Andrew Brunette missed a second consecutive day of practice with a hip flexor issue, which puts his status for Thursday’s home opener in question. Brunette said he is hopeful that he’ll be able to go, and he expects to, but there is some uncertainty there.
Head Coach Todd Richards said Brunette has progressed each of the last two days, but he said he’ll speak to Bruno again today and first thing in the morning to see how he’s feeling. He did say Doc Fuller expects him to be able to go.
If Brunette can’t play, the Wild will need to call up a forward from Houston, and Richards confirmed that player would likely be Casey Wellman if necessary.
As for everybody else, the team appears healthy. Marek Zidlicky was again out on the ice for the duration of practice so he’ll make his season debut tomorrow night.
Richards had a long session with the media today, and he touched on a wide array of topics. Some of those include:
Pierre-Marc Bouchard continues to look very good. He’s gaining quickness and although he hasn’t been cleared for contact, he’s been in plenty of drills where there he had to navigate through high traffic areas. “All positive things,” said Richards. When Bouchard eventually is cleared for contact, Richards said he will be eased into it with some pushes and shoves. “We’re not just going to throw him in and have Clutter take a cross-ice run at him and then have Clutter say, ‘Okay, how do you feel now?'”
Justin Falk’s start has been very encouraging, especially the way he’s improved his footwork and poise with the puck.
On the undefeated Oilers, he said they would be confident and tough because they have their “big dogs” back, referring to goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and right wing Ales Hemsky.
Finally, Richards pointed out that the team is only two points out that the team is only two games in and two points (he thought it was one) from a playoff spot and the team is only two games in without having played in North America. He liked how the team performed when it ran into a white hot goaltender on Friday, and he sees no reason for any negativity surrounding the team at this early stage.
Lastly, there are still some tickets available for the opener tomorrow so snap those up if you have the means. If you can’t make the game, there are plenty of other activities to keep you entertained including a Wake Up rally outside Rivercentre tomorrow morning, and a red carpet event in the afternoon. Click here for more details on those events, and more surrounding Opening Night.