Tag Archives: Cam Barker

Barker Placed On Unconditional Waivers

It will be officially announced today that the Wild has placed defenseman Cam Barker on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release. If Barker clears waivers, he will become an unrestricted free agent on Friday when the free agency signing period begins at 11:00 a.m.

Barker came to the Wild in February of 2010 in a trade with Chicago that sent Kim Johnsson and Nick Leddy to the Blackhawks. Barker, the third overall pick in the 2004 Entry Draft, scored a goal in his first game in a Wild uniform, but only scored one more in his following 70 games (an overtime winner against Phoenix on January 2).

Barker was limited to 52 games in 2010-2011, including 21 games over the final two months of the season due to an upper body injury.

Wild Smiles; Blueline Questions

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!

Barker Injured; Won’t Travel

Minnesota Wild defenseman Cam Barker suffered an upper body injury during last night’s win over Edmonton. At this point, it’s unknown how severe the injury is, but Barker will not make the trip out West for Thursday’s game against Los Angeles and Friday’s tilt in Anaheim.

The Wild does have six healthy defensemen available, but is likely to call up another from Houston tonight. Elk River native Nate Prosser headlines the list of available Aeros defensemen and could be the callup.

While Barker will stay home, Guillaume Latendresse and James Sheppard will be on the trip to Cali. It’s not expected that either are going to play, but they will likely hit the ice with the team during the morning skates. Make sure you hit up today’s Wild PONDcast as Kevin Falness chatted with Sheppard about the trip earlier today.

Both Sheppard and Latendresse were on the ice today in a very optional Wild practice. Jared Spurgeon and Cody Almond were the only two players from last night’s game to take the ice today.

The Homestand Begins…

Greetings from the corner of Kellogg and Washington St., just overlooking the beautiful Mississippi as fall refuses to give way to winter. There wasn’t a ton of news from today’s morning skate, other than Cam Barker missing a second straight game with a groin injury. The lineup will be the same as Friday’s, but with Niklas Backstrom returning to the cage.

It was an interesting morning, mostly due to the fact that there is not a lot of interesting storylines. Yes, the five-game homestand starts tonight against a very, very talented Kings team. But players and coaches are all reluctant to talk to much about homestands and the importance of racking up points in home games. As you may have heard before, players and coaches like to “take it one game at a time.”

That didn’t stop me and other media bottom feeders from asking that question to players and coaches. Sometimes the creative questions just aren’t there.

The Wild may be catching a break tonight with stud defenseman Drew Doughty out because of an upper body injury. Wayne Simmonds may also be disciplined by the League for a stick to an opponent’s nether regions on Saturday.

And of course it’s Nik Backstrom Bobblehead night tonight, and the first 5,000 fans will get their hands on the little guy. But get there early. For the Koivu giveaway last week, the Gate One lobby was packed like a sandbag.

Business At Hand

You’ll pardon me if I’m a bit distracted today, but I’ve got lutefisk on the brain. In 12 hours, I’ll be attempting to sleep on a plane bound for Helsinki, Finland while listening to Bob Kurtz and Tom Reid order more wine.

It’s okay if I’m distracted though. What’s important is that the 25 guys in the Wild locker room are focused on Grant Clitsome and the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Xcel Energy Center.

First of all, all attending tonight’s game should bring a piece of used equipment to the game tonight. You do that, and you get a voucher for discounted regular season Wild tickets. You also get to feel good about yourself because you just helped a youth hockey player suit up for this season. That’s called good karma, and you never know. That kid might develop into an NHL star, and that piece of equipment might end up being his lucky pair of shoulder pads that he wears his entire career. It’s not that far-fetched.

As for the lineup tonight, it will closely resemble Tuesday’s. Cam Barker did skate today, which surprised Todd Richards, but he doesn’t expect him to go tonight. That could always change. Guillaume Latendresse and Marek Zidlicky did not skate today, and will not play tonight.

Chuck Kobasew will get the chance to play alongside Matt Cullen and Marty Havlat tonight. Cal Clutterbuck will go back to playing with John Madden and Eric Nystrom. It’s still unknown whether or not Casey Wellman or Matt Kassian will be in the lineup. Jared Boll, who is one tough hombre, might not be with Columbus tonight, which would probably mean Kassian sits.

Marco Scandella will be in for Zidlicky, and Clayton Stoner will sit this one out again.

Todd Richards said he really likes the chemistry that’s developed in camp between Cullen and Havlat. He thinks it’s a good pairing because Cullen likes to skate, and Havlat likes to control the puck and make quick passes. He can feed it right into Cullen’s skating lanes and that generates chances.

