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Best Of Hockey Unplugged - Nov. 23

by Kevin Falness / Minnesota Wild
Hockey Unplugged is an event that Wild players and fans look forward to throughout the season. Unplugged host Kevin Falness engages in an always-entertaining Question & Answer period with two players, which is then followed by an autograph session. The last Unplugged appearance featured one of the new guys, Brad Staubitz and one of the long-time members of the Wild organization, Clayton Stoner. They were the featured guests at Carbone's in Burnsville back on November 23:

KF:    Brad, let’s start with you. How are you acclimating to Minnesota?

BS:    Good. I think the last time I was here, other than to play against the Wild, I was in PeeWee’s and I came in for a summer tournament from Alberta. I saw the Mall of America, but that was really my extent to get to know Minnesota.

I came to town about a month before training camp, and got to meet some of the guys that were around, got skating and saw the area. Now with the season underway, it’s been good. With the weather around here, it’s a little different then my time in the California lifestyle, but it’s good. The fans here are great, and the team has some great guys and a lot of potential, so I’m excited about it.

KF:    Clayton, last year you got a chance to skate with the team for the first time after being called up from Houston, but suffered an injury. How hard was that to deal with?

CS:    I got called up in December and that was my first game in the NHL so that was a thrill. I played some good hockey for a little bit, but then had both groin and sports hernia surgeries. Both set me back, and I didn’t play the rest of the year. This year, I came in and didn’t play a real hockey game in about 10 months, so needless to say I was a little rusty. But now I feel like my muscles are getting back in the right shape, and I’m starting to feel real good. I’m excited about this year, and thrilled to be a part of the Minnesota Wild.

KF:    Brad, looking at your hockey history, one season that jumps out is your year in 2005-06 where in 71 games you racked up 245 minutes in penalties.

BS:    I’m glad the full stats aren’t there because it doesn’t show my plus/minus rating, which may have been a league low. That was my first year turning pro out of Junior, and I think I was just trying to get my feet wet and I ended up diving into it. It was a good experience, and in turning pro, I was making that adjustment and seeing where I fit in.

KF:    How about Cal Clutterbuck. He talks about fighting you in junior and he claims he won. What’s your version?

BS:    He likes to talk about it. I think it might have been his last fighting major, and I think that was about 10 years ago. He had to remind me, but he was a couple of years younger than me in the OHL and I think he absolutely ran somebody so I was chasing him down the ice and he turned around. The way he tells it, he got a few in on me and pulled me down to the ice and he got up celebrating. Maybe in practice one of these days, we’ll have to square off and dance around a bit.

KF:    Clayton, you were able to drop the gloves when called upon certainly earlier in your career but you’ve done it on the NHL level as well. Do you like that part of the game?

CS:    It’s a part of the game, and I think it should always be a part of hockey. Some people don’t like it, but for my game it’s going to happen. I’m the type of guy that will stick up for my teammates. It’s important to be a good team guy and take care of each other and give some guys some space out there so guys don’t have to worry about being run over. I don’t mind doing it, and when it needs to be done I’ll take care of it.

KF:    How about superstitions. Who have you noticed to be the most superstitious in the Wild room?

CS:    I get some dirty looks from Marek Zidlicky when I’m on the wrong bicycle, like I’m on his bike. I think Havlat’s pretty weird sometimes. I’ve never really run into anybody that’s too bad, but I know there are a lot of guys out there.

BS:    I think you tapped on something there by naming two European players. You don’t know if they’re superstitious and in a routine, or just a little different. So you just let them be for the most part.

KF:    Clayton, how does the conversation with Zidlicky go when you’re pedaling away on one of the stationary bikes?

CS:    He walks up the stairs, looks at me and I’m on his bike and he shakes his head and walks back down the stairs. So I yell to him, “Hey! I’ll get off your bike and get on a different one.” So he says, “Oh, Okay!” and he comes back up the stairs.

KF:    Of course last month the team participated in Movember, where you grew moustaches to help raise awareness for prostate Cancer. At the end of the month, you had a team party to celebrate not only that, but also a belated Halloween. Can you tell us about some of the costumes, and your thoughts on the moustaches?

CS:    I think Eric Nystrom and his girlfriend won best costume duo. He was Hulk Hogan and he dyed his moustache bleach blonde. As for the moustaches, I liked Burnsie’s moustache, and the rest of them just looked pretty creepy to be honest.

KF:    I noticed the very next day Antti Miettinen shaved his off immediately.

CS:    I’m not surprised. He probably would’ve been arrested if he didn’t.

Don’t miss the next Hockey Unplugged coming up Tuesday, December 14th at Champp’s in Eden Prairie when John Madden and Patrick O’Sullivan team up for their first Hockey Unplugged.
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