The Minnesota Wild just wrapped up their morning skate and then began furiously packing their equipment bags for a quick flight to Columbus. Head Coach Todd Richards told the media today that tonight’s game will be the measuring stick for how training camp went. He’ll have a mostly full roster, and he wants to see his team in regular season for tonight.
Guillaume Latendresse did not skate today, and he will not travel with the team. He is nursing a sore hip flexor, but Richards said it is not serious. He equated it to Cam Barker’s hip injury, which is also not serious. Barker will not play tonight.
For tonight’s lineup, Cal Clutterbuck will hop up to the line with Martin Havlat and Matt Cullen. Eric Nystrom will take Clutter’s spot on a line with John Madden and Chuck Kobasew. The fourth line will be Kyle Brodziak centering Matt Kassian and Brad Staubitz. That means Casey Wellman will not play tonight.
Richards hadn’t decided on defensemen for tonight, but Clayton Stoner will not be one of them. Stoner will be left home. Niklas Backstrom will play the first two periods tonight, and Anton Khudobin will get the third. Backstrom will get the entire game on Thursday against Columbus.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard skated again today with his teammates. He had the same green jersey on like all of the forwards, but then again, there is no contact during morning skates anyway. I guess what I’m saying is there is no new information on him. How’s that for wasting a paragraph with absolutely zero good information in it?
In a little over 48 hours, the team will be bound for Finland, so as a special treat, Mikko Koivu will be answering fan questions this week. Here’s the catch: because the team has a game on Thursday and then immediately departs, fans only have about 24 hours to submit their questions. So as soon as the Question form is posted on Wild.com in the next 20 minutes or so, get your questions in prontisimo.