4 p.m. Update: The Wild has indeed made a call to Houston, recalling defensemen Justin Falk and Maxim Noreau from the Aeros.
TGIF, Wild fans! Fridays are always fun, but even more so after a Wild victory.
I know I’ve spent the past few days talking about how the Wild’s barely celebrated the end of its winless streak, but the scene in the locker room today was a lot more fun. Kyle Brodziak and James Sheppard deserve gold stars for their turns at running the locker room iPod. I want to leave most of the details in the room, so I’ll just say some stellar 80’s and 90’s hits caused plenty of jokes and fun. It was great to see the guys smiling and enjoying themselves because they deserve to let off a little steam with two straight wins after such a stressful and difficult stretch which must have tested their pride.
Not much news was expected out of the Wild’s short practice at Xcel Energy Center late this morning but unfortunately, there was plenty of not-so-good surprises. Marek Zidlicky and Nick Schultz both missed the skate with injuries and Head Coach Todd Richards said afterward that they are questionable for tomorrow’s game. Cam Barker continued to practice with the team but will again be questionable to get back into the lineup. Making matters worse, Brent Burns left the ice and is now questionable for tomorrow’s game after a very innocent-looking and weird play in practice.
In a simple drill where players line up, take a pass mid-ice and go in to shoot, Burns seemed to lose his footing all alone at center ice, with one of his skates slipping out underneath him. It looked like absolutely nothing until Burns remained down on ice, stretching out his leg before skating to the bench and walking down the runway with a look of pain on his face. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke, unless Todd Richards was in on it, too, saying Burns is now a question mark for tomorrow.
With four defensemen questionable for tomorrow’s early afternoon game, the Wild is likely to recall a few blueliners from Houston. Richards said Backstrom will start against the Lightning, who clinched a playoff spot with a win against Pittsburgh yesterday, and Theodore will get the nod in Detroit Sunday. A sidenote: did you see Backs’ awesome toe save last night? You’ll want to watch it over and over.
Listen to Richards’ comments after practice in today’s Minnesota Wild PONDcast.
With tomorrow’s game six hours earlier than the typical contest, I asked Matt Cullen and Jared Spurgeon about how the change will impact their day. A 1 p.m. start means the usual morning skate won’t be an option for the players. Cullen said his day will just start earlier than normal, that he’ll stick to the same schedule and just push everything up. Cullen said he’ll get up early, try to get outside and get his body moving and will probably end up having an extra cup of coffee.
On the other hand, Jared Spurgeon plans to sleep in and try to eat as big a breakfast as possible since he won’t be having two meals before the game. However, both players were on the same page when it came to their plans for the rink. To those two at least, it doesn’t matter when the game starts, they’ll just back track from the time of puck drop and do their typical tasks in the arena, getting to the Xcel Energy Center with the same amount of time to prepare as usual.
Glen will be back from Florida and is planning on making his return to live, in-game commentary tomorrow, so you can count on a high level of wit returning to wild.com. No jokin’.
Have a great Friday afternoon!