It seems like a long time since the Minnesota Wild has held a normal practice at Xcel Energy Center, which may explain why there was a fairly large media contingent at today’s practice.
Fortunately for all the media bottom feeders, there was plenty of news coming out of the scrum with Todd Richards, who was sporting a Team Canada hat after losing a bet with Equipment Manager Tony Dacosta on who would win the World Junior semifinal between the United States and Canada. We all missed out, however. If the U.S. had won, Tony would have had to put on red, white and blue face paint. Let’s hope the same bet is made next year.
First off, Patrick O’Sullivan was placed on waivers today and did not practice. There’s no word on what will happen to O’Sullivan if he clears, but it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be in a Wild uniform again.
“Consistency,” said Richards. “He can do some good things with the puck in the hard areas, but we need more of that on a consistent basis.”
Richards later pointed out that the Wild claimed O’Sullivan when there were still questions about if and when Pierre-Marc Bouchard would get into the lineup. Now that Bouchard is back and healthy, the Wild didn’t need two of the same type of wingers. The team already has playmakers on the wing like Andrew Brunette, Martin Havlat and Bouchard. “We need something different,” said Richards.
Jose Theodore also did not practice today due to a sore hip. Richards said he saw the doctor yesterday and they’ll wait to see how he feels tomorrow prior to a huge matchup with the eighth place Colorado Avalanche.
“More than likely, Khudobin will get the start and we’ll see if Theodore can back him up,” said Richards.
It sounds like the Wild will call up Matt Hackett from Houston as a precaution. But that would be the only move, at least for now. Richards is satisfied with going with the 12 healthy forwards and six defensemen currently at his disposal.
Finally, there will be a feature story on Wild.com in the next hour or so about the intensity of the rivalry between the Avs and Wild, which was ratcheted up after the last meeting. After some chippy play, Cal Clutterbuck lashed out with some pointed comments about two Avs players, and then saw a Denver beat writer call him a “coward” in a blog post.
As silly as that was, give credit to that beat writer who showed up to today’s morning skate and had a long talk with Clutterbuck about his game, and many other things. As always, Cal was more than happy to talk and had some gems.
He was talking about how his reputation as a “dirty” player is unwarranted because he gets called for so few penalties, and almost no boarding, charging or checking from behind calls. I asked him if he’d ever been called for a head shot and he said, “I got one my first year in Vancouver, but it was on (Alexandre) Burrows, so we’ll forget about that one. It’s a wash.”
He said he won’t be surprised if Avalanche players target him, “but what else is new?”
That about does it.