Plenty Of Action At ‘Optional’ Wild Practice

Despite not having a game tonight there has already been plenty of activity for Wild fans today.

The Wild has recalled forwards Stephane Veilleux and Jake Dowell along with goaltender Josh Harding. To make room on the roster they sent down forwards Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund along with goalie Darcy Kuemper. They will join a Houston Aeros team about to begin the Calder Cup Playoffs.  The Aeros take on the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday, April 26.

Harding, who was on a conditioning assignment with the Aeros, played in two games last week going 1-1-0, while stopping 56-of-61 shots for a .918 SV%. Dowell and Veilleux are expected to add physicality to the Wild lineup as Minnesota finishes the last three games of the regular season with a playoff spot on the line.

Harding spoke to WildTV today after practice.

“I went out there and did my job and clinched up a playoff spot for Houston, which is huge for them,” Harding said. “I’m just excited to be back.”

Also today in Des Moines it was officially announced that the Wild’s AHL affiliate would be named the Iowa Wild and will play its games at Wells Fargo Arena beginning next season. The Iowa Wild’s website is live now, so check it out at:

The Wild currently sit 7th in the Western Conference with 51 points after last night’s 4-1 loss to the Flames and face the 4th-overall Los Angeles Kings tomorrow in Saint Paul.

Today the Wild had an “optional” practice scheduled, but every player skated except for Jason Pominville. That includes the injured Mike Rupp and Zenon Konopka. Rupp has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury, while Konopka has missed the last four games also with a lower-body injury.

“Any hockey player wants to be on the ice in crucial games and its no secret the next three are crucial to us and a playoff run,” Konopka said to the PONDcast. “[Watching injured from the sidelines] has been tough, but there’s a bright light ahead of us and we have to look forward.”

Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo spoke to WildTV following practice.

“I think what was really important is that a lot of them were the ones talking today,” Yeo said on the players moods right now.  “Recognizing that we’re in a very good spot right now. We can all talk about how we’ve arrived here, the bottom line is our group has worked very hard to get us in this position.”

“Why should it not be hard for us? This is the first year that we’re trying to get there in five years, its supposed to be hard for us — that’s part of the battle.”


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