Minnesota Wild goaltender Nik Backstrom took the ice today prior to the Wild’s practice and stayed out there for about 20 minutes of the hour-long skate. Josh Harding and Matt Hackett were out there for the duration.
Backstrom seems to be progressing, but it would stand to reason that the team would give him at least one more game off to fully recover from a mild groin injury.
Devin Setoguchi was the only player not to skate. He had a “maintenance” day, but he will be in the lineup tomorrow against his former team.
Casey Wellman, who is from nearby Brentwood, California, will be playing his first NHL game in Northern California. Surprisingly, it will be the first time his parents have ever seen him play a professional game in person.
Wild fans right remember the day that Wellman signed his free agent contract two seasons ago, his parents were in the building. But Wellman wasn’t in the lineup that night, and he was actually sitting in between his parents when his mom was shown on the Kiss Cam next to a stranger.
Nick Schultz was the loser of today’s end-of-practice shootout. Rumor has it that his penalty will be that he’ll have to sport a mohawk. It may actually be a relief to him since he can now cut those long locks he’s been growing out this season.
Finally, USA Hockey announced its preliminary roster for the World Junior Championships. As expected, Wild prospects Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle, who were both on last year’s squad, are on there.
There are 29 names on the roster, which will eventually be trimmed down to 22 on December 22.
The roster also includes five Minnesotans : D Justin Faulk (St. Paul), D Derek Forbort (Duluth), Josh Archibald (Brainerd), Nick Bjugstad (Blaine) and Kyle Rau (Eden Prairie).