The jargon used around the Minnesota Wild locker room to refer to the last four game-less days is as follows:
Sunday: Off Day
Monday: Fun Day
Tuesday: Work Day
Wednesday: Prep Day
Thursday is Game Day, so it made perfect sense to yours truly that there were several "game situations" run through in today's practice. Well, that's not entirely true, as it's unlikely you'll see Derek Boogaard playing the penalty kill tomorrow night, as he was doing today.
The team did work extensively on special teams, as well as defensive zone coverage. Head Coach Todd Richards said these last three days have been about fixing things, rather than changing things.
"There wasn't one area that we really had to focus on and get better at," said Richards. "As a coach, you really have to refine our game, just get better at certain things."
One thing that has gotten better is the demeanor of the team following a couple tough wins heading into the four-day break.
"I think you could see the energy out there on the ice," said Head Coach Todd Richards. "The life out there has been a great change for us."
Every player was out on the ice, with the exceptions of Kim Johnsson and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
. Andrew Brunette, who had a couple of maintenance days on Monday and Tuesday, was back in action.
Johnsson actually took the ice following practice to do some skating drills with Strength and Conditioning Coach, Chris Pietrzak-Wegner. This was actually the third time this week that Johnsson has skated as he recovers from an upper body injury.
Pietrzak-Wegner had Johnsson tied to a tether, and had him skate while pulling him faster than he can go. The drill is designed to get Johnsson used to quick starts.
Other sights and sounds from today's practice:
- About once a week, one Wild player will buy a catered meal for his teammates to enjoy after a hard practice like today's. Brent Burns had the honor today, and supplied his friends with salad, chicken parmesan and pasta from Angelina's Kitchen in Woodbury.
- Several players are growing mustaches in support of Movember, which "changes the face of men's health" and raises funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Cal Clutterbuck's stache is in full force, and Petr Sykora is rocking the handle bar stache like Greg Zanon. Kyle Brodziak's is slightly less apparent, and was the subject of much unprintable ribbing from his teammates. More information on Movember can be found here.
- Clutterbuck has agreed to write a blog for Wild.com this season. This should be entertaining for all involved.