Tag Archives: casey wellman

Finland Day Four/Five

For whatever reason, it feels like I’ve been in Finland longer than four days. Don’t get me wrong, I love this place. But my hotel room is starting to look and smell like a pack of Finnish reindeer had a party in it. Normally, I’m not one to utilize the housecleaning, but I’m going to have to relent. If anyone on the hotel cleaning crew is reading this, my apologies.

Today’s blog is going to inlcude last night’s game, and then the events of today (there weren’t many).

Last night, the Wild nabbed its first and only win from the preseason. First, the game stuff.

The Wild beat Ilves Tampere, 5-1, but were tied after two periods before beating Sami Aittokallio four times in the third.

Cal Clutterbuck was huge, burying three goals for his first hat trick since “two weeks before camp started at the St. Louis Park Octagon Camp.” All three of Clutter’s goals came on quick wrist shots from around 15 feet away. He was on a line with Matt Cullen and Casey Wellman, and they looked great all game long.

The other two goals were scored by Marek Zidlicky and Chuck Kobasew, and they were the prettiest two goals. Zidlicky worked a give-and-go with Mikko Koivu (who is rather popular here), and then kicked the puck from his left skate to his stick and then fired a wrister through traffic.

Kobasew fought off a defender in front of the net, and with the puck laying between his opponent’s leg, he jammed it on goal and under Aittokallio. Kobasew was upstaged on the play by a jubilant John Madden, who slapped his stick on the ice and then picked up the puck. He said it was his first point ever in Finland. He played here last year with Chicago, and also played two games for I.F.K. during the lockout.

The team bussed back to Helsinki through the darkness and made it back after midnight. That prompted Todd Richards to call off Tuesday’s practice citing the lack of rest his guys have had in the last two weeks.

The team did appear at Hartwall Areena on Tuesday, however. The 100+ Wild fans that traveled from Minnesota were treated to a lunch with the entire team. General Manager Chuck Fletcher gave an opening speech and answered some questions from the fans. As usual, he had some good one-liners, saying the team has really bonded here in Finland…maybe too much considering they spent all Saturday together on Sauna Island.

He also mentioned that the team will have to make the two cuts prior to Wednesday’s game. Those two players have been told they have been placed on waivers, but he didn’t say who they were. We’ll be able to post the names once they are claimed or clear waivers.

Once Chuck was done, the players then entered the arena restaurant which had a castle-style feel to it. The players spread out among all the tables to break bread and sign autographs for the fans. Even Bruce Oreck, the U.S. Ambassador to Finland was in attendance near the end.

The players have the rest of Tuesday to themselves. Tomorrow will be the final practice in preparation for Carolina on Thursday. The Canes arrived in Helsinki last night and were on the ice at Hartwall Areena for the first time today. They lost to SKA-St. Petersburg last night, but I can’t imagine they are too broken up about it. From all accounts, it sounds as if they were just happy to get out of there with everybody’s limbs still attached. Apparently, the Russian team was taking a few too many liberties with the skilled players.

Heading To Finland?

I’m alone in the stands at Xcel Energy Center right now, and I’m looking at what will closely resemble the team that the Minnesota Wild will be taking to Finland on Thursday night.

First, Pierre-Marc Bouchard is one of the players out there. Todd Richards started off practice by welcoming him back, which was followed by stick-tapping from the entire team. “Butch” is the only skater in a charcoal grey jersey, which obviously means “do not hit unless you want to spend the rest of your career in Siberia.”

Now then, there are five players that are still here that could be considered “question marks,” or guys that were fighting for roster spots. They are forwards Matt Kassian and Casey Wellman, and defensemen Drew Bagnall, Justin Falk and Marco Scandella.

Although we don’t have official word, that likely means everybody who is not on the ice has been sent to Houston. Probably the biggest surprises are Robbie Earl and Nate Prosser. Earl saw a lot of time up here last year, and was one of the best players early in training camp. Prosser was solid in preseason games, but it appears that they want him to get more seasoning in Houston.

The most surprising name has to be Kassian. The rugged winger has turned some heads with his willingness to stick up for teammates and drop the gloves. He’s also shown some offensive skills, getting a couple chances in Saturday’s game against Philadelphia. Stay tuned to more news about today’s roster moves on Wild.com, where we’ll have feedback from Head Coach Todd Richards and General Manager Chuck Fletcher.

Wellman With Latendresse And Cullen

Casey Wellman will get his first taste of a Wild preseason game tonight, and he’ll have some talented players on his line. Wellman will be on the wing with Matt Cullen as the center, and Guillaume Latendresse on the other side. They’ll make up the “second” line.

Eric Nystrom and Kyle Brodziak will also get their first preseason action of the year. They’ll be on the “top” line with Antti Miettinen. The third line will have Warren Peters centering Colton Gillies and Carson McMillan. Cody Almond will center Brett Bulmer and Matt Kassian. That could be an interesting line to watch, because you know Kassian will want to show off his willingness to brawl at some point. And Bulmer already has a reputation as a sandpaper player, and he’ll want to mix it up a bit as well.

On defense, Cam Barker and Clayton Stoner will be back on the ice. Barker is paired with Nate Prosser, while Stoner will play with Tyler Cuma. Greg Zanon and Marek Zidlicky will be the top defensive pairing.

Jon DiSalvatore and Maxim Noreau will be with the team, but they are not expected to play.

Head Coach Todd Richards said the Wild will play these three games in three nights before making another round of cuts on Monday. He says that will be a pretty large number of players that get sent away because he wants to be close to a final roster for those last two preseason games in North America.