You can listen along tonight on WCCO Radio or by clicking this link
10 p.m. EDT
Waiting for the Wild players to finish getting dressed and to the bus after a great 5-4 shootout victory over the home Flyers.
The Wild showed a lot of depth tonight, coming back from two goals down early, then a third-period deficit too. It's a luxury for Todd Richards to have so many skilled forwards. Got production out of everyone tonight. And had a good selection of shootout guys to choose as well.
We're hoping to beat Flyers traffic, but it doesn't look good. But they'll let the bus out in short order. The Wild will practice tomorrow to prepare for Saturday's season opener at Columbus.
As usual on the road, I'll blog till about the 10:00 mark when I'll head downstairs to make sure the post-game pizza is here for the players. I'll offer up some final words on the bus headed to the airport, plus update www.twitter.com/mnwild
when the game is final.
Flyers waste little time reclaiming the lead, as Mike Richards makes up for his earlier penalty by smacking a one-time drop pass from Simon Gagne top shelf over Backstrom. It's 3-2 Flyers.
Kim Johnsson nearly ties it up with a shot off the post, and with a penalty upcoming on the Flyers, Owen Nolan throws down the mitts with youngster Braydon Coburn. It didn't go well for Coburn. Nolan is typically select with whom he fights. Good battle. The in-house replay, incidentally, stopped right before the four-or-five-punch combo effort that knocked Coburn down The Wild should be going on the power play here. Indeed, as Coburn is also in the box for cross checking.
Clutterbuck evens things up at 3-3! Terrific pass from Bouchard, patiently biding his time from the right circle for Clutterbuck to get open between the circles. Kim Johnsson with the second assist, digging the puck out of the corner. The Wachovia Center is pretty quiet right now.
Richards again, this time with a dangerous elbow on an unsuspecting Eric Belanger.
Adding insult to injury, the Wild goes shorthanded as Brent Burns goes to the box.
One, two, three unreal saves by Nik Backstrom after a point blast by Pronger. I'm headed downstairs. Be back to wrap up post-game.
Underway in the second stanza.
Wild gets a power play thanks to a high sticking call to Mike Richards.
Minnesota gets its best chance of the game, but Emery stones Sykora from close range after a nice pass from Bouchard.
A terrific save by Backstrom keeps the Wild in the game, as Hartnell fired a 2-on-1 pass to Briere after a turnover at the Wild blueline.
Flyers captain Mike Richards two hand cross checks Cal Clutterbuck
as he turns around in the faceoff circle. He'll go for two minutes for roughing, setting up another Wild man advantage. Could have definitely been called a major.
We'll see if that Richards hit carries over into the regular season matchup in March, but for right now, the Wild make the Flyers leader pay with a goal to make it 2-1. Mikko Koivu carried the puck on the left side and fed a pass to Martin Havlat cutting through the right circle. Havlat fired into the net, with Brent Burns picking up the second assist. Havlat has a team-leading four goals in the preseason.
Agitator Daniel Carcillo chirps at Clutterbuck, and the crowd rises sensing something could happen.
Clutterbuck and Carcillo again as the Flyers gear up to go on the power play. So they won't go on a power play as Carcillo goes to the box too. They're still yapping in the penalty box. We've seen Emery go out, back in and now out again in the last 30 seconds. It looks like Johan Backlund is in for good now. Maybe he had an equipment issue after he first replaced Emery.
With the teams 4-on-4, Backlund juggles a Kim Johnsson flip shot from the right circle but moves the puck wide of the net.
Backstrom just gets a piece of a Danny Briere 2-on-1 after Mike Richards blocked Greg Zanon's point shot.
Somehow the Flyers don't score on a 2-on-0 after Hnidy pinches at the point. Backstrom made the first save, Zidlicky with the second with his skate.
Clutterbuck breaks out of the box but shoots wide on the breakaway. This game has certainly picked up intensity since Richards' hit on Clutterbuck. I'm headed downstairs.
But before I go, Big John Scott was assessed a 10-minute misconduct and has headed to the locker room.
End 2nd period
I am 2-for-2 missing goals while on the elevator, and this time it was one for the Wild. Brent Burns fired from the left circle and Backlund didn't fully see it I don't think. Burns has a goal and an assist now tonight.
Backstrom, Zanon and Burns start on the blueline for Minnesota. Up front, we see Brunette and Koivu for the first time, alongside Martin Havlat.
Pronger and Carle, Hartnell, Carter and Briere for the Flyeres. Razor Ray Emery in net.
Lauren Hart, the "No. 1 ranked Anthem singer in the NHL," just got done and we're about ready to go.19:55
And we are underway, with the Wild controlling the faceoff.
