Tag Archives: chuck kobasew

Wellman Reassigned; Noreau Honored

Good afternoon, Wild fans.

As Minnesota looks to make it 16 straight wins against the Oilers at Xcel Energy Center tonight, it will do so without Casey Wellman. The 23-year-old was reassigned to Houston this morning after it was determined Chuck Kobasew’s leg is good to go for tonight’s contest.

Wellman will return to the Aeros, who clinched a spot in the AHL playoffs last night with a San Antonio loss. In addition to a bid in postseason play, congratulations are in order for some other news out of Houston today: defenseman Maxim Noreau was selected as one of six players named to this season’s AHL First All-Star Team. The 23-year-old ranks second on the Aeros and third among all AHL blueliners with 53 points (10-43=53) in 75 games this year.

Speaking of Wild prospects, it was announced today that Merrimack’s Stephane DaCosta has signed with the Ottawa Senators. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher had courted DaCosta after the end of his collegiate season and it was reported the Wild was one of the finalists as the college free agent made his decision of which NHL team to sign with. If there’s any positive from the news, it’s that the Wild will have more money left in the salary cap budget as it works on other signings for next year’s roster.

As far as the current Wild roster, they’re focused on turning the good vibes from Tuesday’s win into a solid performance in front of the home crowd. Eric Nystrom was quick to bring up the subject of the Wild fanbase in his comments after this morning’s skate. See his interview here.

If the Wild was able to select a team to play to get a second straight W, it probably would go with tonight’s opponent. Minnesota has won 15 straight games against the Oilers in St. Paul. Niklas Backstrom, who start in net, is 13-0-0 with a 1.15 GAA and a .955 SV% in his career against Edmonton at Xcel Energy Center. As Cal Clutterbuck said after morning skate, “We don’t want to be the group that lets [the win streak] go tonight.”

Watch Cal’s interview after morning skate here, and see what Todd Richards told the media this morning here.

Finally, don’t forget about the Fan Celebration festivities and “Our Favorite Things” auction at tonight’s game. I discussed the details in yesterday’s Lighthouse, so if you want more information click here and here.

Have a good afternoon. I’ll catch you in live, in-game commentary on wild.com tonight.

Wednesday Practice Update; Backs To Start Thursday

Good afternoon, Wild fans!

The Wild returned to the ice at Xcel Energy Center about 14 hours after clinching a much-needed win in St. Louis last night. While I’m sure there was some relief among the players and staff after Jose Theodore turned aside the final attempt in the shootout, the team was in no way celebrating today.

Head Coach Todd Richards might have summed it up best in his post-practice talk with the media: “Nobody’s happy where we’re at, with everything that went on over the last two weeks. I think we’ll always have that, we’ll always be thinking about these two weeks and really trying to connect the dots and what happened, because we’re a better team than how we’ve been playing.”

Still, the team isn’t spending too much time looking back when it still has games ahead. After last night’s win, Mikko Koivu talked about bringing this type of performance back to St. Paul, saying the team owed to the fans to play better hockey on home ice. Today, Richards said the team has a lot of pride and is striving to give fans a better performance. The head coach was happy with what he saw from his team against the Blues and is looking for the Wild to continue that effort tomorrow night.

Click here to watch the video of Todd Richards’ talk with the media this afternoon.

As far as today’s skate, it was a fairly typical practice. Despite missing last night’s game with a leg injury, Chuck Kobasew practiced today and, as Richards said after the skate, “more than likely will be OK to play” against the Oilers. Cam Barker and James Sheppard also joined the healthy players out on the ice.

Richards said he will have to talk to his staff to determine the lineup for tomorrow’s game, whether Kobasew plays, Wellman is reassigned, or another forward comes out. He did say that Niklas Backstrom will start tomorrow against the Oilers, which isn’t surprising since Backs is 13-0-0 against Edmonton in St. Paul. Yeah, that’s not too shabby.

In addition to the on-ice stuff tomorrow, you’ll want to come down because the game against the Oilers starts the 2011 Wild Fan Celebration. All fans in attendance will have a chance to win the jerseys off the players’ backs, which will be presented to the winning fans on ice following the game. Get all those details here. Additionally, tomorrow’s game will be the final night for the Wild wives and girlfriends “Our Favorite Things” basket auction. I’ve seen some of baskets, and even if you didn’t care about the player-autographed items, you’d still want to bid on one for the sheer number of cool items in them. Get the details on the auction here.

Finally, a special thank you to all the fans who came out to the Mall of America for the Wild Interactive Viewing Party last night along with FS North, Best Buy and SONY. I was busy writing the live, in-game commentary, but it looked like everyone was having a great time and I was glad to see Wild jerseys take over the MOA. Have a good afternoon, all!

