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After long week, Fiala eager to get back to work with Wild

Forward arrived in Minnesota on Friday after week-long effort to get work visa in order

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

ST. PAUL -- With the exhibition season officially half over, the Wild got two bits of good news on Saturday. 

The first came in its game against the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center, when for the first time in three preseason contests, the Wild's offense showed signs of life in a 4-3 victory.

The second came earlier in the day with the addition of yet another skilled forward to hopefully help charge Minnesota's offense even more once the regular season begins in 12 days against the Nashville Predators.

After more than a week of meetings and paper work in an effort to acquire a work visa, Kevin Fiala was finally cleared to fly to the United States on Friday. On Saturday morning, he was at Xcel Energy Center taking part in practice and his conditioning test, which he passed with flying colors. 

Video: Kevin Fiala is ready for the season

"Long week actually. It took longer than I thought. But now I'm here, so I'm very happy," Fiala said.

After a long week of waiting in Gothenberg, Sweden, Fiala had a long day of travel. He spent 16 hours in all in his quest to get to the Twin Cities, arriving late Friday night. But that didn't deter him from hitting the ice on Saturday with what looked like plenty of jump in his step.

Over the past week, Fiala said he's been prepping for training camp by working with his coach and a couple of other pro players still in Sweden. 

Jet lag, combined with his skating test, had him a little tired as Fiala looked on from the press box during the Wild's preseason game against the Colorado Avalanche, but Fiala said he couldn't be more excited to finally get his season underway. 

"For myself I've got some some goals. But I think like all the teams, we want to win the Stanley Cup," Fiala said. "Last year we didn't make the playoffs. Right now, it's preseason so we're going to take step by step and try to win a lot of hockey games."

The Wild has high expectations for Fiala this season.

"He's a young, skilled player. I don't think we have enough of them," Boudreau said. "We're expecting him to put up numbers and at the same time be a little more responsible defensively than he was at the end of last year."

In that regard, Fiala showed up Friday 15 pounds lighter than he was at the end of last season. He came in at 5.7 percent body fat and, according to Boudreau, didn't just pass the skating test, but "blew it away."

"[I'm] very excited for this season. I'm ready," Fiala said. "I had a great summer behind me and I feel very ready physically and mentally. I think it's going to be a great season for us."


Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 4, Avalanche 3

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