Minnesota Wild Head Coach Todd Richards will go with the same lineup used on Monday night in Columbus, with the only change being Niklas Backstrom getting the start in goal.
It’ll be a huge spectacle at Xcel Energy Center tonight when Wild Assistant Equipment Manager Rick Bronwell works his 1,000th professional game. His decorated career started with the Kansas City Blades of the IHL in 1996 and saw stops with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (ECHL), the Houston Aeros (AHL), the San Jose Sharks (NHL) and now the Wild. Bronwell is the Wild’s resident musician, who has played a few gigs over the years. The only gig I saw him play was a jam session on the flight back from Helsinki, Finland, but the man has some serious skills on the axe.
As for hockey outside our borders, the United States improved to 2-0-0 at the World Junior Championship last night with a 6-1 trouncing of Slovakia. It did come at a price, however, as Wild prospect Jason Zucker was crushed in the head with an elbow from Edmonton Oiler prospect Martin Marincin. Marincin was given a match penalty for intent to injure, and he’ll be suspended at least one game.
If you saw the video, you may have wondered why a United States player didn’t jump to Zucker’s defense and go after Marincin. Fighting is essentially outlawed at the World Juniors, and that will earn you a match penalty as well. The games are too important for the U.S. to lose a skilled player in a short tournament.
There are many arguments for and against fighting in hockey, but this would be an argument for the “pro-fighting” crowd. You can’t just let a guy get away with a hit like that, especially when he plays for a team that has little to no hope of winning the tournament. A one or two-game suspension hurts a lot less than taking a pummeling from an opponent seeking revenge.
Anyway, the United States takes on Germany tomorrow night, and hopefully Zucker is able to go.
Erik Haula picked up an assist for the second straight game as Finland beat Switzerland, 4-0 yesterday. And Sweden defeated Russia, 2-0 yesterday. Johan Larsson did not have a point, and Johan Gustafsson has yet so play in goal for the Swedes.