Post-game wrap-up (10:05 p.m.)
Back up in the press box after a 2-0 Wild preseason victory against Columbus.
Eric Belanger, to his credit, met with the media after the game. He said he obviously didn't try to hurt Chimera, and had already left him a message.Cal Clutterbuck
and Brent Burns were both popular with the media. Todd Richards continues to be impressed with Clutterbuck's work ethic. And Richards said he was surprised at how well Burns goes into the corners and plays well defensively. Richards says some guys are big and don't play big - but Burns is not one of those. Burns has worked hard to get to this point after his concussion and shoulder surgery, and right tops the scale at 232 pounds.
Todd Richards met with the media in our "new" post-game press conference room (the old one was converted into a family room for the players. Richards said it was nice to get the win, and his team will be back on the ice tomorrow.
After that quick 60-second timeout, we are back underway. Another Columbus power play nearing the end. The energy is a bit down after the injury to Chimera.
Another penalty to the Wild, this one to Clayton Stoner
, who laid what looked like a pretty good hit on Jared Boll (who seconds earlier got in the face of several of the Wild players). Hit looked worse than it was (and it wasn't bad) because it happened right in front of the Wild bench so there was no glass. Aaron Sickman reminds me that interference happens when the puck isn't near the player - and the puck wasn't near Boll at all.
The post is kind again to the Wild, as Daniel Steiner gets robbed on the power play.
Columbus is buzzing and pressing. A 9-1 shot advantage this period.
Colton Gillies just went for a hit along the Jackets bench and missed, going halfway onto the Columbus bench.
The Wild gets a chance to work on the power play, as Grant Clitsome gets called for hooking.
Oh, Kevin Lalande robs Clutterbuck's attempt at a hat trick. Clutterbuck went top shelf glove side, and Lalande made an amazing save.
The Wild peppering Lalande, who swallows up Jaime Sifers' blast from the left point. Irmen, Bouchard and Gillies up front now as Todd Richards gives many guys a look.
I'm headed downstairs. More post-game.
Almost four minutes into the second. We've already had some blood. Jason Chimera took a puck in the face. A trail of blood over to the Blue Jackets bench still.
The Boogeyman upends Stoner impressively.
to the box for interference.
But it's the Wild with a great chance, as Colton Gillies streaks in alone. But Mason makes another great save.
Eight seconds after his penalty expires, Clutterbuck scores his second of the night, assisted by Brodziak and Belanger.
And as expected, Backstrom plays half the game, and Harding relieves him. Backstrom made 10 saves.
And Boogaard and Jared Boll, longtime combatants, are chatting, and both get sent to the box.
is only a post away from the hat trick. What a play by Brent Burns (I am just copying and pasting that, I'm saying it so much) to go around two defenders and flip a puck back into the slot to Clutterbuck.
Scary moment as Jason Chimera is being attended to on the ice by a host of medical staff, including Wild docs Burns and Boyd. The stretcher is out. Chimera was hit hard into the boards by Eric Belanger. He was writhing around in pain. There are no fewer than eight people around him. Chimera had just returned to the ice after taking a load of stitches from that puck on his first shift of the period.
Referees have called an early intermission to give the teams time to recover from the emotional moment. I've seen that happen with maybe a minute left in the period, but not six-plus. So the teams will return, play 6:17, then after a brief timeout (and no ice resurfacing), will play a 20-minute third period.
The teams are back skating, the Blue Jackets two minutes into a five-minute power play.1:56
Derick Brassard rings a shot off the post, and Harding falls back and covers up with a brush of bodies coming over him.
A huge ovation for the Wild as it has killed off the power play.
We're underway. Zidlicky and Stoner on the blueline for Minnesota. Gillies, Sheppard and Pouliot up front.
Columbus throwing some weight around early. Trevor Frischmon just upended Ryan Lannon in the Wild zone.
The Wild on an early power play, with Daniel Steiner going for boarding. New official jerseys this year. "Looks like they're in jail" quips Aaron Sickman.
Brent Burns gets the first good chance for the Wild, pinching way in from the right point on a loose puck and firing just high and wide.
We may call Brodziak "Clutterbuck Lite". Big hit by Brodziak behind Mason.
Danny Irmen created some traffic in front and Jaime Sifers nearly scored from the right point. Good energy from some of the Wild's youngsters.10:54
When you watch this Wild team, one of the first things you'll see is how relentless the forecheck now is. Three guys pressuring, trying to create the turnover. Reminds me of basketball full court press.
Andy Hilbert has his head down a bit and gets run into by David Liffiton. But Hilbert didn't fall down.
Seconds later, Antti Miettinen is robbed, and Cal Clutterbuck
is pushed into the goalie.
We get our first look at the Wild's PK unit, as James Sheppard goes for hooking.
Brent Burns is all over the place, and there spins around and fires the puck the length of the ice to get a change on the PK for his teammates.
Burns stays out there and makes a tremendous play leading to a 2-on-1 for Brodziak and Gillies. Mason makes a nice stop on Brodziak, and Gillies is pushed to the ground as he whacks at the rebound.
Danny Irmen continues to create chances. He fires from the right side and Mason makes the save. The former Gopher then hustles after his own rebound into the left corner, turns and fires a centering pass to Bouchard, who gets robbed by Mason.2:45
Is Team Canada watching? Greaet stickwork by Brent Burns for about 40 feet leads to a shot from the left circle that Mason stops.2:41
Scary moment, as Clutterbuck is high-sticked by Kristian Huselius. Clutterbuck attended to but is back up on the bench in quick order. Wild power play upcoming.
And now a 5-on-3 as Rostislav Klesla fires the puck over the boards trying to clear. Zidlicky and Burns on the blueline, Miettinen, Bouchard and Clutterbuck up front on the two-man advantage.
