Tag Archives: Robbie Earl

Kassian Comes Up; Earl Goes Down

The Minnesota Wild will make yet another transaction today as the club is expected to recall LW Matt Kassian from the Houston Aeros, while LW Robbie Earl will return to the Aeros.

Kassian was recalled last week, but reassigned after the Wild’s win over Nashville on Friday. Earl came up on the 13th of November and played six games without registering a point.

Kassian is expected to join the team in Calgary this afternoon, and should be available for tonight’s game. He will not arrive in time for the team’s morning skate.

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.

Green Rallies To Even Training Camp Series

Now I know what the Star Tribune’s Mike Russo (the most intense beat writer in the NHL) deals with on Wild game nights when he has his “gamer” written midway through the second when one team has built a healthy lead. Then, he has to watch in horror as the other team stages a furious rally, and he is forced to start over from scratch.

That was me today as I was watching Scrimmage #2 of the 2010 Wild Training Camp. I was all set to write about how the Whities going to walk away with a 2-1 victory over the Greenies, thanks to two John Madden goals to one Robbie Earl goal. I even had a quip in there about how Robbie Earl was the only guy in a green jersey that has scored in this training camp.

Then, with 13 seconds left in the scrimmage and Josh Tordjman pulled for an extra attacker, Cody Almond struck and tied the game at 2-2. The Green bench went crazy, while the White bench was deflated, and angry.

“The net was off,” said White’s Mikko Koivu in the locker room. “Make sure you write that.”

Green took advantage in a four-round shootout when Tordjman and Darcy Kuemper were shutting the door. There was one game of NHL experience between those two (Tordjman has played one game with Phoenix), but they were shutting down the likes of Koivu, Brent Burns, Martin Havlat, Matt Cullen, Jared Spurgeon and Madden. Finally, Guillaume Latendresse gave Team Green the victory by roofing one past Kuemper.

So, to summarize, Team Green won on a nice goal by Earl, and a nice finish by Almond off a rush from Burns. It was thought that Madden had both White goals, but he apparently thought Cal Clutterbuck got the first one, coming during a scramble in front.

“We got the loss today, but we gained a valuable point,” joked Madden.

As for lines, Antti Miettinen was once again with Koivu and Andrew Brunette. Madden centered Clutterbuck and Chuck Kobasew. Cullen was with Latendresse and Havlat. Kyle Brodziak was with Eric Nystrom and Brad Staubitz. Warren Peters centered Casey Wellman and Colton Gillies. Almond centered Earl and Jarod Palmer/Jean-Michel Daoust.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard did not participate, and neither did Marek Zidlicky. Zid did take the ice for a practice session after the scrimmage.

There was definitely intensity out there once again. Earl got into it with Jamie Fraser along the boards. Clayton Stoner clobbered Peters with a hit in the corner, and later in the shift, Peters delivered a big hit on Stoner, who responded with a slash. At one point, Koivu slapped Burns’ stick about 100 feet into the air.

Todd Richards raved about the depth of his team, and the way younger guys like Wellman, Stoner, Prosser and Earl have played. He also said the true test will be in preseason games, which start Wednesday. Just because it’s the first game of preseason, you can expect a healthy amount of the “big guys” getting ice time. Richards doesn’t want to waste time in getting guys used to each other, and he’s going to give the home crowd more fan favorites to watch. Expect less regulars in the lineup on Friday in St. Louis.

James Sheppard Suffers Knee Injury

Mike Russo of the Star Tribune has reported that center James Sheppard was involved in an ATV accident in Vail, Colorado on Saturday. Sheppard fractured his patella (left knee) and underwent surgery.

According to Russo, Sheppard will miss three to four months, but the team is saying there is no timetable for his return.

Here is the team’s official statement: “The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild announced today that forward James Sheppard suffered a fractured patella in his left knee in an off-ice accident in Vail, Colo., Saturday night. There is no timetable for when Sheppard will be able to return to play hockey.”

