Tag Archives: Marek Zidlicky

Wild World Championship Update

Last week, Dennis Endras started things off the right way for players with Wild ties at the IIHF World Championship. He posted a shut out of Russia in the opening game of the tournament. He appeared to set the tone for some other players of interest to Wild fans.

Mikael Granlund has had himself a nice showing through two games in helping Finland go 2-0. The 2010 first round pick tallied a power play goal in a 5-1 win over Denmark, becoming the first Team Finland player born in the 1990’s to register a goal in World Championship competition. In a 3-2 shootout win over Latvia, Granlund picked up assists on both regulation goals and would have been Finland’s final shooter in the shootout if not for Mikko Koivu sealing the win with his patented backhand roof shot on the glove hand side. Koivu also has an assist through two games.

Finland’s next opponent will be the Czech Republic, which is also 2-0 thus far.  Martin Havlat is tied for the team lead in scoring with a goal and two assists, while Marek Zidlicky has one helper.

Brent Burns and Cal Clutterbuck each have a point for undefeated Team Canada, with Burns notching a goal and Clutterbuck assisting on a Travis Zajac tally in a 9-1 rout of France. Canada is currently trailing Switzerland, 1-0 in the final game of pool play.

Wild Smiles; Blueline Questions

4 p.m. Update: The Wild has indeed made a call to Houston, recalling defensemen Justin Falk and Maxim Noreau from the Aeros.

TGIF, Wild fans! Fridays are always fun, but even more so after a Wild victory.

I know I’ve spent the past few days talking about how the Wild’s barely celebrated the end of its winless streak, but the scene in the locker room today was a lot more fun. Kyle Brodziak and James Sheppard deserve gold stars for their turns at running the locker room iPod. I want to leave most of the details in the room, so I’ll just say some stellar 80’s and 90’s hits caused plenty of jokes and fun. It was great to see the guys smiling and enjoying themselves because they deserve to let off a little steam with two straight wins after such a stressful and difficult stretch which must have tested their pride.

Not much news was expected out of the Wild’s short practice at Xcel Energy Center late this morning but unfortunately, there was plenty of not-so-good surprises. Marek Zidlicky and Nick Schultz both missed the skate with injuries and Head Coach Todd Richards said afterward that they are questionable for tomorrow’s game. Cam Barker continued to practice with the team but will again be questionable to get back into the lineup. Making matters worse, Brent Burns left the ice and is now questionable for tomorrow’s game after a very innocent-looking and weird play in practice.

In a simple drill where players line up, take a pass mid-ice and go in to shoot, Burns seemed to lose his footing all alone at center ice, with one of his skates slipping out underneath him. It looked like absolutely nothing until Burns remained down on ice, stretching out his leg before skating to the bench and walking down the runway with a look of pain on his face. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke, unless Todd Richards was in on it, too, saying Burns is now a question mark for tomorrow.

With four defensemen questionable for tomorrow’s early afternoon game, the Wild is likely to recall a few blueliners from Houston. Richards said Backstrom will start against the Lightning, who clinched a playoff spot with a win against Pittsburgh yesterday, and Theodore will get the nod in Detroit Sunday. A sidenote: did you see Backs’ awesome toe save last night? You’ll want to watch it over and over.

Listen to Richards’ comments after practice in today’s Minnesota Wild PONDcast.

With tomorrow’s game six hours earlier than the typical contest, I asked Matt Cullen and Jared Spurgeon about how the change will impact their day. A 1 p.m. start means the usual morning skate won’t be an option for the players. Cullen said his day will just start earlier than normal, that he’ll stick to the same schedule and just push everything up. Cullen said he’ll get up early, try to get outside and get his body moving and will probably end up having an extra cup of coffee.

On the other hand, Jared Spurgeon plans to sleep in and try to eat as big a breakfast as possible since he won’t be having two meals before the game. However, both players were on the same page when it came to their plans for the rink.  To those two at least, it doesn’t matter when the game starts, they’ll just back track from the time of puck drop and do their typical tasks in the arena, getting to the Xcel Energy Center with the same amount of time to prepare as usual.

Glen will be back from Florida and is planning on making his return to live,  in-game commentary tomorrow, so you can count on a high level of wit returning to wild.com. No jokin’.

Have a great Friday afternoon!

Zidlicky Back at Practice; Schultz Family Addition

The Wild was back in action Friday morning, albeit at a suburban ice rink thanks to Kenny Chesney’s concert at Xcel Energy Center tonight. That didn’t stop the Wild from having an intense practice that lasted more than an hour and saw the team work on quite a few things, including breakouts and ending the day with physical battles around the net.

