Now I know what the Star Tribune’s Mike Russo (the most intense beat writer in the NHL) deals with on Wild game nights when he has his “gamer” written midway through the second when one team has built a healthy lead. Then, he has to watch in horror as the other team stages a furious rally, and he is forced to start over from scratch.
That was me today as I was watching Scrimmage #2 of the 2010 Wild Training Camp. I was all set to write about how the Whities going to walk away with a 2-1 victory over the Greenies, thanks to two John Madden goals to one Robbie Earl goal. I even had a quip in there about how Robbie Earl was the only guy in a green jersey that has scored in this training camp.
Then, with 13 seconds left in the scrimmage and Josh Tordjman pulled for an extra attacker, Cody Almond struck and tied the game at 2-2. The Green bench went crazy, while the White bench was deflated, and angry.
“The net was off,” said White’s Mikko Koivu in the locker room. “Make sure you write that.”
Green took advantage in a four-round shootout when Tordjman and Darcy Kuemper were shutting the door. There was one game of NHL experience between those two (Tordjman has played one game with Phoenix), but they were shutting down the likes of Koivu, Brent Burns, Martin Havlat, Matt Cullen, Jared Spurgeon and Madden. Finally, Guillaume Latendresse gave Team Green the victory by roofing one past Kuemper.
So, to summarize, Team Green won on a nice goal by Earl, and a nice finish by Almond off a rush from Burns. It was thought that Madden had both White goals, but he apparently thought Cal Clutterbuck got the first one, coming during a scramble in front.
“We got the loss today, but we gained a valuable point,” joked Madden.
As for lines, Antti Miettinen was once again with Koivu and Andrew Brunette. Madden centered Clutterbuck and Chuck Kobasew. Cullen was with Latendresse and Havlat. Kyle Brodziak was with Eric Nystrom and Brad Staubitz. Warren Peters centered Casey Wellman and Colton Gillies. Almond centered Earl and Jarod Palmer/Jean-Michel Daoust.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard did not participate, and neither did Marek Zidlicky. Zid did take the ice for a practice session after the scrimmage.
There was definitely intensity out there once again. Earl got into it with Jamie Fraser along the boards. Clayton Stoner clobbered Peters with a hit in the corner, and later in the shift, Peters delivered a big hit on Stoner, who responded with a slash. At one point, Koivu slapped Burns’ stick about 100 feet into the air.
Todd Richards raved about the depth of his team, and the way younger guys like Wellman, Stoner, Prosser and Earl have played. He also said the true test will be in preseason games, which start Wednesday. Just because it’s the first game of preseason, you can expect a healthy amount of the “big guys” getting ice time. Richards doesn’t want to waste time in getting guys used to each other, and he’s going to give the home crowd more fan favorites to watch. Expect less regulars in the lineup on Friday in St. Louis.