Tag Archives: Minnesota Wild

Latendresse Available Tomorrow Against Anaheim

Posted by Mike Doyle

Guillaume Latendresse (groin) was back on the ice today after missing three days of practice and the Wild’s last game against the Vancouver Canucks. Head Coach Mike Yeo said Latendresse felt great and that he will be available tomorrow night against the Anaheim Ducks at Xcel Energy Center, but hasn’t decided if he will play.

If Latendresse is held out of the lineup for more rest, expect to see the top two lines combinations of Clutterbuck-Koivu-Heatley and Bouchard-Cullen-Setoguchi. Yeo said Clutterbuck might be a good fit on the line because he is the type of player who can retrieve loose pucks in the corners and provide a physical presence alongside the skill of Koivu and Heatley. Clutterbuck also spent some time standing in front of the net on the power play because according to Yeo, “He’s really good at annoying people” and hopes the forward can annoy opposing goaltenders while screening them. We couldn’t tell if he was being serious or not.

The second line of Bouchard-Cullen-Setoguchi will be interesting to watch because of their speed. Yeo said that the team has to find a way to be at their best every night, and that he wasn’t just brining out the bingo balls and hoping to find a winner. Yeo said there are several things that can put fear into other teams and one of those things is speed, so he is intrigued to see how they will perform together. Sometimes you have to mix things up to provide a spark.

Against Vancouver, a spark was found in the third line of Buler-Brodziak-Johnson, and Yeo said it would be tough to tinker with the trio. Brodziak scored on a strong side one-timer after receiving a pass from Johnson, who ditched a Vancouver defenseman behind the net with a quick U-turn move. As the game wore on, the combo played well, generating chances with a relentless forecheck and were rewarded with more ice time.

Also likely to see more ice time will be Defenseman Justin Falk, who replaced Greg Zanon (groin) Saturday. Zanon again didn’t skate today and Falk is expected to see his second game of the season tomorrow against the Ducks.

Wild Lineup Against Canucks: TBD

Post by Mike Doyle

For the first time this season – with the exception of Mike Lundin, who hasn’t skated because of a nagging back injury – the injury bug may bite the Wild against the Vancouver Canucks today.

Because of the early start time (3 p.m. in the State of Hockey) in Vancouver, the status of Mikko Koivu, Greg Zanon and Guillaume Latendresse will be unknown nearly until puck drop. The team didn’t participate in a morning skate and all three are game-time decisions.

Koivu received 10 stitches to the face after being clipped by linemate Dany Heatley’s skate against the Oilers Thursday night. Koivu didn’t skate yesterday, but signs point toward him playing tonight. One of the setbacks: the chin-piece of a full facemask would rest on the sewn-up area. If he skates without a mask, the wound will have no protection. If he skates with it, a solid knock to the mask would likely reopen the wound.

Zanon missed the third period against the Oilers due to a tweaked groin. The shot-blocking machine has only missed one game during the past three seasons. If he is a no-go, Justin Falk will see his first action of the year.

Latendresse was held out of practice with a lower-body injury. The team leader in points missed 58 games (10/28-3/6) last season following surgeries to his left hip. Hopefully, the big winger was held out for precautionary measures. If he is rested, Nick Johnson will likely be inserted into the lineup with some line shuffling to follow.

Scandella Recalled

For the first time this season, the Minnesota Wild has recalled a defenseman from the Houston Aeros. Promising first year pro Marco Scandella was called up this morning and will join the team in Florida today.

Head Coach Todd Richards told the media this morning that Scandella will make his NHL debut tonight, though he did not share which Wild defenseman would be scratched in his place. The 6-foot-3, 217-pound native of Montreal, Quebec, provides a big body on the blueline for the Wild.

The 20-year-old has recorded eight points (1-7=8) and 11 penalty minutes (PIM) in 14 games with the Aeros this season. He ranks tied for second on the team in scoring and third in shots with 33. Scandella collected 31 points (9-22=31) in 31 games with the Val-d’Or Foreurs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) last season. He also appeared in seven matches with Houston and notched one assist.

USA in the World Championships

It seems safe to say that Team USA’s success in the Olympics did not exactly propel them in this year’s World Championships like we might have hoped.

