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Cannone Could Make NHL Debut Against Avs

Centerman is a veteran of six minor-league seasons

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

ST. PAUL -- For the first time in his professional hockey career, Pat Cannone has officially reached the NHL. 

Now, the veteran forward will aim to play in his first NHL game when the Minnesota Wild hosts the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center.

Cannone was recalled from the Iowa Wild on Monday morning, the first time the 30-year-old has been recalled to an NHL club in his career. In his sixth full season of professional hockey, Cannone is in his first season with Iowa after signing with the organization on July 1. He has four goals and 12 assists in 29 games in Des Moines this season.

"It's been a bit, spent a while in the American League. It's a great opportunity and I'm really looking forward to it," Cannone said. "You hope [the opportunity arrives]. You play for that, you work hard for that. It was a long time coming."

 Video: Wild recall Pat Cannone from Iowa

Cannone played two full seasons with the Binghamton Senators before moving onto the Chicago Wolves, where he played for Wild assistant coach John Anderson for three seasons. 

He scored a hat trick in last season's AHL All-Star Game, winning most valuable player honors in the game.

"It's gonna be great. A lot of emotions running high, just need to keep those in check and just try to play my game if I'm in and just go from there," Cannone said. 

A four-year member of the University of Miami Red Hawks, Cannone said he emphasizes a strong two-way game. His 20 goals and 52 points in 73 games with the Wolves last season were both career highs.

Cannone's story hits close to home for Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, who played professionally for almost 20 years but skated in just 141 NHL games over that span. 

"I was in the minors so long. Any time you can bring up a young man to give him a shot at the NHL, I think it's great," Boudreau said. "John had him in Chicago last year, says he's a smart player. He's starting to play pretty well in Iowa and we needed, we thought, a centerman."

No update on Haula

The reason for Cannone's recall was an injury to center Erik Haula early in Minnesota's 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. Haula underwent an MRI for his lower-body injury, but the team has not released the results yet.

"He's sore. We haven't gotten the results of his MRI back yet today," Boudreau said. "I don't see him playing tomorrow."

With Haula out, Tyler Graovac skated on the third line with Jason Zucker and Jason Pominville in practice on Monday. Graovac scored a goal and earned a career-high 18:45 of ice time in Saturday's victory.

Colorado Curse?

Minnesota enters Tuesday riding a season-best seven game winning streak but will be looking for its first victory over the Avalanche in three games against its Central Division rivals this season.

Colorado, which has lost its past three games and four of its past five, dealt the Wild its last loss on home ice, a 3-2 come-from-behind win on Nov. 19 that Boudreau called one of the most frustrating losses of his career.

Minnesota led the game 2-0 in the third period before the Avalanche rallied for three goals in a span of 5:29. Colorado also scored a third-period goal in a 1-0 win at Pepsi Center on Nov. 5.

Both games came on the heels of two losses to Colorado in the exhibition season.

"We gave up a two-goal lead in the third period for the first time, which wasn't good. Two preseason losses, two regular season losses. They seem to play really good against us," Boudreau said. "They've got some dynamic players, and when they're all on top of their game, they're really good."

Video: Bruce Boudreau Practice

Staal honored

Wild forward Eric Staal was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week after tying for the League lead with four goals while also adding one assist in wins over the Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Arizona.

"Well deserved; I think we've got a lot of guys playing good," Boudreau said. "We just don't get much recognition. So it was nice to see somebody get recognized."

Staal is tied for the team lead with 10 goals, but leads the club with 14 assists and 24 points in 30 games this season. 

Video: Eric Staal on being named Third Star of the Week

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