After one regular season game, Minnesota Wild Head Coach Todd Richards is still looking for his first victory. He’s also still looking for a team captain.
In the Wild’s season-opening 2-1 loss in Columbus, Richards doled out Alternate Captain duties to three players: Mikko Koivu
, Nick Schultz and Andrew Brunette.
Following Monday morning’s practice, Richards had still not settled on a captain, and he is reluctant to set a timetable.
“No timetable. I’ll wait until we feel we have the right guy,” said Richards. “There’s a lot of different reasons. I would have liked to have named a captain by now, but I think the prudent thing to do is just wait.”
The most obvious reasons for not doling out the ‘C’ was the number of injuries that struck several obvious candidates for the role, most notably Koivu and Brunette. Both players are now healthy, but it appears that Richards will wait until at least a few more games have been played, and it could last as long as the Wild’s upcoming five-game road trip beginning Thursday in Los Angeles.
“I wanted to take time to see how they interact with players, and see how they do things around the locker room,” explained Richards. “How do they drive practice? How do they practice?”
As Wild fans know, the previous team captains were determined on a month-to-month basis by former Head Coach Jacques Lemaire, and his staff. Richards will take a more traditional approach to his selection, which explains his decision to delay his pick. He wants to get it right.
“We’ve got a core group of guys for sure, that as a coach you can see they’ve earned the respect of their peers,” he explained. “I look to them as leaders of our team.”
That group obviously includes the three players who wore the ‘A’ on Saturday night, but Richards has yet to determine if any of them will wear the ‘A’ at tomorrow’s home opener.
Others that may be up for consideration could include newcomer Martin Havlat, fan favorite Brent Burns, or long-time veteran Owen Nolan, who has impressed Richards and Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher with his willingness to buy into the team’s new style of hockey.Loose Pucks
Koivu, who injured his knee during Sunday’s practice, was on the ice Monday and practicing at full speed.
All Wild players participated in Monday’s practice, with the exception of Derek Boogaard. Much of the time was spent on special teams. On Saturday, Minnesota was 1-for-4 with the man advantage and the penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3. However, Columbus’ first goal of the game came on a shorthanded tally by R.J. Umberger.Pulling For A Twins Win
Richards, a Minnesota native, is a die-hard Minnesota Twins fan, and admitted that the TV in his office will be tuned to the one-game playoff against the Detroit Tigers tomorrow. While he will be busy getting ready for his home debut as Wild coach, Richards said that there is usually a bit of down time once the clock hits 5:30. He’s hoping that Scott Baker is cruising towards a victory at that point. After all, he remembers the stomach punch feeling last year when the Twins dropped Game 163, 1-0 to the Chicago White Sox.
“Last year was a tough emotional one for me when (Jim) Thome hit that home run,” he recalled. “I’m pulling for them. The next two days are going to be great sports days here in Minnesota.”
Should Richards decide to emerge from his office, he can watch the Twins on the Xcel Energy Center Jumbotron. The Xcel Energy Center doors will open four hours
prior to puck drop so fans can watch the Twins. October Wallpapers
Wild.com has released it’s monthly wallpaper for October. The wallpaper, featuring Head Coach Todd Richards, Martin Havlat, Shane Hnidy and Greg Zanon can be found by clicking here