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On the Road: Bruins @ Minnesota

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
0:00 - A late flurry, but no goal. 4-3, WIld, Final.

15.7 - Penalty by Minn for delay of game. Boston takes their time out.

24.0 - Fernandez is off, Boston is working six-on-five.

1:00 - Boston stuck in their own zone.

1:38 - Savard scores! Good thing I was lagging behind. Another nice feed by Ryder, who was to the left of Backstrom and passed to Savard in front. 4-3, Minn.

2:50 - I am going to head for the locker room. If anything comes up, I will post.

3:10 - Owan Nolan and Chara started shoving, and both men looked to take a swing, but no fight. Just double minors.

4:00 - Boston is having a lot of trouble keeping the puck out of their own zone.

5:25 - Wheeler is turned away by Backstrom.

8:09 - Marc Savard scores!  A very nice goal off some hard work by Ryder who backhanded a pass to Savvy. There's still time. 4-2, Minny.

10:25 - Save Fernandez. Time is getting short. Boston leads in shots, 33-22.

14:40 - Sustained pressure from the Savard line and P.J. Axelsson, especially. Backstrom, who has settled down from his first period wobbles, is very sharp, now.

15:56 - Some sleepy back-and-forth action, friends. Not much to write about, yet.

19:59 - Krejci wins the draw.

20:00 - Start of the Third Period. Nothing besides full speed ahead for Boston.
0:00 - Obviously, it was not a great period for Boston. They'll enter the third period with a three goal deficit.

1:51 - Shawn Thornton has quietly had an excellent game and has clearly worked his tail off in each of his shifts.

2:43 - Icing. Boston was not able to get anything tangible going on that last man advantage.

4:43 - A break for the B's. Sheppard in the box for a hold. PP for Boston.

7:32 - Another goal by Minny. This time Belanger beats Fernandez high glove off a feed from behind the net by Bouchard. 4-1, Minnesota.

7:43 - "Manny, Manny, Manny," chant.

9:41 - Uh oh. Minny scores. Miettinen finds a hole and puts the Wild up 3-1.

10:19 - The Krejci line kept the Wild busy for the better part of a minute, with Wheeler making Backstrom nervous.

12:55 - A pile up in front of Manny. Nothing big comes of it.

13:28 - Boston has bounced back with a couple of scoring opportunities, but hasn't bested Backstrom, yet. The B's still lead in shots, 17-13.

15:59 - The B's had a decent PK going, but another shot snuck through Manny's five hole. Like the first period goal, he had his angle covered, and the puck trickled through even though Fernandez fell backward and did the snow angel. Marc-Andre Bergeron scored for Minnesota. 2-1, Minnesota.

17:52 - David Krejci in the box for a high stick. He caught the opposing center high off the faceoff.

18:11 - Manny is back on track. Nice stop on the doorstep to keep the scored tied. Big Zee had to clean house, too.

19:59- Bergeron wins the faceoff.

20:00 - Start of the Second Period. The prescription for the second is more of the same, just with less penalties.
0:00 - A real decent period for Boston, minus the puck that snuck through. Boston out shot the Wild, 14-9.

Marco Sturm led the B's with two hits. Stephane Yelle had two blocked shots.

1:28 - Belanger scores for Minnesota. It snuck through Fernandez, who looked to have covered the angle well. 1-1.

2:02 - Fernandez went Cheevers on Brunette. A little chop on the skate moved the Wild forward right out of the crease.

2:23 - Manny with another stop and a blocked shot for Yelle, who is downright fearless.

2:59 - Stuart to the box for a hold.

3:29 - A giveaway in the Bruins end leaves Manny mano a mano with one of the Wild and Fernandez did not blink. He made the save and then covered up on the second try.

7:23 - Backstrom is forced into another save by Sturm. He has not had a handle on the puck and has boxed a bunch of saves around. B's need to continue to press him.

7:40 - Another save for Manny, who has not been tested very often, but has had to be sharp, nonetheless. Boston leads in shots, 12-5.

10:38 - Stuart is in the box for high sticking.

11:57 - Kessel with the goal! The rebound gets out to the middle of the Minnesota zone (thanks to Bergeron, who followed it out to the half board), and Phil corralled it and fired a nasty wrister by Backstrom. Bergy and Sturm get the assists. 1-0, Boston.

