In just a few hours, the Wild will be hitting the ice for pregame warmups, and their will be another team at the end of the rink. Tonight’s game will be just another step in the Wild’s quest for a perfect season. Thus far, the club is 4-0 after tearing through Traverse City with a bunch of young, fiery kids.
Phase II begins tonight. The club will aim for a 7-0-0 preseason, followed by 82 regular season wins, and 16 playoff victories. By my count, that would be a 109-0-0 record, and I’ll have to do some background checking, but I’m guessing it would be an NHL first. We should expect no less.
Others here on the banks of the Mississippi might be a little more cautious when talking about 109 wins. They might say something more to the tune of “preseason games don’t matter” or “let’s take it one game at a time.”
Fair enough. Let’s take tonight’s game. The Blues are coming in with a mish-mash of NHLers and minor leaguers. They’re also coming off a loss at home to Colorado last night. I predict it will take them awhile to get their legs going, and the fresh Wild players will take advantage.
Brent Burns opens the scoring, with Brad Boyes tying the game late in the third. A big second period by the Wild stretches the lead to 3-1 on goals by Chuck Kobasew and Andrew Brunette. Matt Cullen adds an empty netter, and there you have it! The Wild moves to five wins, zero losses on the season.
The Wild is expected to make its first roster cutdown following tonight’s game. It will most likely be guys who will go back to junior teams, but there might also be some AHL guys that get cut early. It’s pretty clear that the majority of these six North American preseason games are going to be played by veterans. Houston Aeros training camp starts Monday, so that will give some guys the chance to get down there and get settled before camp kicks off.
Speaking of Houston, Aeros General Manager Jim Mill is slated to be the next Wild.com live chat guest tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. Didn’t I tell you the guests would get more interesting than me? Jim can talk Aeros hockey, Aeros coaches, training camp, Traverse City or anything else you can think of. Granted, there might be some questions he can’t answer, but he’s a nice gentleman. I’m guessing he can answer some questions without really answering them. That’s the true test of a General Manager anyway.
Enjoy the game tonight if you’re coming, and if you’re not, there will be live in-game commentary for all home preseason games. Road preseason games are for suckers.