**HOCKEY DAY MINNESOTA**
Wild.com: Hockey Day Minnesota
Follow Hockey Day with Glen's live blog and check out the scene in Hermantown with our Hockey Day photo gallery
Ho, ho, ho! Happy Hockey Day Minnesota to all in the State of Hockey legion! I hope the ghost of Frank "Moose" Goheen came down your chimney last night and brought you all of the things you put on your Hockey Day Minnesota list. I sure hope a live in-game commentary was on your list because that's what I'm giving you. Sorry it's not wrapped.
This day filled with hockey is about to get all crazy up in here as the Minnesota Wild take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. I will be watching all of the action from my beloved perch in the Al Shaver Press Box at Xcel Energy Center. Now, I've got absolutely nothing against the fine people of Columbus, Ohio. After all, they make up our country's breadbasket, and they love their college football. But this isn't Hockey Day Ohio. This is Hockey Day Minnesota and they are trespassing.
That means that Nik Backstrom is going to play the role of the angry old man in his tank top and boxer shorts out on the back porch with a shotgun yelling at them to get off his property. He's going to be getting the start in goal tonight, and judging by his sparkling effort in warmups, he's about to put a whoopin' on the Blue Jax.
As for those who will not be playing, you can scratch James Sheppard and John Scott from your homemade rosters. They are the healthy scratches. You can also put a line through the names of Clayton Stoner
(groin), Chuck Kobasew (knee) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion). They are out because of injuries.
As for Hockey Day Minnesota attire, the Wild are going to wear their special occasion green third jerseys, because this is as special an occasion as it gets. The Blue Jackets will wear the road whites trimmed in blue and red with the star-spangled "CB" on the chest.
Duke Pieper a standout hockey player for Hill-Murray before suffering from a severe brain condition and undergoing extensive rehab, drops the puck at center ice along with four of his Hill Murray teammates. Mikko Koivu
and Rick Nash take the draw, and that is really a great moment to witness.
It's also great to see Lou Cotroneo, who earned a lifetime achievement award before the game, and he gets us started with the "Let's Play Hockey" declaration. As Lou always says, "Every day's a bonus!" So let's enjoy today with some hockey.Period 1
18:47 - Obviously raring to go with the late start and a day full of watching hockey, the Wild comes out shooting. Marek Zidlicky pounds a shot form the point that Steve Mason stops. Andrew Brunette and Koivu are right there to whack away at the rebound, but it finally slides somewhere underneath the pads of Mason.16:19 - MIN 1 - CBJ 0 - Will it count? Antti Miettinen gets the puck behind the net and sends a quick pass to the side for a Koivu one-timer. He tries to fire one in the short side. The puck hits Mason's pad, which is against the post. It looks as if Mason pulls the puck out from behind the goal line. The Wild immediately call for a review, and they get it. After a lengthy look at it, the replay officials give the A-Okay! It's a good goal.
13:27 - Backstrom makes his first big save of the night, stopping Derick Brassard on a point blank power play shot. This one is labeled for the top shelf, but Backstrom stays square and gets his shoulder on it before getting flattened by Brassard.
10:27 - Holy odd-man rush! Two Wild players collide and that allows a rare four-on-one rush the other way with Zidlicky being the only guy back. You wont' see many NHL four-on-ones get butchered like this one. A pass by Kris Russell to former Bemidji State Beaver Andrew Murray is popped in the air, and the Jackets never are able to get a shot on goal.
6:58 - Cal Clutterbuck
lays out Antoine Vermette with a forearm shiver at the blue line. Speaking of Cal, he will apparently be mic'd up by Fox Sports North during tomorrow's Skills Competition. That will be a nice slice of entertainment. I will guarantee that, especially after getting to witness Cal's chirping prowess as he got in Ryan Stanzel's head yesterday during a Blazin' Hot Wings challenge.
0:00 - We'll take that first period. I rare 1-0 lead and very few mistakes. That's always nice to see. Time to check in on the UMD-Bemidji State score.Period 2
18:34 - MIN 2 - CBJ 0 - What a night for the captain! Miettinen and Brunette work like dogs to free the puck out of the corner, and Bruno gets the puck out to Koivu. He takes a couple steps toward the goal and zips a wrist shot past Mason on the short side. No review needed here. This is about as obvious as it gets. That's a deuce for Koivu, and he's got almost two-thirds of this game to turn the trick.
17:42 - A puck bounces off the sideboards and hops right to Brent Burns who unleashes one of the hardest slap shots I've ever seen. This one gets in on Mason in a hurry and catches his shoulder before sailing out of play.15:43 - MIN 3 - CBJ 0 - We're getting a pretty good look at the reason that the Blue Jackets have had such a rough year after making the playoffs last spring. Eric Belanger skates back to hold the puck in the Columbus zone and he just sends a long wrist shot toward the goal. Mason, last year's top rookie, doesn't look to be screened or anything. He just whiffs on the shot and it's in. The Wild get that elusive three-goal lead.
15:14 - Here we go! Right off the faceoff, Derek Boogaard drops the gloves with Jared Boll, who is making a big mistake. It's almost as big as the mistake he made when he backed out of his commitment to attend Minnesota Duluth a few years back. Boll has to hang on for dear life as Boogey just toys with him before throwing haymaker after haymaker. The refs finally take pity and jump in to end this one as Boogey gets the clear decision. Give credit to Boll though, as he hung in there against a much larger human being.
14:45 - It's shifts like this that could keep Robbie Earl here in Minnesota. Just 12 seconds after the former Wisconsin Badger lays out Anton Stalman in the corner with a gorgeous hit, he jumps Derek Dorsett after Dorsett takes a shot at Clutterbuck after the whistle. These two tussle, and Dorsett is actually going to get the extra penalty out of this.
10:44 - Rick Nash gets some steam behind his skates as he has a breakaway on Backstrom. The Wild target makes a perfect play by letting Nash get close and then sliding the big stick out there for a perfect poke check.
8:42 - Man there's been so much action in this period, my fingers are starting to hurt more than Happy Gilmore's grandmother's before she pulled landscaping duty. But when Zidlicky goes down low and slides a puck betwixt a defenseman's legs before almost stuffing one in on Mason, I've got to write about it. I've got to give the people what the want. It's Hockey Day Minnesota for crying out loud!
1:42 - During the smooch cam, there was a less than PG moment that happened. I cannot give you more information than that. As Vice President of Communications/Broadcast Billy Robertson just said, "That's not selling the game!"Period 3
19:05 - Belanger looks to get his second of the night by more conventional means as he gets some open space down the left side. He lets loose with a monster slap shot but puts it right into the gut of Mason. Bella looks up to the heavens knowing he should have put it somewhere else.
16:32 - Good gracious! Burns is going to put dents in Mason's pads tonight. Off a faceoff, he lets another howitzer go that Mason has to reach with the last inch of his toe.
10:50 - This was going to happen sooner or later. Nick Schultz and Nash have been going after each other all night, and the mild-mannered Schultz has finally had enough. Those two go at it, although it's not quite comparable to the Boogey-Boll showdown. They trade a few minor blows, and when it's over, Schultz starts screaming at the Columbus bench, in particular former Ohio State Buckeye R.J. Umberger. He also points at his head. By my count, that's Schultzy's third fight in his career. His other two battles were with Tony Amonte and Rene Bourque. Schultz will tell you that he's 3-0 in his career. I'm not so sure. By the way, Schultz probably is right to be mad because Nash was given an extra two minutes in addition to the five for fighting.
3:42 - Wild on cruise control at this point. Columbus has had very little jump this period, and on the odd scoring chance, Backstrom has been solid as Sears.1:08 - MIN 4 - CBJ 0 - I was just about to write about Clutter taking a cheap shot from Umberger, but Robbie Earl forces me to change in mid-stride like Barry Sanders. Big Earl just scores goal and he pumps a slap shot from the slot that squeezes through Mason. A much-deserved goal for Earl who has been zipping and hitting all over the ice tonight.
0:21.2 - MIN 4 - CBJ 1 - The Jackets get a meaningless goal as Nash tries to center one out front and the puck hits Kim Johnsson and deflects in.
0:03.3 - MIN 4 - CBJ 2 - Another meaningless goal as Vermette pounces on a loose puck and rips a slapper past Backstrom. Backy won't be happy about the two late goals, but he will be happy about the impending win.
0:00 - The Wild does its part to make this a special Hockey Day Minnesota. They TCB against the Blue Jackets and snap a four-game skid.