You never know what to expect at a Minnesota Wild practice, or I would suspect, any professional sports team practice. People that cover the team try to be in attendance for most practices because there’s always a chance that there will be some big news coming from the locker room. Maybe an injured player will return. Maybe there’s a heated battle during an intense drill. Maybe a young guy like Marco Scandella gets called up and is getting set to make his NHL debut.
It’s always entertaining when there is news, because several people will immediately pull out their phones and start clacking away on the little keys trying to get a tweet out there.
Today felt like a day where some big news would be announced, and then practice happened. There was really nothing, and that’s not such a bad thing. I expected there might be some news surrounding Cal Clutterbuck and his upper body injury, but there wasn’t much. Clutterbuck was given the day off, but Head Coach Todd Richards says he believes “he’ll be ready to play tomorrow.”
Richards said the team isn’t even considering a callup at this point, which seems to be further indication that folks are expecting Clutterbuck to go.
Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. This is the same guy that suffered a high ankle sprain (usually a four to six week affliction) early last season, and was back exactly two weeks later. The guy’s a gamer, and seems to be in the mold of an Andrew Brunette, Nick Schultz or Greg Zanon (to name just a few), who will play through almost anything. And now I realize I’m starting to sound like Ron Jaworski gushing over Michael Vick.
As for the other injured guys – Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Chuck Kobasew and Guillaume Latendresse – none appear to be close to returning. Richards said they are “progressing” but didn’t have a timetable for any of them. Bouchard is still skating with the team, and Kobasew and Latendresse are skating on their own.
And that was pretty much it, for the news, but this is going to be an interesting week. The red hot Anaheim Ducks, who were considered one of the worst teams in the League about three weeks ago, are now sitting fourth in the Western Conference after rattling off six wins and a shootout loss to Chicago on Sunday. The Ducks get in late tonight after a game in Dallas.
Following that, the Wild gets 11-3-1 Detroit on the road, and then the New York Rangers on Saturday. This is going to be a fun stretch. All we’ve got to do is slog through this dreary Tuesday, and we’re there.