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Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 2:07 PM

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

Wild's Cooke hits milestone; Oilers' Klefbom to debut

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke will play in his 1,000th NHL game Tuesday when the Wild host the Edmonton Oilers (8 p.m. ET, TSN).

Cooke will become the 286th player in NHL history to reach the 1,000 games and the fourth to do it as a member of the Wild. Prior to the game, Cooke will receive a silver stick from the Wild and a crystal from NHL executive Jim Gregory.

"I never would have guessed it way back when I started this," Cooke, 35, said. "It's been a roller coaster at times, but I'm thankful for where I'm at. It's a big accomplishment for me."

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Posted On Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 3:55 PM

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

Bryzgalov expected to make Wild debut

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to debut with his new team Sunday against the St. Louis Blues at Xcel Energy Center.

Bryzgalov, acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick, was 5-8-5 with a 3.01 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in 20 appearances with the Oilers this season. The Wild, playing the second-half of back-to-back games, lost 4-3 to the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Rookie goaltender Darcy Kuemper made his 16th consecutive start in goal and the Wild will play 19 games in 36 days to finish the season.

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Posted On Monday, 03.03.2014 / 2:05 PM

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

Koivu, Scandella return for Wild against Flames

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Riding a four-game winning streak, the Minnesota Wild will get a couple of key contributors back from injury Monday when they play the Calgary Flames at Xcel Energy Center.

Captain Mikko Koivu, who has missed 17 games with a fractured ankle, and defenseman Marco Scandella, who missed three games with a sprained knee, will join a team that is already playing some of its best hockey of the season.

After road wins against the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks coming out of the Olympic break, the Wild will play at home for the first time in nearly a month. With 73 points, Minnesota is seven clear of the Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks for the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 4:45 PM

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

Errant puck sends Predators GM Poile to hospital

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Nashville Predators general manager David Poile was hit in the head with a puck at the team's morning skate Thursday prior to the game against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

Poile, who will serve as GM of the United States Olympic Team next week at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, was taken from the locker room on a stretcher by paramedics and transported to the hospital.

Poile appeared to be groggy with a bloody nose and a black eye, but was conscious and able to walk to the stretcher with some help.

A statement released by the team said Poile "will remain in the hospital overnight for observation and evaluation, and further information will be released as it becomes available."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 2:30 PM

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

Wild prepare for last game before Olympic break

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild play their final game before the Olympic break Thursday against the Nashville Predators and the focus is squarely on not losing focus. The Predators are playing well of late and trail the Wild by eight points in the Western Conference wild-card standings.

Nashville has one more game before the break, Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks, to gain even more ground should they win Thursday.

"The way I look at it, they're probably approaching this game as their season," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "So we can't expect anything less than a playoff mentality from them. And that's the challenge that I presented to our players and said the exact same thing.

"They have another game after this. We have guys going to the Olympics, guys going on vacation. Can we be mentally tough enough to push those distractions aside and make sure that we bring the right focus, the right attitude into this game tonight?"

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Posted On Thursday, 01.23.2014 / 1:26 PM

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

Parise returning to Wild lineup vs. Blackhawks

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise will return to the lineup Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks after missing 14 games with a fractured left foot.

Parise, who has been skating with teammates for several days, on Wednesday completed his second full-contact practice, a key step in getting back to the lineup. Wild coach Mike Yeo said then it would be up to Parise after the morning skate Thursday to decide whether he'd play against Chicago.

"Felt good again this morning so I think we're going to give it a shot," Parise said. "It's tough when you're watching games from the press box so I'm looking forward to it."

"We had a pretty good feeling he would be [back in the lineup] yesterday as long as he felt good again this morning," Yeo said. "Obviously we're very excited to have him back."

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Posted On Saturday, 01.18.2014 / 3:15 PM

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

As Stars continue slide, Ruff toys with lineup

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It may be a bit cliche to use the "must-win" mantra in mid-January but things change quickly in the NHL.

Only 18 days ago the Dallas Stars were ahead of the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division standings and had the added benefit of three games in hand.

But following a stretch of seven losses in eight games, Dallas now trails Minnesota by eight points heading into their game Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.

The Stars play the Wild again Tuesday in Dallas but will lose one of their games in hand before then when they play the Nashville Predators on Monday. With that in mind Stars coach Lindy Ruff said the team needs to snap out of its 2014 funk now if it hopes to be a factor in the Stanley Cup Playoff race down the stretch.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.16.2014 / 2:54 PM

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

Oilers' Hemsky sent home with ankle injury

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Edmonton Oilers forward Ales Hemsky was sent back to Edmonton on Thursday as the Oilers prepared to play the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

The game against the Wild is Edmonton's third of a four-game road trip, meaning he also will miss the team's game Saturday at the Winnipeg Jets. His status beyond that is unknown.

Hemsky was hit in the ankle by a shot off the stick of teammate Luke Gazdic during the second period of the Oilers' game Tuesday at the Dallas Stars.

Initial reports issued by the team said there was no fracture in the ankle, but Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said Thursday the team was being cautious in confirming that diagnosis.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.16.2014 / 2:32 PM

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

Scrivens, Hendricks in lineup for Oilers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- In their first full day as Edmonton Oilers, goaltender Ben Scrivens and forward Matt Hendricks will play their first games with the team when the Oilers face the Minnesota Wild on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.

For Scrivens, a native of Spruce Grove, Alberta, his trade Wednesday from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, allows him a chance to play for his hometown team. It also allows him his first true opportunity to win a starting job in the NHL.

"It was a little bit of a shock but I'd be lying if I didn't say it was something I was hoping for," Scrivens said of a trade out of Los Angeles. "It's going to be a fun experience playing back at home."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.14.2014 / 2:39 PM

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

Wild's Harding practices with team

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding practiced with the team prior to the game against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. Harding has been out for two weeks due to illness.

Harding and the Wild have refused divulge whether his illness is related to his multiple sclerosis. He missed four games in December as doctors adjusted his medication for the disease.

"Wasn't feeling good, obviously," Harding said. "If I felt even a little bit like I could play, I would have. But there are some things that are out of my control."

Harding said he's been skating on his own for "three or four" days now, but Tuesday was seen as a major step toward getting him back in the lineup soon. Entering play Tuesday his 1.65 goals-against average is the best in the NHL and his .933 save percentage is second-best.

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres