View From The Lighthouse Changing Platforms

The Minnesota Wild has gone through a number of changes since last season: trades, free agent signings and a new road white sweater. Now the team’s blog, View From the Lighthouse will be undergoing an overhaul of its own.

We are moving the Lighthouse to the League’s content management system. Moving the blog to the League’s CMS will streamline posts and content throughout all digital platforms, including mobile devices.

We enjoyed using WordPress, which has been the blog’s home since its inception, but we believe that moving the blog to the NHL CMS will improve usability and functionality. The only downfall, and one of the reasons we have been hesitant to switch programs, is that we will lose the subscription service WordPress provides. Therefore, when we post a new blog, an email notification will not be sent out to subscribers. However, if you follow the Wild on Twitter or Facebook, we’ll post fresh blogs on social media sites. Of course, you can visit Wild.com as blogs are regularly posted or visit the new Lighthouse landing page.

View From the Lighthouse isn’t going away, we’re just moving forward and trying to make it easier for Wild fans to get team news across all platforms. The blog will remain the place where our State of Hockey Legion can get all Wild-related news. Click here to visit the new landing page.

Wild On Ice Before ‘Mumford’ Comes To Town

While workers at Xcel Energy Center prepared the arena for tomorrow’s Mumford & Sons concert, a smattering of skaters were on the ice today in preparation for the upcoming National Hockey League season.

With Wild Training Camp, presented by Andersen Windows, starting next week, a handful of players were going through a loose arrangement of shooting, skating and skill drills. There were veterans expecting to play a large role this season mixed with NHL hopefuls training for the Traverse City Prospects Tournament later this week.

Regulars on the ice included: goaltender Niklas Backstrom; forwards Torrey Mitchell and Kyle Brodziak; and defensemen Clayton Stoner and Nate Prosser. Second-year forward Mikael Granlund, who split time between the Wild and its minor league affiliate last season, worked on his skating and, of course, warming up his slick mitts.

As for other youngsters, prospects looking to impress in Traverse City also were on hand. After his first year of pro hockey, forward Zack Phillips was trading one-timers with top defensive prospect Mathew Dumba. Both former first-round picks are trying to make a splash in Traverse City and turn some heads amongst the Wild brass before Training Camp.  Goaltending prospect Johan Gustafsson is set to make his North American professional debut with the Iowa Wild this season and was the other netminder in goal.

Nino Niederreiter, fresh off his State of Hockey debut at the club’s unveiling of the new white road sweater at the Minnesota State Fair on Sunday, was also in attendance. WildTV caught up with El Nino and he talked about the Great Minnesota Get Together. That video will be posted shortly.

After the skate, the Xcel Energy Center crew was busy covering up the ice for tomorrow’s show. Yes, it’s kind of a sad site to watch the floorboards slowly blanketing the ice surface, but have no fear, we’re only a month away from seeing the sheet and the Wild a lot more often, as the club opens the 2013-14 season at home against the Los Angeles Kings. Hockey is almost back and as Marcus Mumford sings, “I will wait…” But not for long.

Wild In Uni Watch Power Rankings

With the Wild set to unveil its new white road sweaters at the Great Minnesota Get Together next week, State of Hockey fans are clamoring to get a peek at the fresh design.

So, it is apropos ESPN’s Uni Watch Power Rankings is out today. Writer Paul Lukas has been a fan of the club’s design choices thus far, and had Minnesota ranked eight in his last installment of the UWPR. However, with the redesign still under lock and key, he dropped the franchise two spots to 10th in the NHL in the most recent ranking. Read Lukas’s full rankings, here.

Original Six teams are all ranked in the top eight, as classic looks evoke certain emotions built on decades of familiarity and it’s difficult to upend tradition. So as an expansion franchise, the Wild is at a competitive visual disadvantage going against the Original Six clubs. But the club mixes State of Hockey tradition with modern looks to make some of the most fashionable threads in the League. As Lukas writes, “almost every design move by this team has been a winner, so there’s every reason to expect that the new revisions will look sharp.”

Minnesota will unveil its new duds at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 1 at the Minnesota State Fair’s FAN Central building. Throughout the week starting Aug. 26, Wild.com and @mnwild will be teasing pieces of the new uniforms.

As someone privy to sensitive team imagery, I can tell you that the next installment of Wild road whites are sharp, and you can expect the club to jump up in the UWPR in its next installment.

Iowa Wild Announces Preseason Game

The Iowa Wild, Minnesota’s American Hockey League affiliate, will skate in one preseason game in preparation for the club’s inaugural season.