Wellman Recalled; Viewing Party Tonight

Happy Tuesday and Wild gameday, State of Hockey! It’s a busy day down here at Wild HQ, but here’s a quick blog for your afternoon enjoyment.

After talking with Head Coach Todd Richards at yesterday’s practice, it didn’t seem there would be any news to report from today’s morning skate in St. Louis. Richards said Mikko Koivu and Chuck Kobasew missed the practice for “maintenance” but that both would be in the lineup against the Blues. However, Kobasew’s leg injury is apparently still bothering him as the Wild recalled Casey Wellman from Houston late this morning to take Kobasew’s spot in the lineup for tonight’s contest in St. Louis.

As the Wild desperately searches to find it’s offensive stride, it should be interesting to watch Wellman’s impact on the lineup. In his most recent recall earlier this month, he played two games, scoring one goal and averaging 9:02 TOI. Wellman is slotted to start the night on the left side of Matt Cullen and Marty Havlat, but as Richards stated yesterday, he is likely to change things up throughout the night in search of some offensive chances. Also, Jose Theodore will get the start in net tonight.

Last, but certainly not least, remember to come out to the Wild Interactive Viewing Party tonight at the Mall of America rotunda. The fun starts at 6 p.m. and will include autographs from Wes Walz, games and cool gadgets from Best Buy and SONY, plus lots of great giveaways including a game-worn Bouchard jersey, video game systems, Wild tickets and much more. Click here for all of the details of tonight’s event. Perhaps the biggest draw of the night is the chance to watch me type like a madwoman as I write the live, in-game commentary of tonight’s game from the party. I hope someone told the MOA to put up some extra crowd-control barriers to handle the huge number of wild.com fans that are sure to show up…

Wild Preps For St. Louis; Viewing Party Tuesday

Good afternoon, State of Hockey Legion! Hope your work weeks are off to a great start. Mine is a little busier than normal since Glen is spending the week with his family in sunny Florida, but no worries wild.com superfans (and I know there a million of you), I’ve got his back.

The Wild had an upbeat practice that lasted about 45 minutes at Xcel Energy Center this morning before departing for St. Louis. Both Mikko Koivu and Chuck Kobasew missed practice, but Head Coach Todd Richards said it was just a maintenance day for each of them and both should be back in the lineup tomorrow night against the Blues. Cam Barker and James Sheppard also took part in practice, but neither will travel to tomorrow’s game, nor will any of the other injured players.

An interesting side note from today’s skate was that much of the team was sporting the clean shaven look. I wasn’t at yesterday’s Wild practice, so I don’t know when exactly the razors came out, but I definitely noticed the lack of facial hair around the locker room today. I counted at least five guys that had trimmed nearly everything off, and I’m sad to say that includes Kyle Brodziak, who had been rocking his Movember stache for the last four months. Brodziak said he just decided to change it up but that it will probably reappear at some point. Farewell, Brodzstache. You made all of your fellow Movember dusters proud.

Onto the business on the ice, it was a fairly typical practice for the Wild, minus some line shuffling to adjust for the absence of Koivu and Kobasew. Richards did say after practice that he will start tomorrow’s game with different lines in hopes to get some productivity and chances in the offensive zone. That means the second and third lines should be shifted around, with Havlat possibly lining up with Cullen and Kobasew like yesterday’s practice. Jose Theodore will start in net tomorrow against the Blues.

In case you missed it, radio play-by-play man Bob Kurtz missed his first Wild game – ever – Saturday night because he was sidelined with a bad sinus infection. Kurtz had previously called all 912 Wild games – including preseason and playoff games – which in itself is an amazing stat. Kurtz is still under the weather so Kevin Falness will once again fill in for him. Feel better, Bob! Listen to Falness’ practice update in today’s PONDcast.

Finally, don’t forget to come join me, other Wild staff members and fans at the Wild Interactive Viewing Party tomorrow night at the Mall of America. Former Wild great Wes Walz will be on hand to sign autographs and there will be a ton of great giveaways including a game-worn Bouchard jersey, video game systems, Wild tickets and much more. Of course, we’ll have the Wild-Blues game on the big screen but the party starts at 6 p.m. so stop by. Get all the details here.

Practice Follow-Up

Carly Peters, Wild digital media coordinator, here. Just wanted to give a quick follow-up to Glen Andresen’s earlier blog with some details from today’s practice.

Thanks to an event at Xcel Energy Center tonight, the team had a quick video session at the arena and then bussed to the suburbs for an off-site practice this morning. After an optional skate yesterday, it wasn’t surprising to see Todd Richards keep his team out on the ice for more than an hour.

Richards utilized many different types of drills, a lot focusing on breakouts from the Wild zone. The players seemed pretty into their work today, shouting with pride and banging their sticks when they were on the winning side of a drill, even toward the end of the skate.

