The big news out of Wild practice late this morning is that Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky took the ice with the team for the first time since injuring his shoulder Dec. 29 against San Jose. Zidlicky earned a nice round of stick taps from his teammates on ice to begin practice this morning.
While it is a good sign that Zidlicky is back on the ice, it does not mean he is ready for game action, or really, even practice action. Zidlicky wore a yellow practice jersey to stand out against the rest of the players and remind them he is still in the no-hitting stage of his recovery. That being said, Zidlicky did participate in most drills and certainly has to feel good to be back at it with the guys.
After practice both Todd Richards and Zidlicky reiterated that his return to practice is just a step in his comeback and the timeline of his recovery is still very much day-to-day. Listen to the post-practice reaction in today’s PONDcast here and watch what Zidlicky had to say here.
The regular Wild lineup of late looks good to go tomorrow since every player was on the ice today. Richards would not confirm who will be in net tomorrow for the Wild, but very much hinted at the obvious choice in Niklas Backstrom. As far as the Avalanche coming to town, it will be interesting to see if the Wild has to face Peter Forsberg, who recently signed with the Avs to take yet another shot at a NHL comeback. Regardless if the Wild has to face Forsberg, it will be up against a tough Colorado team in a game where it wants to come away with two points after ending the road trip with a tough loss in Phoenix.
As if the possible return of Forsberg or an intense division battle wasn’t reason enough for you to make it down to Xcel Energy Center tomorrow night, don’t forget the Wild will also be honoring Andrew Brunette in a pre-game ceremony for recently hitting the 1,000-game milestone. I’ve seen some of the preparation for the ceremony and I think you’ll really enjoy it.
Perhaps the most important and certainly my favorite reason as to why people should be fighting over tickets to tomorrow’s game: the traditional Let’s Play Hockey! call will be made by Brunette’s brother, Jamie, and Bruno’s beloved golden retriever, Simon! A cute dog starting off the Wild game? Come on people – you should be camping out to see this! I’m a dog lover so I’ll even make it easy for you, just click here.
Finally, don’t forget to come meet Martin Havlat and Guillaume Latendresse at tonight’s Hockey Unplugged at The Dog House Bar and Grill in Maplewood. The event starts at 7 p.m. and you can get more information by clicking here.