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Posted On Thursday, 10.10.2013 / 1:55 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Wild juggle lines in search of offense, balance

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It's only a three-game sample size, but it's enough for Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo to know his team needs more offense.

Through three games, the Wild have scored just seven goals -- including only two playing 5-on-5. With the top-line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville generating a vast majority of the team's quality chances, Yeo has decided to move some parts around in the hopes of balancing his lineup and getting his second line going offensively as his team hosts the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.

The most prominent change comes on that top line, where right wing Pominville has been moved to the second line and replaced with Nino Niederreiter.

Posted On Saturday, 10.05.2013 / 2:43 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ducks hope to move on after 6-1 loss

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Needless to say, the Anaheim Ducks season opening game Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche left a lot to be desired for their coach Bruce Boudreau.

Not only did the Ducks lose big 6-1 to the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center, but Boudreau was the target of an angry Patrick Roy, the Colorado coach who appeared to lose his cool in the closing seconds of the contest.

The result alone left a bad taste in Boudreau's mouth, and sitting on it for the last two days hasn't helped much.

"Certainly, we are looking forward to getting back on the ice," Boudreau said. "If we could have played the next morning, I'm sure the guys would have wanted to."

As much as the Ducks would probably like to forget the result of Wednesday's blowout, Boudreau said it's important that they don't dismiss everything from the season-opening loss.

"You put it behind you in a way," Boudreau said. "In the other way, you want to remember it and hope it doesn't happen again."

Veteran Ducks forward Saku Koivu said there was plenty to take from the loss to the Avalanche, but kept the loss in perspective. After all, there are still 81 games left in the regular season.

"Those few first games, you're paying more attention because you've been off a long time," Koivu said. "But there are games in midseason you might lose [like that] if you play bad. You have to turn the page and get ready for the next one.

Posted On Saturday, 10.05.2013 / 1:52 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Dumba expected to debut for Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild will get a look at an important part of their future Saturday when they host the Anaheim Ducks at Xcel Energy Center as defenseman Mathew Dumba is expected to make his National Hockey League debut.

A smooth-skating, hard-hitting 19-year old defenseman, Dumba was the franchise's first round pick (No. 7) in the 2012 draft. It was thought Dumba would debut in Thursday's season-opening shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings, but Wild coach Mike Yeo decided to go with the bigger veteran in Clayton Stoner.

Luckily for Dumba, his parents are still in town from Thursday and will be able to watch their son's first NHL game in person.

"They're pretty happy," Dumba said.

Dumba learned he would make his debut on Friday after a conversation with Yeo. At this morning's skate, the team's veterans had Dumba lead the group in warmups.

Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 2:22 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings get Mitchell back, Brown also expected to play

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild enter their game Thursday at Xcel Energy Center relatively healthy.

Kings captain Dustin Brown, who sustained a hamstring injury early in training camp, has skated better in recent days and is expected to play on a line with Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis.

Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, who missed all of last season after a pair of knee surgeries following the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, will return to the lineup in a familiar place -- against the Wild, a team he spent parts of five seasons with.

Jonathan Quick will start in goal for the Kings.

Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 4:59 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Forward spots available at Wild training camp

MINNEAPOLIS -- When Chuck Fletcher was named general manager of the Minnesota Wild in May 2009, there was plenty of work to be done to rebuild a franchise whose foundation was crumbling.

Minnesota had little in the way of a prospect cupboard and its most popular player in franchise history, Marian Gaborik, was weeks away from signing with the New York Rangers.

With the Wild entering their fifth training camp with Fletcher at the helm, there should be legitimate competition for roster spots between a number of veterans and young players who gained experience last season. Among the top six, only left wing Zach Parise, center Mikko Koivu and right wing Jason Pominville are guaranteed much of anything.

Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 4:16 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Pominville comfortable in first Wild training camp

MINNEAPOLIS -- With a combination of skilled veterans and experienced youngsters, most observers believe this season's edition of the Minnesota Wild is perhaps the most talented group the franchise has ever brought to a training camp.

One of the key pieces to the Wild's puzzle this season is veteran winger Jason Pominville, acquired from the Buffalo Sabres at last season's trade deadline and now in his first camp with Minnesota.

A second-round pick of the Sabres in 2001, Pominville was in the midst of his ninth season with Buffalo when he was traded for the first time in his career last April.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 5:00 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Status of goalies still uncertain for Wild

MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Minnesota Wild were able to get one key piece of their lineup back Tuesday in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks, the team still has plenty of questions in goal with a pair of injured veterans and a rookie as the only answers.

By all accounts, forward Jason Pominville's return from an upper-body injury went off without a hitch and he is expected to play, in perhaps an even bigger role, in Game 5 on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS2). Pominville began Game 4 on the Wild's fourth line before shuffling between there and the third line. He also played extended minutes on all six of Minnesota's power plays.

Pominville missed the team's previous five games.

But 36 hours before puck drop at United Center, the Wild have no idea who will be between the pipes -- or who will be healthy enough to suit up.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 4:33 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild seek answers for sagging power play

MINNEAPOLIS -- If the Minnesota Wild are going to get back into their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks -- a series the Wild trail 3-1 heading to Game 5 at United Center on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS2, NBCSN) -- it likely will come because of a revitalized power play.

Minnesota was 0-for-6 with the man-advantage in Game 4 on Tuesday, a 3-0 loss Wild coach Mike Yeo said was "hanging there for us" if only his team had taken advantage of its chances, especially on the power play.

The Wild now are 0-for-15 on the man-advantage in the series and the only team in the playoffs that has not scored a power-play goal in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"That was definitely a winnable game," Yeo said. "We were doing a lot of good things, we had a great start defensively, we gave them very little in the game. But execution-wise, power play was the lead example that."

Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 10:02 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Pominville, Dowell in lineup for Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Despite a 3-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series, the Minnesota Wild made tweaks to their lineup in Game 4.

Right wing Jason Pominville returned from injury, and Jake Dowell, a former Blackhawks player, is centering the Wild's fourth line. Torrey Mitchell, who centered that line for Game 3, moves to right wing. Mike Rupp, who skated four shifts Sunday, was scratched.

Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 9:49 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Blackhawks have Keith in Game 4 lineup

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith left the Twin Cities on Monday night to return to Chicago to be by the bedside of his wife Kelly-Rae, who gave birth to a baby boy Tuesday morning.

Keith returned in time to join the Blackhawks lineup for Game against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night in a Western Conference Quarterfinal series (NBCSN, CBC, RDS2).
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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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