In just over 24 hours, the Minnesota Wild will take the ice finally and officially for the 2011-2012 season.If you want to know the exact time remaining, you can type Wild.com into your browser again and pull up that lovely splash page with the countdown clock, which I’m sure you’re in love with at this point.
Tomorrow will mark Mike Yeo’s official debut as the third head coach in Wild history, although he keeps insisting it’s not about him and that he’s treating it like any other game. Saturday will hopefully mean the first goals racked up by the Koivu line will actually mean something. And it will also be the NHL debut for Brett Bulmer, who is expected to play alongside Kyle Brodziak and Cal Clutterbuck tomorrow night.
Yeo still has a decision to make with the fourth line, which will be some combination of Nick Johnson, Colton Gillies, Darroll Powe and Matt Kassian.
Yeo also let the media know today what his Alternate Captain situation will be this year. Nick Schultz will wear the “A” for the full season. Dany Heatley and Matt Cullen will share the duties. So for the first half of the season, Cullen will wear the “A” at home, and Heatley on the road. Midway through the season, they’ll flip flop.
And finally, Eric Nystrom passed through waivers and is expected to report to the Houston Aeros.
If you’re headed to Xcel Energy Center tomorrow, don’t forget about all of the off-ice festivities as well. There will be a pregame party beginning at 4:30 outside of Gate 2 featuring live music from Uncle Chunk.
All fans will receive a Wild wall calendar upon entering the building, and you’ll want to get there early to see the tribute to Derek Boogaard and Pavol Demitra.