Tag Archives: Matt Kassian

Wild Signs Powe, Taffe; “Becoming Wild” Premieres July 8

Good afternoon, Wild fans!

There was plenty of big Wild news over the 4th of July holiday and there continued to be more announcements today. OK, so maybe today’s news isn’t quite at “blockbuster” level like the trade Sunday night, but there is certainly plenty of cool stuff to tell you about.

Firstly, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher announced this afternoon that the Wild has signed center Darroll Powe to a three-year contract and center Jeff Taffe to a one-year, two-way contract.  You’ll remember, the Wild acquired the 26-year-old Powe from Philadelphia for a 2013 third-round draft pick on June 27 and held his rights as a restricted free agent. He registered 17 points (7-10=17) and 41 PIM in 81 games for Philly last season, leading the Flyers with 196 hits and setting career highs in assists and points. The Saskatoon, Sask., native played three NHL seasons with the Flyers after signing as a free agent out of Princeton University. It was also announced that Powe will wear No. 14 with the Wild. Hear what Powe had to say about the contract here.

Many Minnesota hockey fans remember Taffe, the former Golden Gopher from Hastings. The 30-year-old notched 67 points (30-37=67) in 74 games for the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs last season, skating in one game with the Chicago Blackhawks. The 1999 Mr. Hockey Minnesota has posted 44 points in 175 NHL games with Phoenix, the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh, Florida and Chicago. Stay up to date with all of the Wild signings on the transactions page and contract chart on wild.com

Of course, many fans are still talking about the trade the Wild made Sunday night with San Jose, acquiring Dany Heatley for Martin Havlat. If you were too busy having picnics and lighting fireworks to get all of the details on the deal, click here for audio, video and more. The Hockey Lodge also sent over the first photo of Heatley’s new Wild jersey, which is currently available at the Xcel Energy Center Hockey Lodge location and is available for pre-orders on hockeylodge.com. It’ll take some time to get used to the new names on the No. 10 and 15 jerseys, but there have been plenty of fans making us aware that they are excited to see the former Sharks skate with the Wild.

Secondly, the Wild also announced today that it has named John Torchetti as new head coach of the Houston Aeros. Torchetti fills the spot of Mike Yeo, who of course left Houston to become the new Wild head coach. The 46-year-old Boston native comes to the Aeros after serving as an associate coach for the Atlanta Thrashers last season. His 27 years of professional hockey experience as a player, coach and manager include NHL coaching experience with Tampa Bay, Florida, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. For the full announcement and audio of Torchetti’s reaction to the announcement, click here.

Finally, the Wild announced a really cool project with FOX Sports North and Olson that I’d bet Wild fans will love. “Becoming Wild,” presented by Toyota, is a six-part TV series that documents the Wild offseason through unprecedented, behind-the-scenes coverage of the hockey operations department. I’d say it’s similar to the NHL’s 24-7 series on HBO this year. One of the best parts about the series, which will premiere on July 8 after the Twins game on FS North, is that filming started before any of this summer’s excitement and drama happened, meaning it was caught on camera and fans will get to see it. For more on the series, including broadcast dates and clips of the premiere episode, click here. Outtakes and full episodes will be available on wild.com after the premiere of that episode airs on FS North. I was lucky enough to get to watch the first episode, which covers the Aeros run to the Calder Cup Finals, and will tell you two things: 1. I don’t know how anyone will watch the episode and not be incredibly excited to see Mike Yeo coach the Wild and 2. While the coaches-healthy scratches scrimmage is a great scene, not all of the best parts are given away in the preview clips. There’s a Matt Kassian vs. the rest of the team discussion about whether he could fight Manny Pacquiao that could well be a fan favorite.

Kassian Comes Up; Earl Goes Down

The Minnesota Wild will make yet another transaction today as the club is expected to recall LW Matt Kassian from the Houston Aeros, while LW Robbie Earl will return to the Aeros.

Kassian was recalled last week, but reassigned after the Wild’s win over Nashville on Friday. Earl came up on the 13th of November and played six games without registering a point.

Kassian is expected to join the team in Calgary this afternoon, and should be available for tonight’s game. He will not arrive in time for the team’s morning skate.

Falk And Kassian Recalled

With one call to Houston, the Minnesota Wild will be getting a lot bigger in advance of its game tomorrow night. You’d think the big, bad Philadelphia Flyers were coming into town.

Tomorrow morning, the Wild will recall 6-foot-5 defenseman Justin Falk and 6-foot-5 winger Matt Kassian. Both will be in Minnesota in time for tomorrow’s tilt with the Flyers, which will also feature the Wild debut of Patrick O’Sullivan.

