The All-Star break officially ended today at 2:00 p.m. when the Minnesota Wild took the ice at Xcel Energy Center minus one player. Today’s practice was optional for All-Stars Brent Burns and Martin Havlat. Burns skated, while Havlat opted for a workout instead. Assistant Coach Darby Hendrickson took Havlat’s place on a line with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Kyle Brodziak. I think Darby could still play in this league.
Predictably, this was a long practice as Todd Richards wanted to snap his team out of a break mentality. He repeatedly used the word “edge” as he addressed the media. He wants the team to have an edge early in tomorrow’s game against the Kings, and if they have it, they could jump on a traveling team early.
Of course, tomorrow is Andrew Brunette’s 1000th NHL game, and there will be plenty of attention on him tonight at Hockey Unplugged, tomorrow during the game and on February 9, when he is officially honored by the organization.
As for injury news, Richards said there hasn’t been any progression for Marco Scandella as he recuperates from a concussion. He said Scandella’s return could be soon, or it could be a ways away. He does expect both Marek Zidlicky and Guillaume Latendresse to begin skating soon, although it won’t be with the team to start.
Lastly, Governor Mark Dayton will officially proclaim February 1st as “Defending the Blue Line Day” in Minnesota tomorrow afternoon. The event, which begins at 3:00 p.m. on the State Capitol rotunda, will provide an opportunity for Minnesota political leaders to meet military hockey families from around the state. Service members will be in uniform, and their hockey children will be wearing their local hockey uniforms.