12:05 - Bergy hits the post.

12:44 - Despite not scoring, Boston had good movement on that power play. Give Minny credit, though. They (and Backstrom) have held the fort. Boston has nine shots, Minnesota has three.

15:06 - Wheeler is playing on the second PP unit and is having a nice battle with Skoula in front of Backstrom.

16:54 - Burns in the box for Minny. Four minutes for high sticking. This would be a good time for the B's PP to come alive.

18:04 - Manny makes his first save. Belanger came around the back of his net and tried to stuff it between the right post and Fernandez's leg.

19:59 - Boston controls the draw and gets a quick shot on goal.

20:00 - Start of the First Period. Sort've. We are sitting through another opening ceremony. A quick look around makes me think about how this team is like Montreal West.

Not only is there a Koivu as the Captain (Mikko, Saku's bro), but pretty much everyone in the front office is a former Canadien.

Boston starters: Wideman, Sturm, Ference, Bergeron, Kessel, Fernandez.
Minny starters: Johnsson, Brunette, Miettinen, Schultz, Backstrom.

Switching to time on the clock...

7:16 p.m.
Mark Stuart is another Bruins player who has local ties.

"My parents and grandparents are here and we'll have some family friends there," said Stuey, who was asked if he gets any extra jitters playing at home.

"Not really," said Stuart. "Just excited. It will be fun.

"A lot of the people coming haven't seen me play live in a really long time."

Stuart, like most of the players in the locker room said that Boston needs to maintain their intensity in this, their second game.

"It definitely does need to be a start over (situation)," said Mark. "We need a good start to the season and that doesn't mean one game.

"We need to keep going here. 

"And we can learn a lot of things from the Colorado, too. We won the game, but there are a lot of things we can work on."

7:08 p.m.
The Bruins lines are:
Axelsson - Savard - Ryder
Sturm - Bergeron - Kessel
Lucic - Krejci - Wheeler
Thornton - Yelle - Nokelainen
Chara - Ward
Ference - Wideman
Stuart - Hnidy

Backstrom is in goal for the Wild.

6:43 p.m.
Game Notes: Printable Version
 View or download a printable version of this release. (PDF)
It's almost game time. But the Bruins need to deal with another set of opening ceremonies. While you wait, and while the Black & Gold wait out the hoopla, read the game notes.

4:34 p.m.

Niklas Backstrom, right, and Manny Fernandez of the Minnesota Wild, who paced the team to a League-low 191 goals-against, are presented with the William M. Jennings Trophy, which goes to the goaltenders who played in at least 25 games on the team that allowed the fewest goals by former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Brian Hayward Saturday, June 2, 2007 in Ottawa. (AP Photo/Paul Chiasson, CP)
The Bruins are about to head over to the Xcel Energy Center to get ready for the 7:30 p.m. (8:30 Boston time) start.

Manny Fernandez will be in net for Our Boys.

"Our goaltending has, throughout camp, gotten better as we went along," said Coach Julien this morning. "Timmy gave us a great effort against Colorado and we need the same from Manny tonight."

Fernandez said he is healthy.

"For any goalie, to be able to butterfly and get up out of that position is a big plus," he said. "But I don't want to worry about that anymore and now it's just getting (my) style back, the positioning and being able to read the play the way I used to."

Manny was asked about coming back to play in Minnesota.

"It's a road game," said Fernandez. "I know some of those guys.

"But I am still here to get the two points and I am still here to play a good solid game, so I have other stuff to worry about."

3:03 p.m.
Marc Savard Boston Bruins Peter Budaj Colorado Avalanche
Given a couple of days to think about it, Bruins head coach Claude Julien said there were a few things he hoped his team would do differently tonight.

“I think, tonight especially, that if we don’t get a little better defensively it will come back to haunt us,” he said. “This team here (in Minnesota) is extremely disciplined and (has) excellent speed.

“We need to be at our best.”

As he looked back at the game against the Avs, Julien saw need for improvement.

“The win in Colorado was a great win for us, and a great way to start,” he said. “But we also have to acknowledge that it wasn’t our best game.

“We weren’t sound defensively, but we found a way to win.

“There’s no doubt, though, that we need to be better in that area,” said Julien.

However, Julien was pleased with the offensive production, which permeated the Bruins lineup on Thursday.