The big news this morning was that Marek Zidlicky returned to practice for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury nearly two weeks ago in Vancouver. Zidlicky’s addition was dampened by the fact that Cal Clutterbuck was ill and did not practice. Whether Cal and Marek can play tomorrow, or the Wild goes with seven defensemen, or the the team needs to recall a player from Houston (Warren Peters cleared waivers and was reassigned to Houston today) will all be determined tomorrow.

“I feel much better today, so we’ll see tomorrow,” said Zidlicky. “I felt well. I felt much better. So, I’ll try a hard practice tomorrow morning and will see after it.”

While Head Coach Todd Richards couldn’t yet determine if Zidlicky or Clutterbuck would be in the lineup against St. Louis, he did say that none of the team’s current injured players – Barker, Harding, Latendresse, Scandella and Sheppard – would play tomorrow.

Beyond the Wild trying to end its homestand with a win, tomorrow’s game against the Blues should be very interesting because of the team’s earlier two games this season. If you recall, the Wild grabbed a 5-4 shootout win in St. Louis on Feb. 11 before hosting the Blues the next night in St. Paul, coming away with a 3-1 win on Hockey Day Minnesota. Both games were very physical, the last of which ended with a skirmish between the teams at the final buzzer, most noticeably when Clayton Stoner did this to David Backes:

Stoner joked about facing Backes at Hockey Unplugged this Wednesday saying, “Do you think he’ll want to or what? Well I don’t know; when you got beat up on the playground, did you ask the guy to go again?” Stoner then said in all seriousness they’ve each had good nights against the other and seemed to give the same sentiments when asked about another set of back-to-back games with the Blues.

“They’re the type of team that always plays hard, they play with a lot of grit, so when you’re matched up against those teams and especially another home-and-home with them, it’s going to be a battle,” said Stoner. “Going into the game you know that it might be an extra-intense game, especially with what’s on the line with us, wanting some redemption in a sense that we lost the last couple of games here.”

Richards also spoke about facing the Blues, saying, “I think players remember; we all remember, especially how that one game ended here at home. St. Louis is playing hard right now and we’ve got to be ready for that.”

In some off-ice news, the Wild family grew by one when Nick Schultz’s wife, Jessica, gave birth to the couple’s third child this morning. Schultz was at practice today and was all smiles when talking about 6-pound, 2-ounce Sydney Marie. “It was pretty quick,” said Schultz. “Luckily it happened when it did, which was nice to be around for it.” Congratulations to the Schultz Family!

For the full recap of this morning’s Wild practice, listen to today’s PONDcast

Zidlicky A Gametime Decision

Happy Hockey Weekend Across America, America. Here’s a special Hockey Day holiday greeting from the Wild office folks, including team curator/Moose Goheen promoter, Roger Godin, who is rocking his beloved St. Paul Athletic Club jersey on the far right.

The big news out of today’s morning skate is that Marek Zidlicky may return to the blueline for tonight’s huge tilt against the Anaheim Ducks. Head Coach Todd Richards said Zidlicky would be a gametime decision, and Zidlicky was unavailable for comment.

If he does return, Richards will likely go with seven defenseman, which means a forward will have to come out of the lineup. We probably won’t know much more until warmups, but Niklas Backstrom is the starting goaltender tonight.

A couple other things of note: because this is Hockey Weekend in America, please make a special note that Sunday’s game against Detroit will be at 11:30 a.m. At that game, the Wild Better Halves will be hosting a $20 Mystery Puck sale for the Angel Foundation. Some pucks have a bonus ticket that entitles additional autographed Wild memorabilia (jerseys, etc.).

And of course, tomorrow the Wild will host an outdoor practice, open to the general public. The practice will start at 11:30 a.m. at the John Rose OVAL in Roseville.

Feeling The Love In St. Paul

Happy Birthday to Eric Nystrom, and a Happy Valentine’s Day from downtown St. Paul, which in my opinion, far outranks Paris in the Springtime as the most romantic place on earth. The red hot Minnesota Wild players are feeling the love, and the confidence of a team on a roll.

After a day off, the club got back on the ice to prepare for tomorrow’s game against the West’s number one team, the Vancouver Canucks. The big news today was Marek Zidlicky wearing the same color jersey as all of the other defensemen. That means he’s been cleared for contact and is taking another step toward a return. It’s doubtful that the return comes tomorrow or Wednesday, but it sure seems as though he’s getting close.

Niklas Backstrom will get the start in goal tomorrow, but it’s unknown if he or Jose Theodore will face the Blackhawks in Chicago on Wednesday.

