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.
The State Of Hockey lost a great pioneer of the game last week when Jean-Paul Parise passed away at the age of 73 after a bout with lung cancer.
The Celebration of Life Service will be held on this Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 at 3:00 PM with visitation from 1:00 – 3:00 PM at the Colonial Church of Edina.
In lieu of flowers, the Parise family is requesting donations be made to Defending The Blue Line, a cause that J.P. cared deeply about.
Condolence messages and photos can be uploaded and shared here.
The Wild has reassigned defenseman Stu Bickel to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Bickel, 28 (10/2/86), totaled one assist and led Minnesota with 46 penalty minutes (PIM) in nine games. He set a franchise record with a career-high 39 PIM at Dallas on Jan. 3. Bickel has also recorded three assists and 30 PIM in nine contests with Iowa this season. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound native of Chanhassen, Minn., has totaled 10 assists and 203 PIM in 76 career NHL games with the New York Rangers and Minnesota.
The Wild has recalled defenseman Jonathon Blum, goaltender John Curry and forward Jordan Schroeder (SHRAY-duhr) from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League (AHL). The team also announced today it has placed goaltender Darcy Kuemper on Injured Reserve.
Blum, 25 (1/20/89), leads team defensemen and ranks fourth on the team with 16 points (4-12=16) in 29 games this season. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound native of Long Beach, Calif., has skated in one game with Minnesota this season and has collected 23 points (7-16=23) in 107 career NHL games in parts of five seasons with Nashville and Minnesota. He was originally selected by Nashville in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and wears No. 7 for the Wild.
Curry, 30 (2/27/84), made 19 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss to Winnipeg on Dec. 27 in his only appearance with Minnesota this season. In 13 games with Iowa he is 5-6-0 with a 2.84 GAA and a .917 SV%, including 4-1-0 with a 1.95 GAA and a .944 SV% in his last five starts. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound native of Shorewood, Minn., is 3-2-1 with a 3.60 GAA and a .883 SV% in seven career NHL games with Pittsburgh and Minnesota. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound native of Shorewood, Minn., signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Wild on July 17 and wears jersey No. 33 with Minnesota.
Schroeder, 24 (9/29/90), ranks T-2nd on Iowa with 24 points (10-14=24) in 28 games this season. The 5-foot-9, 176-pound native of Prior Lake, Minn., has appeared in one game with Minnesota this season, recording two shots and two penalty minutes (PIM) in 12:06 TOI vs. Buffalo on Nov. 13. He’s totaled 15 points (6-9=15) in 57 career NHL games, skating in parts of two seasons with the Vancouver Canucks (2012-14). Schroeder was originally selected by Vancouver in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He signed as a free agent with the Wild on July 11, 2014 and wears jersey No. 10 with Minnesota.
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.
The Wild went through a quick but brisk 40 minute practice today at the Ice Haus, the awesome practice facility connected to Nationwide Arena. After arriving at the hotel in Columbus at 3:15 a.m., Mike Yeo pushed practice back to 2 p.m. to give the players an extra hour of rest. Every Wild player participated in practice.