Whenever I tell people I work for the Minnesota Wild, I always get the question, “So, what do you do in the summer? Is it pretty quiet there?” Because I’m socially awkward and it’s easier, I say “Yes, it’s very quiet.” But the truth is, it’s rarely quiet in the summer. While we’re not working many nights and weekends in the summer, there is a lot going on, and I’m not sure if there’s ever been as much going on as there will be this week.
We’ve got the Wells Fargo/Minnesota Wild Road Tour, which kicked off today. We’ve got the NHL Entry Draft on Friday and Saturday, and if you haven’t seen them yet, check out the sweet videos that our own Travis Brillowski put together featuring the four top Minnesotans in this year’s Draft. The Lighthouse is going to be busy all week with Draft updates as I’m heading out to Los Angeles on Wednesday to get all you can handle regarding any picks and trades the Wild might make. If there is something you’d like to see in our Draft coverage, please feel free to comment below.
Tomorrow, the NHL will announce its full regular season schedule. Even though I’m looking at a copy of it right now, I am not allowed to divulge its contents. What I can tell you is that after the Wild returns home from two games against Carolina in Helsinki, Finland, it will play its next game at home on Thursday, October 14 against Edmonton. Barring any last minute changes, it will kick off a three-game homestand before the club hits the road for the first time.
Unlike last year, the Wild’s schedule appears to be home heavy in the season’s opening month. This should come as welcome news to a team that dropped its first eight road games and started off 1-6-0, 2-7-0 and 3-8-0. The Wild didn’t host consecutive home games until October 28 and 30 last year, and its first homestand that lasted more than two games didn’t start until November 18.
That’s it for now. Wild.com is chock full of stuff, and I’ve got to get things ready for the full schedule announcement tomorrow, and I also have to edit some Road Tour blogs, including the elimination of cuss words from Ryan Stanzel’s. Until tomorrow, when I weigh in on my draft preferences, have a great Monday!
Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks, and Roseau’s own Dustin Byfuglien on last night’s Stanley Cup clincher. I think the majority of Wild fans were pulling for the Hawks, which is intriguing because I’m not sure that would have happened in the North Star days. But that was an entertaining team, and it’s great for hockey to have the Hawks return to prominence. Unfortunately for Chicago fans, that roster is going to look very different next year. And we’ll see just how good some players really are when they’re on new teams and not surrounded by so much talent.
As for good Wild news, the Star Tribune’s Mike Russo tweeted today that Pierre-Marc Bouchard has been given the green light by a neurologist to begin light workouts. One would have to think that if the light workouts go well, he should have plenty of time to get heavy workouts in and be in decent shape once camp starts.
Speaking of camp, the Wild’s preseason schedule is expected to be announced on Monday. It looks as though the opponents are going to be St. Louis, Philadelphia, Columbus, Montreal and Ilves Tampere of the Finnish Elite League.
You have to feel for Jacques Lemaire, whose New Jersey Devils were quickly ousted from the playoffs causing his “retirement.” But this recent news is worse. Lemaire’s Florida home was gutted by an electrical fire two weeks ago, and he thinks it will take a year to rebuild. See the story here.
Finally, the NHL Entry Draft starts two weeks from tomorrow. There will be a Wild Draft party held at Aperitif in Woodbury on Friday, June 25 from 6-9 p.m. More details will follow on Wild.com. Hopefully, you are brushing up on your Draft knowledge on our Wild draft page. We will have plenty more coverage on that page leading up to Draft Day and beyond.
Today was the deadline for NHL teams to grant qualifying offers to certain draft picks. The Wild did not sign Finnish skaters Eero Elo or Harri Ilvonen, and both will re-enter the NHL Draft. Elo was a fifth round pick (145th overall) in the 2008 Draft. Ilvonen was a sixth round pick in the 2007 Draft.
Finnish goaltender Niko Hovinen also was not signed, and he becomes a draft-related free agent. Hovinen was taken in the fifth round (132nd overall) of the 2006 Draft.
The Wild did send qualifying offers to Darcy Kuemper, Jere Sallinen and Kris Foucault and the team will retain the rights to all three through June 1.
In addition to Kyle Medvec, Chris Hickey and Sean Lorenz, Minnesota Gopher recruit Erik Haula and Colgate recruit Anthony Hamburg will remain on the reserve list as unsigned draft choices with “college status.”
Posted in Minnesota Wild, Wild prospects
Tagged Anthony Hamburg, Chris Hickey, Darcy Kuemper, Eero Elo, Erik Haula, Harri Ilvonen, Jere Sallinen, Kris Foucault, Kyle Medvec, NHL Entry Draft, Niko Hovinen, Sean Lorenz
Okay, I’m not sure if that headline is accurate or not, but let’s go with it for now. If you’re like me, you try and catch every Twins game possible, and you always stick around for the Qwest Twins Live postgame show. If you’re not like me, then you probably missed the show getting a big dose of sexy on Thursday night.
You might recall that Wild V.P. of Communications and Broadcast Bill “BillyRob” Robertson was a finalist for the Minneapolis-St. Paul’s online contest for sexiest man, and he somehow got robbed of the title. Well, he may not have taken the crown, but FSN knew what it was doing by putting Billy into an on-field instructional on turning the double play.
Billy played his high school ball at Cretin-Derham Hall high school, and as far as I know, he’s the best baseball player ever to pull on the Cretin purple and gold. His claim to fame is a home run to left field that bounced off of the face of “The Nook” restaurant on the other side of the street.
On Thursday, he showed off his gun by twisting two with Ron Coomer. If you missed it, or if you simply want to re-live the magic, you can see the instructional here.
Even though it’s summer, I know hockey is really your thing and baseball comes secondary. With that in mind, Wild.com has launched its Draft Page to get you geeked up for the event starting June 25. It’s got a few nuggets now, but it will grow each day for y’all to enjoy.