Three months from today is December 7, which is 26 games deep into the season. That’s not good for Shep, who was anxious to get to training camp and prove himself after a difficult year.

As for other players, the locker room in Xcel Energy Center continues to bustle with activity. Two new players that have joined the fray are newcomer Eric Nystrom and roster hopeful, Robbie Earl. Earl spent his summer in Madison, Wisconsin where he trained on campus with several other former Badgers and current NHLers.

Fantasy Non-Olympian Team USA Hockey squadron

It seems safe to say that the World Hockey championships aren’t at the top of our collective minds, even though this is the State of Hockey, and we do have six Minnesotans. Some of us are currently preoccupied with NHL playoffs, and to some extent, the Twins’ quest for a 151-11 season.

But I think the reason we lack a little excitement is because we know it’s not the best of the best representing each country. Rest assured, if that was the case, the United States would not be winless in two games against Germany and Denmark.

But with several players battling in the playoffs, we can’t really send our best. And some of those players who aren’t currently playing, have already represented the country at the Olympics this year. A trip to Germany is probably not what they need (although Jack Johnson is on the World Championship team, and was a key cog for the Olympic team).

So because there is a lack of news, I figured I’d put together my ideal Team USA roster with players who did not participate in the Olympics. However, some of these guys are in the playoffs, but that’s okay. I thought it’d be fun.

So, without further adieu, here is my Fantasy Non-Olympian Team USA Hockey squadron that everybody would agree to play for.

Bold = Currently on the World Championship team

Centers: Tim Connolly (Buffalo/Syracuse, NY), Scott Gomez (Montreal/Anchorage, AK), Matt Cullen (Ottawa/Virginia, MN) and T.J. Oshie (St. Louis/Warroad, MN).

Wingers: R.J. Umberger (Columbus/Pittsburgh, PA), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders/St. Paul, MN), Lee Stempniak (Phoenix/West Seneca, NY), Brian Gionta (Montreal/Rochester, NY), Bill Guerin (Pittsburgh/Worcester, MA), Jason Blake (Anaheim/Moorhead, MN), Blake Wheeler (Boston/Minneapolis, MN) and James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia/Middletown, NJ).

Defensemen: Tyler Myers, who considers himself Canadian but he was born in Texas, so whether he likes it or not, he’s on our side (Buffalo, Katy, TX), Keith Yandle (Phoenix/Boston, MA), Mike Komisarek, (Toronto/West Islip, NY), Paul Martin (New Jersey/Elk River, MN), Matt Carle (Philadelphia/Anchorage, AK), Alex Goligoski (Pittsburgh/Grand Rapids, MN) and John Carlson (Washington/Natick, MA).

And yes, I know Komisarek and Martin were named to the Olympic team, but they were both hurt, so they’re on my team.

Goaltenders: Jimmy Howard (Detroit/Syracuse, NY), Craig Anderson (Colorado/Park Ridge, IL) and Brian Boucher, who went and got himself hurt last night, meaning I may have to call in Ty Conklin (St. Louis/Anchorage, AK).

I even had trouble whittling down the defensemen. I left off Ron Hainsey, Matt Greene, John-Michael Liles, Keith Ballard, James Wisniewski, Tom Gilbert and even former UMD Bulldog, Matt Niskanen.

On the forward side, I scrapped Brandon Dubinsky and Mike Modano because I like my centers. And I looked for a spot for Robbie Earl, who hit on 20.7% of the shots he took last year, but I just couldn’t find space for him.

And in goal, well, us Americans aren’t very deep in goal. But we do have Ryan Miller, and nobody else does.

That team is not too shabby if I do say so myself. And really, only Gomez, Gionta, Guerin, Wheeler, van Riemsdyk, Carle and Goligoski are still playing right now. The rest should get their tails off to Germany and meet up with Todd Richards. Tell him I sent you.