Minnesota hosts the Florida Panthers tonight and there is a wide range of news coming out of Wild camp today, so I’ll try to catch you up on everything.
Jason Zucker will make his debut in a Minnesota sweater and will wear number 16. He’s the 45th player and 14th rookie to suit up for the Wild this season. See the Wild TV pre-game video of Zucker, here.
Niklas Backstrom is set to make his first start in goal since suffering a groin injury on March 1 against the Montreal Canadiens. Backstrom backed up Josh Harding against the New York Rangers on Tuesday, but the cage will be all his tonight. Backstrom dressed as a backup for a few games, but suffered a different lower body and missed the Wild’s last road trip.
Justin Falk is expected to return to the blue line after missing nine games with a lower body injury. Falk has practiced with the team this week and is set to see his first game action since March 4.
Tonight also is the Wild’s tribute to the Minnesota North Stars “Back on Home Ice” celebration. More than 30 former North Stars are scheduled to be in attendance. A number of former North Stars were on hand at Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub yesterday, as St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman proclaimed March 29-31 North Stars Alumni Weekend. Check out the Wild TV videos of the North Stars Alumni and the mayor’s proclamation.
Finally, this is probably the coolest thing in gaming (video gaming not gambling) since NHL 94 (the year you could one-time the puck and create your own players. Mike Doyle broke Wayne Gretzky’s single-season scoring records that year, but I digress). EA SPORTS is letting fans pick the EA SPORTS NHL 13 cover player. Mikko Koivu and Niklas Backstrom are going head-to-head in the first round. Awesome right? Well, you can vote one of them through until April 11, here. For the full story on the cover campaign visit Wild.com, here.