All right y’all. It’s very possible that the next time the Lighthouse shines, its beacon will be scanning the Baltic Sea. But stay tuned because there will be plenty of posts from Finland throughout the next eight days. Hyvasti! 

Feeling The Intensity

Fans may or may not be discouraged by the Wild’s 0-3-2 preseason thus far. I know I’m a little befuddled because not more than a couple weeks ago, I predicted a 119-0-0 season for the Wild, which included the Prospects Tournament, preseason, regular season and 16 playoff games. Hopefully, you didn’t go to Vegas with that bet, but I wouldn’t have blamed you if you did. I can be very persuasive.

I’m not going to change my tune today, either. Yes, the Wild fell in a shootout last night, but I watched the Wild’s practice today, and it was intense. Bodies were banging, sticks and gloves were getting higher than normal. The speed was top notch. You could sense today was the turnaround, and I’m almost feeling bad for the Blue Jackets when they roll into town tomorrow night. It won’t be pretty.

Marek Zidlicky did not practice today because of a charley horse suffered early in last night’s game. He is listed as day-to-day as are Guillaume Latendresse and Cam Barker who are out with hip injuries. Latendresse will probably not be in the lineup tomorrow night.

It will be interesting to see if the Wild keeps all nine defensemen with the big club for the trip to Finland. Chuck Fletcher said on Monday that he’ll likely send one blueliner down before the trip, but with Barker and Zidlicky injured, the team may want some healthy bodies, considering it will be practicing in Helsinki for a week, and playing an exhibition game on Monday.

The scariest and funniest moment of the day came during the team’s work on power play and penalty kill. At one end of the ice, the power play unit was going up against the penalty killers. Marco Scandella, who was killing the penalty, fired the puck out of the zone and sent it sailing through the neutral zone. The only problem was that is where Pierre-Marc Bouchard was hanging out because he’s still not cleared for contact. Bouchard ducked at the last instant and the puck missed him by inches. He immediately started laughing, but just to take extra precaution, he sat on the bench for the rest of the drill.

Finally, make sure you check out some of the Wild rooms that were submitted for the “Is It In Your Blood? Wild Rooms” contest. I was blown away how many people have Wild and hockey-themed rooms. It was a challenge for the judges and I just to narrow the finalists down to 10 (I settled for 11). Because I must be liked, I forced Brad Bombardir to pick the ultimate winner, and he chose Stacy Nilson’s kitchen, which is completely decked out in Wild colors. It’s not often you see a kitchen with a sports team theme, and that’s what sold Bombardir.

Stacy now wins two tickets to Opening Night. If you didn’t win, I’m sorry, but there will be another contest in October. I won’t reveal what it is just yet, but if I were you I would start thinking of your Halloween costume now.

Latendresse, Barker and Stoner Won’t Play Tonight

The Minnesota Wild just wrapped up their morning skate and then began furiously packing their equipment bags for a quick flight to Columbus. Head Coach Todd Richards told the media today that tonight’s game will be the measuring stick for how training camp went. He’ll have a mostly full roster, and he wants to see his team in regular season for tonight.

Guillaume Latendresse did not skate today, and he will not travel with the team. He is nursing a sore hip flexor, but Richards said it is not serious. He equated it to Cam Barker’s hip injury, which is also not serious. Barker will not play tonight.

For tonight’s lineup, Cal Clutterbuck will hop up to the line with Martin Havlat and Matt Cullen. Eric Nystrom will take Clutter’s spot on a line with John Madden and Chuck Kobasew. The fourth line will be Kyle Brodziak centering Matt Kassian and Brad Staubitz. That means Casey Wellman will not play tonight.

Richards hadn’t decided on defensemen for tonight, but Clayton Stoner will not be one of them. Stoner will be left home. Niklas Backstrom will play the first two periods tonight, and Anton Khudobin will get the third. Backstrom will get the entire game on Thursday against Columbus.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard skated again today with his teammates. He had the same green jersey on like all of the forwards, but then again, there is no contact during morning skates anyway. I guess what I’m saying is there is no new information on him. How’s that for wasting a paragraph with absolutely zero good information in it?

In a little over 48 hours, the team will be bound for Finland, so as a special treat, Mikko Koivu will be answering fan questions this week. Here’s the catch: because the team has a game on Thursday and then immediately departs, fans only have about 24 hours to submit their questions. So as soon as the Question form is posted on Wild.com in the next 20 minutes or so, get your questions in prontisimo.