Head Coach Todd Richards was asked if he thought his team was walking with some swagger right now, and he admitted they were. “I think the guys have earned it, and you have to have some confidence when you play. One of the big differences from the start of the year to now is confidence.”

Richards also talked about the play of his defense and goaltending, but attributed a lot of that success to the way the offense is playing. “We spend more time in the offensive zone, and you don’t have to spend as much time in your own zone. A lot of times, you’re wearing the other team down.”

Click here to watch what Richards had to say after practice. Click here to listen to today’s Minnesota Wild PONDcast.

Injury Updates From St. Paul

Good afternoon from St. Paul, where there were some exciting injury updates this morning. As I was working on the game preview for tonight’s Wild game in St. Louis, I got an email from Wild PR guru Ryan Stanzel letting me know goalie Josh Harding would be skating in full gear this morning for the first time since preseason.

After hustling to the rink, I checked in with Hards, who informed me that he got back from the doctor and just had to tape a stick before he’d suit up. As I was watching Harding practice at Xcel Energy Center, I couldn’t help but think of the irony that he is finally back in full gear the same day the Wild face the Blues, the team he injured his knee against in preseason action.

Also making some news on the injury front was defenseman Marco Scandella, who skated for the first time since getting hit in the head by a puck on Jan. 14. While he did not wear full gear, opting for a sweat suit and helmet, it was good to see him out on the ice since he’s been sidelined with concussion symptoms.

You can see video of Scandella going up against Harding (green jersey) this morning on the Wild Facebook Page.

Harding and Scandella were joined on the ice by Marek Zidlicky, Guillaume Latendresse, James Sheppard and Wild Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Pietrzak-Wegner, who manned the net opposite Harding.

As for the Wild net in St. Louis, Jose Theodore will get the start, while Niklas Backstrom will be in goal against the Blues tomorrow in St. Paul. Get all the details of tonight’s game in the preview here.

Of course, tomorrow’s game is the finale of this year’s Hockey Day Minnesota. The annual event will be another day-long celebration of the game we all love. Check out all of the HDM content here.

Finally, congratulations to Jason Sprague of Vadnais Heights for winning the Wild Backyard Rinks Contest, presented by The Home Depot. And speaking of outdoor hockey rinks, the Wild announced today it will hold an outdoor practice for the first time in team history. Fans are welcome to attend the practice at the Guidant John Rose MN OVAL in Roseville on Feb. 19. Get those details here.

Zidlicky Returns To Practice

The big news out of Wild practice late this morning is that Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky took the ice with the team for the first time since injuring his shoulder Dec. 29 against San Jose. Zidlicky earned a nice round of stick taps from his teammates on ice to begin practice this morning.

While it is a good sign that Zidlicky is back on the ice, it does not mean he is ready for game action, or really, even practice action. Zidlicky wore a yellow practice jersey to stand out against the rest of the players and remind them he is still in the no-hitting stage of his recovery. That being said, Zidlicky did participate in most drills and certainly has to feel good to be back at it with the guys.

After practice both Todd Richards and Zidlicky reiterated that his return to practice is just a step in his comeback and the timeline of his recovery is still very much day-to-day. Listen to the post-practice reaction in today’s PONDcast here and watch what Zidlicky had to say here.

The regular Wild lineup of late looks good to go tomorrow since every player was on the ice today. Richards would not confirm who will be in net tomorrow for the Wild, but very much hinted at the obvious choice in Niklas Backstrom. As far as the Avalanche coming to town, it will be interesting to see if the Wild has to face Peter Forsberg, who recently signed with the Avs to take yet another shot at a NHL comeback. Regardless if the Wild has to face Forsberg, it will be up against a tough Colorado team in a game where it wants to come away with two points after ending the road trip with a tough loss in Phoenix.

As if the possible return of Forsberg or an intense division battle wasn’t reason enough for you to make it down to Xcel Energy Center tomorrow night, don’t forget the Wild will also be honoring Andrew Brunette in a pre-game ceremony for recently hitting the 1,000-game milestone. I’ve seen some of the preparation for the ceremony and I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Perhaps the most important and certainly my favorite reason as to why people should be fighting over tickets to tomorrow’s game: the traditional Let’s Play Hockey! call will be made by Brunette’s brother, Jamie, and Bruno’s beloved golden retriever, Simon! A cute dog starting off the Wild game? Come on people – you should be camping out to see this! I’m a dog lover so I’ll even make it easy for you, just click here.

Finally, don’t forget to come meet Martin Havlat and Guillaume Latendresse at tonight’s Hockey Unplugged at The Dog House Bar and Grill in Maplewood. The event starts at 7 p.m. and you can get more information by clicking here.