Today, Team USA dropped another 2-1 overtime decision to Denmark. Now, you might scoff at the notion of losing to Denmark until you realize that they are led by today’s overtime hero, Stefan Lessan, who has a Facebook page. And you didn’t think there were any hockey superstars on Facebook. That’ll learn ya.

Team Finland also struggled with Denmark over the weekend, losing 4-1 on Saturday. But that is most likely due to Antti Miettinen not playing for an unspecified reason. He was in the lineup today, however, which helped Finland beat Germany, 1-0.

So it’s been a tough go for U.S. Assistant Coach Todd Richards and the other Minnesotans on the team. Things have gone slightly better for one of the other Wild reps at the tournament. Brent Burns tallied an assist in Canada’s 5-1 win over Italy over the weekend. Burns saw 18:12 worth of ice time in that game. Burns picked up another assist today as Canada took down Latvia, 6-1.

Finally, any true Wild fan remembers shootout whiz and smurf look-a-like, Petteri Nummelin. Well, here’s a little trivia about good ‘ol Petts. With his appearance in the game against Denmark, he made history by becoming the first player to have played in 15 top division World Championships, passing such legends as Jiri Holik and Sven Tumba (Johansson). Petteri’s father, Timo, was a Team Finland regular in the 1970’s and early 1980’s and played in eight World Championships with Team Finland.

Timo also won the soccer juggling contest among Wild players prior to a game in Anaheim during the first-ever father-son road trip in 2006.

Blasi on Palmer

I wasn’t able to get in touch with Miami University head coach Rico Blasi before posting yesterday’s story on Jarod Palmer. But I did want to talk to him today to get a feel for what kind of player and person we can expect with Jarod Palmer, the most recent college free agent signed by the Wild.

Among other things, Blasi calls some of Palmer’s skills “absolutely stupid,” (he means that in a good way so he must be one of those hip coaches) and suggests his game is more tailored to the NHL style, than the college style.

Here are Blasi’s quotes from our interview today:

On Palmer seemingly very mature:

“He has matured so much over the last few years. He’s had a tough life, a tough family background. He’s the type of guy that you can have a conversation, and he’s going to be talking to you at a high level. He’s really mature, and he understands a lot because of what he’s gone through. He used to have a real hard time trusting people, and over the years he’s really developed that part of his life. He’s probably one of the most mature kids leaving our program that we’ve ever had.”

On his leadership role during this past season’s tragedy – the death of student manager, Brendan Burke:

“He was right there. If guys wanted to talk, as a senior he was right there at the forefront. He didn’t wear a letter because we didn’t have any assistant captains this year, but I think the players knew that he was a captain. He was very vocal, he led by example and he was there for everybody so there was no question that he was great through all of that.”

On his hockey ability and breakout senior season:

“He’s always been a skilled player, so that’s not even an issue. The stuff that he does on the ice is absolutely stupid. He can do things with the puck that many players can’t. The thing that he had to understand in his game was to simplify and understand when and when not to do it…When to dish, when to go to the net. It was the decision making. Although it can continue to get better, it is leaps and bounds better than where it was a year ago, and that’s the maturity in his game.

And he just came to work every day. He’s always working on things before practice. He’s constantly trying to help other players with their shot, or making tight moves or working along the wall. He’s just one of those guys that loves the game. If he’s not playing, he’s going to be coaching, or teaching, or working at some capacity in the game.

He’s really come into his own about what he can and can’t do with his skill set.”

On what he needs to do to get to, and stay at the NHL level:

“For me, knowing the guys that have played in the NHL that we’ve coached, he’s more of a controlled player than [former Wild draft pick and current Edmonton Oiler] Ryan Jones is.

I think the NHL might suit him better than the American Hockey League, because he is a control-type player. He’s not going to waste energy. He’s a great passer. He’s got a pretty good shot. He understands the game so he knows where to go offensively, defensively.

The college game, for a lot of reasons, probably didn’t suit him as well as the NHL will, because it’s helter skelter at times. And he’s all about controlling the play and making good decisions.

If there’s one thing I think he needs to continue to work on, it’s his speed. He’s not slow, and he’s got speed, but I think he can still gain another step.”