Falk played in 16 of the Wild’s first 17 games before being reassigned to Houston last week. He played his first game of the season with Houston on Friday, and Aeros General Manager Jim Mill said he was the best defenseman on the ice. He played two more games over the weekend and helped the Aeros to a 2-1 record while notching one assist.

Kassian returns to the Wild after playing two games with the big club earlier this month. He did not register a point, but logged his first NHL fight against Jared Boll of Columbus in his second game. In 17 games with the Aeros, he has a goal and an assist.

In case you’re wondering, the Flyers still have quite a few bruisers in their lineup, including Chris Pronger, Daniel Carcillo and Jody Shelley.

Almond, Kassian Return To Houston

Cody Almond and Matt Kassian have been reassigned to the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League today. Both appeared in the last two Wild games, and neither registered a point. Kassian had his first NHL fight last night in a first period tussle with Columbus’ Jared Boll.

With four days off before the Wild’s next game in Atlanta, the moves make sense. With no developments on the five Wild players currently injured, there’s a good possibility that these two, or another Aero join the team for Thursday’s game.

The Aeros are heating up, winning their fourth straight last night over Oklahoma City. Fridley’s Jared Palmer picked up a goal and two assists. And Robbie Earl scored a goal, giving him points in five of the last six games.

Bouchard To Meet With Doctors Today

If you’re sick of hearing every detail about Pierre-Marc Bouchard, you’re not alone. Bouchard himself is getting tired of answering questions about his return. But until he does, we’re looking for positive signs and there was another one today.

Bouchard will meet with a doctor today, and assuming that goes well, he could get clearance to play this weekend. Todd Richards said that if he does get the green light, and Butch feels ready, he will likely be sent to Houston for a rehab assignment.

We hope to find out the results of Butch’s meeting today, but if not, we’ll know at practice tomorrow.

As you know, Colton Gillies was already sent to Houston today, but that doesn’t mean anybody else is close to returning. Richards said the team would make a call up today, and while he didn’t say who that would be, all signs are pointing to it being Matt Kassian, literally. His nameplate was on the locker stall that Gillies previously occupied.

Not much news other than that. Today was an optional practice, so about half the team was on the ice. All of the players took part in a team autograph signing in which they all put their Herbie Hancock’s on hundreds of sticks, jerseys and photos.

Heading To Finland?

I’m alone in the stands at Xcel Energy Center right now, and I’m looking at what will closely resemble the team that the Minnesota Wild will be taking to Finland on Thursday night.

First, Pierre-Marc Bouchard is one of the players out there. Todd Richards started off practice by welcoming him back, which was followed by stick-tapping from the entire team. “Butch” is the only skater in a charcoal grey jersey, which obviously means “do not hit unless you want to spend the rest of your career in Siberia.”

Now then, there are five players that are still here that could be considered “question marks,” or guys that were fighting for roster spots. They are forwards Matt Kassian and Casey Wellman, and defensemen Drew Bagnall, Justin Falk and Marco Scandella.

Although we don’t have official word, that likely means everybody who is not on the ice has been sent to Houston. Probably the biggest surprises are Robbie Earl and Nate Prosser. Earl saw a lot of time up here last year, and was one of the best players early in training camp. Prosser was solid in preseason games, but it appears that they want him to get more seasoning in Houston.

The most surprising name has to be Kassian. The rugged winger has turned some heads with his willingness to stick up for teammates and drop the gloves. He’s also shown some offensive skills, getting a couple chances in Saturday’s game against Philadelphia. Stay tuned to more news about today’s roster moves on Wild.com, where we’ll have feedback from Head Coach Todd Richards and General Manager Chuck Fletcher.

Wellman With Latendresse And Cullen

Casey Wellman will get his first taste of a Wild preseason game tonight, and he’ll have some talented players on his line. Wellman will be on the wing with Matt Cullen as the center, and Guillaume Latendresse on the other side. They’ll make up the “second” line.

Eric Nystrom and Kyle Brodziak will also get their first preseason action of the year. They’ll be on the “top” line with Antti Miettinen. The third line will have Warren Peters centering Colton Gillies and Carson McMillan. Cody Almond will center Brett Bulmer and Matt Kassian. That could be an interesting line to watch, because you know Kassian will want to show off his willingness to brawl at some point. And Bulmer already has a reputation as a sandpaper player, and he’ll want to mix it up a bit as well.

On defense, Cam Barker and Clayton Stoner will be back on the ice. Barker is paired with Nate Prosser, while Stoner will play with Tyler Cuma. Greg Zanon and Marek Zidlicky will be the top defensive pairing.

Jon DiSalvatore and Maxim Noreau will be with the team, but they are not expected to play.

Head Coach Todd Richards said the Wild will play these three games in three nights before making another round of cuts on Monday. He says that will be a pretty large number of players that get sent away because he wants to be close to a final roster for those last two preseason games in North America.