The Minnesota Wild returned to the ice at Xcel Energy Center after a quick two-game road trip to Canada. Along with the media rubes in attendance, two very special guests watched over the hour-plus practice.
Joe Antonoplos, who was the Wild Mo Bros’ top earner during the team’s Movember campaign, and his son Nick watched from the stands. Antonoplos won the opportunity to have lunch with Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo, but instead wanted his son, who also plays hockey, to experience an NHL practice. So the pair drove in from Fargo, N.D., and sat in on today’s skate and Nick had players sign a newly acquired Zach Parise sweater.
“It wasn’t that much different than a squirt practice,” Antonoplos chuckled. “Except it’s a lot faster.”
Antonoplos said that he’d ask friends to donate to his MoSpace page and through $10-15 donations, was able to raise nearly $1,200. Cancer took Joe’s father, Jim, and father-in-law, Dave, when he was 19.
“The one thing I do really well is grow facial hair,” Antonoplos said. “I thought (joining the Wild’s Movember campaign) was a cool way to be a part of the team.”
On the ice, the team went through a number of flow drills, before moving into some in zone battle drills and finally power play practice.
Cal Clutterbuck was still missing from practice with a lower body injury and will be out tomorrow night as the Wild hosts the Calgary Flames at 7 p.m. Today, there was some slight line shuffling in preparation for tomorrow night.
Charlie Coyle was on the top line with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise. Dany Heatley skated with Pierre-Marc Bouchard. The fourth line was a four-man rotation:
As for the power play units, the Wild mixed those up as well, trying to find a bit of chemistry to get things jump-started on the man advantage. Mikael Granlund was skating on the top unit, while Heatley was moved to the second unit, and Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said that you might see that look tomorrow night. The Wild bench boss spoke to the media today about trying to create more on the PP and also even strength.