“It’s something that we’ve been talking about for quite awhile,” said Julien. “So far, we’ve gotten it and it’s important (to maintain it) over an 82-game schedule.

“What it does is give teams a little more (reason) to respect (us) in that area. They don’t have to shut down one line or two.

“And if we put the defensive part together they way we know we can, it should make for a pretty good effort and a pretty good team,” he said.

Kobasew Update
There was not much new news on the Chuck Kobasew injury.

“I think we’ll find out more when we get home,” said Coach. “I think we just need our doctors to have a look at it.

“We’re being cautious and we’ll let you guys know when we have the final details.

“There’s no reason to speculate,” he said.

Needless to say, Chuck will not be in the lineup tonight.

11:35 a.m. (St. Paul time)
Ottawa Senators' Mike Commodore, rear, collides with Boston Bruins' Chuck Kobasew during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Ottawa on Tuesday, March 11, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)
The Bruins are on the ice as we speak.

Yesterday, Coach Julien talked about Chuck Kobasew’s injury.

“He’s got a foot injury,” said Julien. “And I think, right now, we don’t know the severity, yet.

“But we do know, and what is a little bit encouraging, it is definitely not what he had last year.”


“That took him all summer to recover from,” continued the coach. “This seems to be minor, and having said minor, whether that means a week or two weeks – we’ll find out more as we go along here.

“But the fact that it happened midway through the game, and he was able to finish the game, indicates that it (might be) something that will heal quicker than expected.”

Coach Julien remains upbeat about Kobasew’s situation.

“That’s encouraging and I think you have to stay positive,” he said, before he added that if it had to happen, it was better that it happened in the first game of the season, rather than last year heading into the playoffs.

Now, the job is to not let Chuck get discouraged.

“You have to help guys keep positive and encouraged,” said Julien. “You try to keep them working hard to come back as soon as they can.”

Where are we going?
F. Scott Fitzgerald was a native of St. Paul. The author of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald was an admirer and schoolmate of Hobey Baker at Princeton. He once wrote: "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." This statue stands as a memorial in St. Paul.
From The Twin Cities have had an intense rivalry since their beginnings. Architects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were loyal to either Minneapolis or Saint Paul. The competition has cooled these days, but the two cities seem to have fought over everything at one point in their history.

Their competition was so fierce that all professional sports teams in the area bear the name of the state, Minnesota, instead of either Minneapolis or Saint Paul. The Twin Cities competed for the Major League Baseball team that is now the Minnesota Twins, as well as the National Football League team, the Minnesota Vikings.

Situated on the Mississippi River, Minneapolis became known as "the Mill City," due to its location close to Saint Anthony Falls. The flour mill in Minneapolis helped bring about large companies that called the city home, including Pillsbury, General Mills and Cargill. Other Twin City creations include 3M Post-It Notes, cellophane tape, Cream of Wheat and Green Giant Vegetables. Rollerblades, Tonka Toys and Totino's Frozen Pizza also originated in the Twin Cities.

In 1819, the Army chose the region to build Fort Snelling at the meeting point of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. This made trade possible between fur traders and Native Americans. The Twin Cities were a region of commercial rail traffic in the 1800s. In 1888, almost 8 million people traveled to and from the Saint Paul Union Depot.

The Grand Excursion was sponsored by the Rock Island Rail Road, and in 1854, it carried more than 1,000 travelers to the area by rail and steamboat. With the birth of the automobile, the Twin Cities' rail dominance died out. In 1841, Father Lucien Galtier named the city of Saint Paul. (The area had previously been known as "Pig's Eye," named after a French-Canadian trader named Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant, the site's first settler.)

In the 1940s, the Twin Cities were home to one of the nation's first centers for computer technology. Early computer builder Engineering Research Associates was founded in Saint Paul in 1946.

Today, while the larger city of Minneapolis is an obviously modern American metropolis, the more spaciously laid-out Saint Paul has kept something of the character of an old frontier town. Both cities, however, have economic importance as centers of the electronics, printing and publishing industries. Minneapolis is also the commercial center of one of the largest farming areas in the United States and has one of the largest grain exchanges in the world.