As Glen mentioned in the previous blog, both Chuck Kobasew and Guillaume Latendresse missed practice with groin injuries. Kobasew is day-to-day but Richards said Latendresse will miss tomorrow night’s game against the Capitals. Cam Barker was back at practice, but is still questionable for tomorrow night.

Richards said Gui had a MRI on his groin yesterday and it showed “something wrong” but that he still needed to speak with Head Athletic Therapist Don Fuller to get all the details. When asked if he thought Latendresse would miss more than one game, Richards said “probably” before later adding that he didn’t think the injury is too worrisome; he just thinks Gui needs to be shut down for a little bit but won’t be missing weeks.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard will not be an option for the Wild tomorrow so the team may decide to call up a player from Houston. Who that player might be has yet to be determined.

Richards also said Backstrom will start in net tomorrow against Washington.

As for lines, they remained in tact, with Bouchard taking Latendresse’s spot alongside Cullen and Havlat. Richards did say that he would probably put Kobasew in Latendresse’s spot if he is available to play tomorrow.

We’ll pass along more updates on the lineup after morning skate tomorrow, however, the Capitals play in Carolina tonight, so it’s likely they won’t take the ice until pre-game warm ups.

Latendresse Out Tomorrow

The report from Ryan Stanzel at today’s Wild practice is that Guillaume Latendresse had an MRI taken of his groin yesterday, and Todd Richards ruled him out for tomorrow’s home tilt against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals. Richards said the injury will require rest and recovery, and he doesn’t have a timetable for how long he’ll be out.

Chuck Kobasew is also still being hampered with groin problems, and he is day-to-day. There may be a call to Houston to get another player up in here in case he’s unable to go. At this point, it looks like Colton Gillies will get his first taste of NHL action this year.

Finland Day Four/Five

For whatever reason, it feels like I’ve been in Finland longer than four days. Don’t get me wrong, I love this place. But my hotel room is starting to look and smell like a pack of Finnish reindeer had a party in it. Normally, I’m not one to utilize the housecleaning, but I’m going to have to relent. If anyone on the hotel cleaning crew is reading this, my apologies.

Today’s blog is going to inlcude last night’s game, and then the events of today (there weren’t many).

Last night, the Wild nabbed its first and only win from the preseason. First, the game stuff.

The Wild beat Ilves Tampere, 5-1, but were tied after two periods before beating Sami Aittokallio four times in the third.

Cal Clutterbuck was huge, burying three goals for his first hat trick since “two weeks before camp started at the St. Louis Park Octagon Camp.” All three of Clutter’s goals came on quick wrist shots from around 15 feet away. He was on a line with Matt Cullen and Casey Wellman, and they looked great all game long.

The other two goals were scored by Marek Zidlicky and Chuck Kobasew, and they were the prettiest two goals. Zidlicky worked a give-and-go with Mikko Koivu (who is rather popular here), and then kicked the puck from his left skate to his stick and then fired a wrister through traffic.

Kobasew fought off a defender in front of the net, and with the puck laying between his opponent’s leg, he jammed it on goal and under Aittokallio. Kobasew was upstaged on the play by a jubilant John Madden, who slapped his stick on the ice and then picked up the puck. He said it was his first point ever in Finland. He played here last year with Chicago, and also played two games for I.F.K. during the lockout.

The team bussed back to Helsinki through the darkness and made it back after midnight. That prompted Todd Richards to call off Tuesday’s practice citing the lack of rest his guys have had in the last two weeks.

The team did appear at Hartwall Areena on Tuesday, however. The 100+ Wild fans that traveled from Minnesota were treated to a lunch with the entire team. General Manager Chuck Fletcher gave an opening speech and answered some questions from the fans. As usual, he had some good one-liners, saying the team has really bonded here in Finland…maybe too much considering they spent all Saturday together on Sauna Island.

He also mentioned that the team will have to make the two cuts prior to Wednesday’s game. Those two players have been told they have been placed on waivers, but he didn’t say who they were. We’ll be able to post the names once they are claimed or clear waivers.

Once Chuck was done, the players then entered the arena restaurant which had a castle-style feel to it. The players spread out among all the tables to break bread and sign autographs for the fans. Even Bruce Oreck, the U.S. Ambassador to Finland was in attendance near the end.

The players have the rest of Tuesday to themselves. Tomorrow will be the final practice in preparation for Carolina on Thursday. The Canes arrived in Helsinki last night and were on the ice at Hartwall Areena for the first time today. They lost to SKA-St. Petersburg last night, but I can’t imagine they are too broken up about it. From all accounts, it sounds as if they were just happy to get out of there with everybody’s limbs still attached. Apparently, the Russian team was taking a few too many liberties with the skilled players.