The word that Todd Richards used today in talking about Guillaume Latendresse was “possible.” But judging by the way he was smiling and then talking extensively on what his return would mean, it seems there is little doubt that “Gui” will be the guy tonight.
Latendresse said that if it were up to him, he’d be in and that he’s tired of sitting out.
The timing seems right. This is the Wild’s last home game for the next 10 days, so Richards can use that to his advantage and put Latendresse on the ice in favorable situations. It also comes at a time when the Wild is missing two of its top four goal scorers in Cal Clutterbuck (18) and Mikko Koivu (15).
Make sure you check out Wild TV, which will have videos posted shortly of Richards and Latendresse talking about his return.
Koivu was once again on the ice with the team today, but he won’t play tonight. Clutterbuck did not skate and his status remains a question mark. He definitely will not play tonight, but he is expected to make the trip starting tomorrow.
And speaking of that trip, does it get any bigger? The first two games come against teams that are right there within striking distance – Nashville and Dallas. The final two are coming against teams that should be locks for the postseason, but pose very real threats – Vancouver and San Jose.
It will be a huge challenge for Minnesota, which has played great on the road all season, but hasn’t won a game in any of the four arenas on that trip.
But we’ll worry about that starting tomorrow. Tonight, the Wild has to handle its business against the Avs, who are a shell of their former selves. Remember back to December 23rd (you should because I bring it up every time these two teams have faced each other since)? Following a chippy game, Clutterbuck called out a pair of Avs players – David Koci and Adam Foote – and asserted that the Wild was “coming for them in the standings.”
That’s why Clutter is so beloved – and missed – in Minnesota. You have to like his brashness, but you really have to love it when he backs up his talk. It’s a pretty bold statement to make considering the Wild still trailed Colorado by six points after that Wild victory. Now, Minnesota is 15 points up on the Avs, who are all but eliminated from postseason contention.
So gear up Wild fans. There are still some tickets available for tonight’s expected return of Latendresse in the last home game until March 19.