Zach Parise said it's difficult to replicate a regular season game during training camp, but Saturday's open scrimmage was one step closer.
"You're just trying to get those — like we've been scrimmaging — get those good 5-on-5 reps, and kind of get some game situations going," Parise said. It's hard to create what it's going to be like in a game.
Parise scored twice in the scrimmage on Saturday in front of 3,000 fans who were in attendance. He has skated on a line with center Mikael Granlund and right wing Jason Pominville, a trio that has impressed coach Mike Yeo early on.
"The Granlund, Parise, Pominville line had a pretty good day," Yeo said. "If they keep playing like that, they might have a chance to make our team."
Parise said the work the line has put in so far has been helpful as the three forwards build toward getting back into the swing of things.
"You have to be careful because it's so much different once we actually start, if we are playing on Monday [in the first preseason game]," he said. "Just getting that familiarity back where each guy likes to go. We talk a lot, and we're trying to find different ways to get open and get the puck for each other, and get in the zone clean. To be able to start that communication now is good for us."
Yeo also highlighted forward Erik Haula as a player who's had a good start to camp.
"[Haula] is a guy who deserves some credit for the way he's playing so far," Yeo said. "He's come into camp in good shape, and I would say that the real positive for him is he's certainly well ahead of where he was last year at this time."
Reilly Gets A Glimpse
On his first shift of Saturday's scrimmage, defenseman Mike Reilly attempted two shots, and connected on a give-and-go. He showed some offensive creativity throughout the game, springing his teammates with stretch passes from his own blue line.
"I guess I was kind of anxious to get the main camp going after the rookie tournament," Reilly said. "Today I think I felt a little bit better, and a little bit more confident. You just have to realize you can be out against these guys, and that's kind of the mindset you have to have."
Reilly was one of the participants in the open scrimmage, and he was very active at times. He was effective at going back and retrieving pucks in his own end, and in the second half of play, had a shot on goal that created a big rebound in front. His team scored off that rebound, but the goal was disallowed when the net got knocked off its moorings.
"I've been real happy [with Reilly]," Yeo said. "There's a lot of things that we're throwing at him right off the hop. He's certainly got some areas that he quickly has to adjust to our game, to our system, to our details and the habits that we play with that he probably has been able to get away without having these types of things in his game."
Reilly acknowledged some of those habits Yeo referred to. He said at times he drifts out of position at times when he can just hold his ground.
"Some people might not notice it, but for me, those little things are going to help me be successful in pro hockey," Reilly said. "And this being my first year in pro, it's going to be a learning curve, but I just have to be confident and play my game."
Reilly had a chance to create a special moment early in the scrimmage after he drew a penalty along the boards. With no power plays, all penalties resulted in a penalty shot. So it was Reilly, center stage, with 3,000 Wild fans ready to cheer the first goal of the morning.
"I didn't even get a shot off; it wasn't too pretty," Reilly said. "The ref said you can play it live after, so I guess in a sense I kind of covered my butt there a little."
Still, for the University of Minnesota product, Saturday offered another potential taste of what playing for the Wild could be like.
"He's had an impact when he's on the ice," Yeo said. "From what he's done so far, he's been responsible defensively, but he's been able to create as well."
WILD BREAKAWAY RUN COSTUME CONTEST – VOTE NOW
Many of the participants in Saturday’s 2nd Annual Minnesota Wild Breakaway 10K/5K/1-Mile Run came representing their favorite hockey team in a themed running costume. All the outfits were fantastic, so it was hard to narrow down to three finalists, but here they are so go vote now! Voting ends Sunday at 4:00 p.m. CT.