|Jake and Nick Schultz walk off the ice together following the Wild's practice Thursday. |
The screaming and hollering at the Minnesota Wild's practice on Thursday wasn't coming from Head Coach Todd Richards. It was much higher-pitched, because a bunch of little sons and daughters were ramming around in the locker room area today.
Richards actually didn't appear on the ice today as he gave the team the option to practice. Every player skated with the exceptions of Greg Zanon, Eric Belanger, Owen Nolan, Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cal Clutterbuck
. All but Clutterbuck, who is ill, were at the rink today.
Richards noted that last night's game kicked off a stretch of 17 games in 32 days. The Wild only has two two-day breaks in that span, and one of those includes Christmas Eve and Christmas.
"I'm not sure how much we would have gotten accomplished," said Richards.
The Head Coach was asked today about what the differences are between this Wild team from early in the season to now. He said that he didn't have the answers as to what the problems were then, and he doesn't have the answers in regards to the recent success. But, he did note that is team is gaining confidence, especially after his team gives up a goal. The Wild has allowed the first goal in six of the last seven games.
"You can sense (the confidence) on the bench," he said. "There's a lot of chatter and encouragement. Early in the season, when we gave up a goal, there was the feeling that we couldn't give up another because it would be a big mountain to climb."
The wives were in a locker room across the hall decorating holiday ornaments for the Minnesota Wild Foundation. They were amazingly able to decorate and watch their little ones until their husbands came off the ice. Although, Greg Zanon pulled off the feat of the day, holding his toddler daughter in one arm, and holding his phone during an NHL Network interview in the other.