What a glove save by Mason on Zidlicky's bomb from the left circle!
And there it is! Cal Clutterbuck nets the 5-on-3 goal to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. Brent Burns, boy is he playing a great game, finds Antti Miettinen low in the left circle. Miettinen's centering pass goes off David Liffiton's skate and lands right on Clutterbuck's stick, and the man Don Cherry called "Buttercup" makes it 1-0.
Hilbert goes 5-hole on Mason and scores - but he doesn't. It was the blade of his stick which fluttered in on Mason after the stick shattered.
End 1st period
The Wild outshot the Jackets 13-6 in the first period and leads 1-0. Minnesota was the agressor, that's for sure.
Defending Calder Trophy winner as Rookie of the Year Steve Mason led the Blue Jackets out on the ice, and shortly thereafter Niklas Backstrom
led the Wild to a thunderous applause. Hockey is back, folks.
For the Wild, Brent Burns, Eric Belanger and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
will wear the "A" tonight for alternate captain.
Let's Play Hockey is being done by two members of the U.S. Women's National Hockey Team - Minnesota natives Rachael Drazen, Gigi Marvin and Angie Keseley. The National Team trains in Blaine. Good luck to them in Vancouver in February!
Tonight's press meal was fabulous, and I am happy to report that everyone's favorite - cookie pudding - is now self-serve. I give it about five games of myself and Pat O'Connor from Wild TV putting a hurting on the cookie pudding before it is back in the safe hands of Chef Patrick behind the counter.
Group 2 is working on breakouts. Wade Dubielewicz and Anton Khudobin manning the nets.
Todd Richards not happy with this group in the current drill. He says they need to do it faster, and better.
Yesterday's season ticket delivery was awesome. The players enjoyed it, and the fans that got their tickets certainly enjoyed it. All four TV stations plus FS North came. You can visit our Twitter account
for pictures of Havlat's deliveries.
E-mail just into the R.S.S. Feed from Michael in the Twin Cities.Q:
I am a big fan of the Gophers and was wondering how Danny Irmen has looked so far this year? Love to see him with the big club!A:
Thanks for the e-mail Michael. Irmen created many chances in the preseason game Tuesday. He has looked good in practice. I'm sure the juices will be flowing for him during tonight's preseason game at Xcel Energy Center. Irmen was a relatively early camp cut the last two seasons, but he has looked good this preseason.
Back from media availability for the group playing tonight. Not much news - Antti Miettinen was popular with the media.
Funny moment as Josh Harding
walked in from the morning skate. As I've mentioned before, Harding is in charge of the music, and sometimes it is hideous at best. Aaron Sickman and I fight with him about music a lot, playfully, of course. Greg Zanon, in the room getting ready to skate in the second group, had this to say as Harding walked in: "Hey Hards, who exactly was singing that last song? And I'm going to need your iPod password." Zanon is full of personality. Great guy to have in the room.
The ice is quiet as the second group looks at video before its scheduled skate.
The best I can see for forward line combos tonight are:
It looks like Niklas Backstrom
will get the start tonight in front of the home fans.
Just got word that Petr Sykora will be on XM Home Ice 204 at 3:05 p.m. central today. So listen in. RSS Feed follower Jim "Boomer" Gordon on the air with him - that's the All-Star treatment, I'll have to listen too!
Time for some mailbag questions. I always love getting mail
Is there any way for us to listen to the exhibition games over the internet? Of course watching would be better but I am quite sure there is no way to do that.
Marylou from B.C.
A: Absolutely, you can listen, Marylou. Just visit Wild.com for the game and the link will be prominently featured. For those of you locally, the game is broadcast on WCCO Radio 830. Bob and Tom are pumped and ready to go. Kevin Falness is getting there...
Q: Ryan – Fantastic Blog.
One question for you – How does Duncan Milroy look so-far in the camp, and does he have a chance of being one of the first mid-season call-ups?
Brandon from Edmonton
A: Thanks for the note Brandon. Milroy has looked good, and played in St. Louis on Tuesday, registering three shots on goal. I would say anyone in camp currently that doesn't make the Wild, will be fighting for those first call-ups.
Special thanks to some other e-mailers as well, including Nick, Brad, Mackenzie and Brent from Spokane (an Owen Nolan fan). Also heard from Duane from Houston, who has been the Aeros' penalty timekeeper for the last 16 years.
That time of the year again. Game notes are on the copier, I'm enjoying a large caffeinated beverage and we'll head over to Xcel Energy Center soon for the morning skate.
Tonight's game is at 7 p.m. against Columbus. Call 651-222-WILD now to get your tickets, or visit tickets.wild.com
A reminder of tonight's scheduled lineup:
Forwards: Belanger, Boogaard, Bouchard, Brodziak, Clutterbuck, Gillies, Hilbert, Irmen, Kalus, Miettinen, Pouliot, Sheppard
Defensemen: Burns, Lannon, Rogers, Sifers, Stoner, Zidlicky
Goalies: Backstrom, Harding
Tonight's press meal is next. I am like a kid in a candy store especially with the new carving station. I was just reminded of my "meal number" - 18. I would never forget this number, as it is my admission to the press dining room. As former Wild.com editor Jamie MacDonald once said to me, "it's as important as your social security number."
Chicken Wild Rice Soup
Salad Bar with Assorted Rolls
Parmesan Encrusted Haddock Fillets Served with Lemon Aioli
Carved Pork Loin Sandwiches
Served with Sautéed Onions and Peppers
Horseradish Thyme Mashed Potatoes
Shells in Creamy Cheese Sauce
Acorn Squash Casserole
More to come after the morning skate!