The iWild will visit the Chicago Wolves at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27 at Franklin Park Arena. Fans that want to make the trip to Illinois to see the future of the Minnesota Wild can contact the Franklin Park Arena at (847) 671-4268 for more information.

Iowa begins its opening season in October. For more information on the team, visit the club’s website.

Iowa Wild Names Poapst Assistant Coach

The Iowa Wild, Minnesota’s American Hockey League affiliate, yesterday announced the club hired both an Assistant and Video Coaches. For more information on Iowa, visit the club’s website.

Here’s the official news release from the team:

Iowa Wild General Manager Jim Mill announced on Tuesday that Steve Poapst (Pop-st) has been named Assistant Coach. Mill also announced Tim Flynn as Video Coach.

“Steve has proven success of developing prospects in the AHL,” Mill said. “He played professionally for 15 years, including over 300 games in the National Hockey League. We believe he will be a major asset to our young defensemen in Iowa”.  

Prior to joining Iowa, the 44-year old spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Rockford IceHogs. During his tenure in Rockford, Poapst oversaw the team’s defensemen and was instrumental in the development of Chicago Blackhawks’ prospects Adam Clendening, Dylan Olsen, Ryan Stanton and Klas Dahlbeck.

Before jumping to the AHL ranks with Rockford, Poapst served as general manager and head coach of the Chicago Steel (USHL). The Cornwall, Ontario native spent nearly four years with the Steel before joining the Blackhawks organization. Poapst was named the USHL’s Coach of The Year in 2008 after guiding the club to a 20-win improvement from the previous campaign.

The former NHL defenseman played 220 games with Chicago from 2000-2004, including a career-high 75 games in 2002-03 season. He made his NHL debut with Washington in 1995-96, playing in three games for the Capitals. Overall, Poapst spent most of his first seven seasons of professional hockey playing in the minor leagues before getting extended time with the Capitals in 1998-99.

In all, Poapst totaled 307 NHL games, notching eight goals and 28 assists from the blueline. He played in the AHL from 1992-2001, totaling 45 goals and 160 assists for 205 points in 498 games. His AHL career included stops in Baltimore, Portland and Norfolk.

Prior to turning to the pro game, Poapst spent four years at Colgate University skating with the Raiders.

Tim Flynn joins the Wild after spending the last three years at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, where he served as the Director of Hockey Operations
for the 2012-13 season. In his first two seasons, Flynn served as a Volunteer Assistant.

He was mainly responsible for video analysis, pre-scouting opponents, in-game and postgame analysis. In addition to working closely with the players and coaching staff with regards to game preparation, Flynn also assisted with fundraisers and community events related to the UAH hockey program.

Additionally, Flynn has worked at the USA Hockey select camps in Rochester, New York. He was also an instructor for Total Package Hockey in Huntsville. A native of Westwood, Mass., Flynn earned his MBA from UAH.

Wild Re-signs Two RFAs

The Wild has re-signed a pair of forward prospects in the organization. The club has inked restricted free agents Justin Fontaine and Carson McMillan to one-year, two-way contracts.

Fontaine led the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League (AHL) with 56 points (23-33=56) in 64 games last season, adding 10 power play goals with a +10 rating. The 25-year-old also led all Aeros skaters with eight points (3-5=8) in five playoff games. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound native of Bonnyville, Alta., posted 55 points (16-39=55) in 73 games with the Aeros in 2011-12. He played collegiately at Minnesota-Duluth. Fontaine spoke to the PONDcast after signing.

McMillan totaled 18 points (9-9=18) and 29 PIM in 64 regular season games with the Aeros last season. The 24-year-old added four playoff games, totaling two PIM. McMillan has skated in 15 NHL games with Minnesota, notching five points (2-3=5) and 11 PIM. He made his NHL debut at Philadelphia (Jan. 17, 2012), and scored his first NHL goal, a third-period game-winner, at Colorado (Jan. 24, 2012). The 6-foot-2, 194-pound native of Brandon, Manitoba, was Minnesota’s seventh-round pick (No. 200 overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Wild.com To Live Stream Development Camp Scrimmage

Good news for those in the State of Hockey and beyond that will be unable to attend today’s Development Camp scrimmage: the game will stream live on Wild.com. Wild radio host Kevin Falness and television analyst Mike Greenlay will call the action.

The Green vs. White game will start at 3 p.m. and the teams will compete in 30 minute halves with running time and a resurface between halves. The scrimmage will be a combination five-on-five and four-on-four play. Overtime (if needed) will be a five minute, 4-on-4 period. If a penalty occurs, a penalty shot will be awarded.

Gate One of Xcel Energy Center will open at 2:30 for those planning to attend.

Here is the link to the scrimmage, live at 3:00 p.m.