For a National Hockey League head coach, his club’s initial training camp roster probably looks a lot like a block of marble appears to a sculptor. There is a general idea, but lines and defensive parings are formed, and players emerge to contend for a spot in the lineup. As the camp goes on players are shed like layers of rock, assigned back to the minors or junior teams, and the team begins to take shape.
Today, the Minnesota Wild opening night lineup took a little more shape as the team reduced its training camp roster to 27. Minnesota assigned D Jonathon Blum, D Justin Falk, F Tyler Graovac, F Michael Keranen, F Zack Phillips, D Gustav Olofsson and F Joel Rechlicz to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League (AHL) and placed Curt Gogol and Brett Sutter on waivers with the intent to assign them to Iowa.
Fans came down to the glass and took selfies with him — so many in fact there was a line during the third period.
“Fans came to have some fun,” Bryzgalov said. “I’ve got to respect it.”
For the players fighting for the few remaining roster spots at Minnesota Wild training camp, tomorrow night’s game in St. Louis will be like a final exam. But with the completion tougher than advanced calculus, players on the bubble will need more than passing marks to make the club’s opening night roster.
“The grades in that one are going to count a little more than the start of the year,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “We will evaluate everything as a whole, but what we’re looking for is progress.”
With sweat still dripping from their foreheads after today’s Minnesota Wild morning skate, Stu Bickel and Jordan Schroeder sat in the visitor’s locker room at Xcel Energy Center, took off their gear, cleared out their stalls and packed their bags with drenched equipment. For hockey players on the bubble of making an NHL roster, it’s typically an unceremonious procedure signifying that they’ve been reassigned to the team’s minor league affiliate or placed on waivers.
However, for Bickel and Schroeder it meant they were moving to the Wild’s dressing room for the team’s fourth preseason game, tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In its fourth game of the preseason, the Minnesota Wild hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow night at Xcel Energy Center.
Reigning NHL MVP Sidney Crosby is expected to make his preseason debut for the Penguins after missing the start of training camp with an undisclosed injury.
For Minnesota, Thomas Vanek is expected to make his home debut tomorrow. He returns to the lineup after being considered day-to-day with soreness.
Zach Parise took a maintenance day and didn’t practice on Sunday. He’s set to play tomorrow.
Goaltender Darcy Keumper is set to play the full game in net.
Here’s the Wild’s expected lineup. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo will have to make a decision on the fourth line:
The Wild had a new addition today at training camp, presented by Andersen Windows, high above the ice surface at Xcel Energy Center.
The arena’s new behemoth of a center ice video scoreboard was unveiled at a Wild Season Ticket Holder event last night and was lit up today, as it ran through a number of tests during the team’s first practice sessions. For the Lighthouse, the RGB color sequence testing was a bit distracting (we left our sunglasses in our glove box), but Nino Niederreiter said the team was focused and didn’t notice the continuous blasts of red, green and blue.
The Minnesota Wild skates at home for the first time this preseason on Saturday at 7 p.m., hosting the Winnipeg Jets. It is the second meeting of the preseason between the two teams, with the Jets taking the first contest, 2-1, in Winnipeg on Monday.
Here's the complete roster for Saturday:
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.