Feeling The Intensity

Fans may or may not be discouraged by the Wild’s 0-3-2 preseason thus far. I know I’m a little befuddled because not more than a couple weeks ago, I predicted a 119-0-0 season for the Wild, which included the Prospects Tournament, preseason, regular season and 16 playoff games. Hopefully, you didn’t go to Vegas with that bet, but I wouldn’t have blamed you if you did. I can be very persuasive.

I’m not going to change my tune today, either. Yes, the Wild fell in a shootout last night, but I watched the Wild’s practice today, and it was intense. Bodies were banging, sticks and gloves were getting higher than normal. The speed was top notch. You could sense today was the turnaround, and I’m almost feeling bad for the Blue Jackets when they roll into town tomorrow night. It won’t be pretty.

Marek Zidlicky did not practice today because of a charley horse suffered early in last night’s game. He is listed as day-to-day as are Guillaume Latendresse and Cam Barker who are out with hip injuries. Latendresse will probably not be in the lineup tomorrow night.

It will be interesting to see if the Wild keeps all nine defensemen with the big club for the trip to Finland. Chuck Fletcher said on Monday that he’ll likely send one blueliner down before the trip, but with Barker and Zidlicky injured, the team may want some healthy bodies, considering it will be practicing in Helsinki for a week, and playing an exhibition game on Monday.

The scariest and funniest moment of the day came during the team’s work on power play and penalty kill. At one end of the ice, the power play unit was going up against the penalty killers. Marco Scandella, who was killing the penalty, fired the puck out of the zone and sent it sailing through the neutral zone. The only problem was that is where Pierre-Marc Bouchard was hanging out because he’s still not cleared for contact. Bouchard ducked at the last instant and the puck missed him by inches. He immediately started laughing, but just to take extra precaution, he sat on the bench for the rest of the drill.

Finally, make sure you check out some of the Wild rooms that were submitted for the “Is It In Your Blood? Wild Rooms” contest. I was blown away how many people have Wild and hockey-themed rooms. It was a challenge for the judges and I just to narrow the finalists down to 10 (I settled for 11). Because I must be liked, I forced Brad Bombardir to pick the ultimate winner, and he chose Stacy Nilson’s kitchen, which is completely decked out in Wild colors. It’s not often you see a kitchen with a sports team theme, and that’s what sold Bombardir.

Stacy now wins two tickets to Opening Night. If you didn’t win, I’m sorry, but there will be another contest in October. I won’t reveal what it is just yet, but if I were you I would start thinking of your Halloween costume now.

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