Who are we playing?
From Wikipedia: The National Hockey League announced that Minnesota had been awarded an expansion franchise to begin play in the 2000-2001 season. The six finalist team names for the new NHL franchise were: Minnesota Blue Ox, Minnesota Freeze, Minnesota Northern Lights, Minnesota Voyageurs, Minnesota White Bears and Minnesota Wild.[2] Jac Sperling was named Chief Executive Officer of the Minnesota team[3] and Brian Skluzacek was named Chief Financial Officer.

The new NHL team is officially named the Minnesota Wild. The unveiling occurred in front of Aldrich Arena. The Minnesota Wild announced its first major sponsorship agreement with the Minnesota Wild Mastercard card from First USA. It was the earliest that First USA has ever signed an agreement in advance of a team beginning play (31 months). The State of Minnesota agreed in legislation to fund $65 million of the $130 million project costs for Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Saint Paul Civic Center deconstruction began soon thereafter and the Xcel Energy Center design was announced. A groundbreaking ceremony for the Xcel Energy Center was hosted in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Minnesota Wild announced a 26-year partnership agreement with the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission (MASC). The Minnesota Wild-MASC partnership is the first partnership of its kind between a private professional sports team and a public amateur sports organization. Doug Risebrough was named executive vice president/general manager of Minnesota Wild[4] and the Xcel Energy Center was completed and ready for use.

Where are we playing?
Xcel Energy Center

This place is amazing -- as such, I am giving you the entire list of amenities available in this unbelievable building.

Xcel Energy Center Features from

Easy To Navigate
  • Xcel Energy Center's wide-open concourses - measuring as much as 70 feet in width - offer guests with an open view of every event. Each of the four levels was strategically designed to create great sightlines and superior acoustics. 
  • Five public gate entrances, one with a clock tower in the center of it.
Video Display
  • State-of-the-art scoreboard featuring LED display and four 9’ x 16’ video boards. 
  • Ribbon board signage – 360-degree, full-color LED board that offers unlimited opportunities for messaging and creative branding. 
  • Crows Nests
  • our interactive areas positioned in the arena’s interior corners – one is utilized for the famous “Let’s Play Hockey” announcement prior to the start of each Minnesota Wild game, one is home to an organ in the shape of a zamboni, and one in the shape of a lighthouse. The fourth is used for various entertainment opportunities during Wild games.
Light House
  • The Xcel Energy Center lighthouse highlights the energy in the building, and with it’s blaring horn, becomes the focal point each time the Minnesota Wild scores a goal.
  • Dining & Refreshment Possibilities
Headwaters Bar and Restaurant 
  • An exquisite bar and restaurant on the Club level which features elegant buffet style serving. The restaurant also offers a 360-degree bar, lounge and fireplace.
  • Iron Range Grill 
  • A hockey themed sports bar, located near Gate 4 at Section 120 on the main level, complete with 40 televisions and State of Hockey memorabilia.
  • Nineteen concession stands offering a variety of offerings can be found throughout the building
  • The Phillips Old Time Hockey Lounge on the upper concourse offers special concoctions from the Minnesota-based distiller that warms the hockey spirit on cold winter nights.
  • Exclusive Entertainment Areas
NHL Alumni Lounge
  • Stunning, warm and intimate social gathering place complete with full bar, TV, leather furniture and memorabilia. The pine-finished lounge sits tucked away on the Club level providing the ultimate setting for privacy and exclusivity.
  • The Fishing Lodge
  • Exclusive to Minnesota Wild “On-the-Glass” season ticket holders, the pine-finished 1½ story exquisite entertainment space features a radio broadcast studio, plasma TVs, full bar, pool table, leather seating and fishing-themed displays courtesy of Minnesota-based Genmar Corporation.
Press Facilities
  • State-of-the-art press box with 150 seats and 8 individual pre-cabled broadcast booths for television or radio 
  • Press lounge with full-service kitchen and seating for approximately 100 
  • Press conference room and digitally-equipped “darkrooms” 
  • Press workroom featuring 27 individual desk spaces, phone and Internet accessibility
  • Dressing/Locker Rooms
  • State-of-the-art home team locker room complete with spa, sauna, steam room, weight room, video coaching room and fully equipped medical room with x-ray capabilities 
  • First-class visiting team locker room 
  • Four auxiliary locker rooms 
  • Four star dressing rooms and NHL officials dressing room 
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