. Motorists will be able to use Mounds Boulevard to reach the eastbound interstate or take westbound I-94 to reach Mounds Boulevard.
Additional notes include the following:
• Southbound I-35E ramp to eastbound I-94/ southbound Hwy 52 closed through mid-October
• Detour: Southbound I-35E to eastbound Hwy 36 to southbound I-694 to eastbound I-94. Continue southbound on I-694 to southbound I-494 to access Hwy 52.
• Plato Boulevard to northbound Hwy 52 is closed through late-October
• Watch for closures on the southbound bridge through early October.
• Northbound Hwy 52 will stay in its current alignment on the east half of the bridge through late October as crews finish work on the driving surface of the northbound bridge. Watch for construction vehicles.
For more information please visit the Minnesota Department of Transportation for its official page on this closure.
OUTDOOR VIEWING PARTY AT CHS FIELD
And we’d like to extend a special thank you to the fans that joined us in Lowertown on Thursday night at CHS Field in Saint Paul to watch the season opener on the video board. It was a special way to kick-off the season and a memorable win.
In Head Coach Mike Yeo's words, the Wild's victory on Thursday was the perfect balance of a lesson learned and still coming away with two points. The Wild fell behind 3-0 after the first period, and trailed 4-1 entering the third before scoring four goals in record-setting 5:07 span (the fastest four goals scored in franchise history) to storm back and defeat the Colorado Avalanche 5-4.
"You do get a win, but you also get a bit of reminder, a bit of a wakeup call as far as the things you need to be doing to be successful," Yeo said. "The beginning of the year for every team, the best teams in the League and the teams that are struggling, it's all the same. You're not going to be on top of your game, and the teams that can get there the quickest are the teams that are going to give themselves the best chance."
A season-opening game always brings lots of energy with it. From a revved up crowd, to two teams excited to get back to hockey, there's no shortage of combustible elements.
Add a divisional rivalry into that formula, and the Minnesota Wild's opener Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche has all the ingredients to be an intense game.
"There's always a lot of excitement going into every season, but it's nice to start with a game like that," Head Coach Mike Yeo said. "We know what to expect from them. It will be fast, it will be intense, and hopefully we use that to make sure we're at our best."
Matt Dumba is turning each of his hits on the Xcel Energy Center ice this season into a charitable donation.
With the Wild playing its first home game on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues, Dumba and Defending The Blue Line announced on Wednesday the launch of "Hits For Heroes." For each hit Dumba records on home ice this season, he will donate $100 to the charity.
"Defending the Blue Line provides great assistance for military families and I’m proud to support them with a program fans can get excited for and track throughout the Wild season," said Dumba. "While I’ve worn the number 24 throughout my career, I wanted to do something special to acknowledge the history and excitement the number holds for Wild fans."