Good afternoon from St. Paul, where there were some exciting injury updates this morning. As I was working on the game preview for tonight’s Wild game in St. Louis, I got an email from Wild PR guru Ryan Stanzel letting me know goalie Josh Harding would be skating in full gear this morning for the first time since preseason.
After hustling to the rink, I checked in with Hards, who informed me that he got back from the doctor and just had to tape a stick before he’d suit up. As I was watching Harding practice at Xcel Energy Center, I couldn’t help but think of the irony that he is finally back in full gear the same day the Wild face the Blues, the team he injured his knee against in preseason action.
Also making some news on the injury front was defenseman Marco Scandella, who skated for the first time since getting hit in the head by a puck on Jan. 14. While he did not wear full gear, opting for a sweat suit and helmet, it was good to see him out on the ice since he’s been sidelined with concussion symptoms.
Harding and Scandella were joined on the ice by Marek Zidlicky, Guillaume Latendresse, James Sheppard and Wild Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Pietrzak-Wegner, who manned the net opposite Harding.
As for the Wild net in St. Louis, Jose Theodore will get the start, while Niklas Backstrom will be in goal against the Blues tomorrow in St. Paul. Get all the details of tonight’s game in the preview here.
Of course, tomorrow’s game is the finale of this year’s Hockey Day Minnesota. The annual event will be another day-long celebration of the game we all love. Check out all of the HDM content here.
Finally, congratulations to Jason Sprague of Vadnais Heights for winning the Wild Backyard Rinks Contest, presented by The Home Depot. And speaking of outdoor hockey rinks, the Wild announced today it will hold an outdoor practice for the first time in team history. Fans are welcome to attend the practice at the Guidant John Rose MN OVAL in Roseville on Feb. 19. Get those details here.