The Flyers almost score on the first shift, but Greg Zanon and Brent Burns each blocked shots at near open nets.
Brent Burns goes for high sticking Daniel Carcillo, and the Flyers are on the first power play of the game.
Koivu/Miettinen, Belanger/Sheppard and Clutterbuck/Brodziak were the forward combos on that PK.
The Flyers take a 1-0 lead as Claude Giroux fires a shot from between the circles that deflected off Nick Shultz and up and over Backstrom. Can't fault the goalie there, just plum bad luck. Some lucky fans won a Tastycakes fan pack. Yummm, Tastycakes.
just ran over Backstrom in the crease. I guess he was pushed, there was no call. The net came off, but play continued the other way.
Some pretty passing by Clutterbuck, Miettinen and Sheppard as they pin the Flyers deep, but Sheppard fanned on a shot from the right circle.
Wild on the power play now as Mika Pyorala goes for slashing.
Brunette, Koivu and Nolan are wearing the A's tonight. No captain to be named before the season opener, Todd Richards will go with three A's until he selects the permanent captain.
It's a danceoff in house as they give away tickets to see the Rockettes' show locally. A rather bald man from Delaware and a little girl from Roxboro. The little girl wins!
I'm headed downstairs. I don't expect any interviews, but Flyers radio could be there. Already paid the pizza man for post-game pizza.
End 1st period
Flyers made it 2-0 on my way to the locker room and hold an 11-6 shot advantage through one.
6:15 p.m. EDT, Tuesday
Greetings from the press box at Wachovia Center, where we are about 15 minutes prior to warm-ups for tonight's Wild/Flyers preseason tilt. You can listen along on WCCO Radio or by clicking this link
The Wild this afternoon assigned Craig Weller to AHL Houston. Nathan Smith also cleared waivers, and he remains with the Wild in Philly. The Wild played Benoit Pouliot (groin) and Derek Boogaard (concussion) on injured reserve. The Wild roster stands at 23 including Andy Hilbert, who is still on a tryout and has not signed a contract.
No changes in the lineup from this morning. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(illness) is expected to give it a go, and if not, Nathan Smith will step into the lineup. Niklas Backstrom
starts in net for the Wild.
Tonight's press meal was good, although I tried to be relatively passive with it. So I went with CHICKEN cheesesteak instead of regular cheesesteak (still had it "WIT WHIZ"
), only a couple beer battered onion rings, and just a bowl of the sausage and peppers soup.
It's a busy night tonight around here, as the Phillies are hosting the Astros at 7. The Phillies are getting close to clinching the AL East, and tickets are hard to come by. More than one game at this site is nothing new, of course, as "The Vet" stood here long ago as well. Now, the Flyers and Sixers share Wachovia Center, while the Phils and Eagles play at separate stadiums on the same site.
The old Spectrum, meanwhile, still stands, but not for long. The AHL's Phantoms have moved to Glens Falls, N.Y., and after several concerts in the coming month, the Spectrum will be blown up to make room for a new hotel. Bruce Springsteen, he of the 47 Philadelphia sellouts (Billy Joel has 46, according to the two signs hanving not too far from where I sit), will play four shows at The Spectrum in October. Old friend Mike Thornton of the Flyers (formerly of the Phantoms) told me Pearl Jam is closing that place down.
12:15 p.m. EDT, Tuesday
A quick blog while on the way back to the hotel for lunch. Hopefully a quick ride. I see construction cones ahead.
Tonight's game at the Flyers begins at 6 p.m. central time and can be heard on WCCO 830 or on Wild.com.
It looks like tonight's lineup could resemble the regular season opener. Nathan Smith and Jaime Sifers were on the ice late, meaning they're likely scratched. Smith would play if Bouchard (illness) isn't ready to go. Todd Richards called Butch a game-time decision but that he'd more than likely play.
The top two lines look set: Havlat-Koivu-Brunette, and Sykora-Bouchard-Nolan. Koivu and Brunette will play for the first time this preseason tonight.
Richards also told assembled media that he won't pick a captain before the regular season opener, since he finally has all his guys back on the ice and in the locker room.
As you saw on the Wild's Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/mnwild), our departure was delayed 90 minutes out of MSP yesterday. So the guys had an early lunch before we took off. We arrived to rain and two rainbows. It was quite the sight. We arrived at the hotel around 7 p.m. Had we been on schedule, we'd have hit more traffic, and maybe not been in much earlier.
It took me awhile, but I finally found my favorite downtown Philly Irish pub. There may be more Irish pubs here than Dublin and Boston combined. Next time, I'll remember the address of Cavanaugh's, where their combo of parmesan crusted chicken with red peppers and bacon, along with tots and red pepper ranch, are just awesome.