Day One of the Minnesota Wild's training camp presented by Wells Fargo was over in the blink of an eye. Only about 150 more practice days lay ahead.
To listen to the Wild PONDcast with Day One sound, click here
We’ve got three teams to open up camp, and they are named after core values within the Minnesota Wild organization – Team Preparation, Team Passion and Team Honesty. I can't speak for the players, but I would have a problem playing for a team named “Passion” unless I was on a WNBA team.
Team Passion and Team Honesty opened things up with a scrimmage today. Team Preparation will practice afterwards. Roles will reverse tomorrow.
The first sight upon walking into the arena 20 minutes prior to the start of practice was Niklas Backstrom
working on drills with goaltender coach, Bob Mason. I don’t think the big contract in the offseason is going to affect the Finn’s outstanding work ethic.
The line combinations shook out like this for Team Passion:
Kalus – Demitra – Gaborik
Voloshenko – Sheppard – Veilleux
Gillies – Payer – Ward
Carney – Burns
Stoner – Hill
Barry Brust tended goal for the first half, and Nolan Schaefer relieved him in the second.
For Team Honesty:
Radivojevic – Koivu – Parrish
Madsen – Moore – Irmen
Boogaard – Kelly – A. Foster
Skoula – K. Foster
Nummelin – Reitz
Backstrom took care of the pipes...honestly (pause for guffawing).
The surprise story of the scrimmage was Dominic Moore, who has become the forgotten man in the Wild's hotly-contested center position. With Mikko Koivu
, Wes Walz and Eric Belanger in the fold, there is speculation that the fourth spot might belong to James Sheppard.
Moore got an early jump in locking up that fourth center position, scoring two goals and helping set up another by Danny Irmen. The Moore line was easily the best on Team Honesty, and really generated more scoring chances than the Gaborik-Demitra line, which also looked good.
After two 25-minute halves, the score was tied at two and went to a shootout, which was won by Team Honesty. Backstrom earned the win in goal.
Following the morning scrimmage, the first player to come under media questioning was Tyler Hirsch, who admittedly did not have a strong performance on the first day. He said he won't be around much longer if he plays like that. He also talked about his controversial years at Minnesota and his dismissal from the team. Bottom line, he said, was that he didn't qualify academically.
Moore was also sought after on his breakout day. He said he is looking forward to a new season, and a full year with the club. He said he was frustrated last year over not playing in the playoffs because he had never been a healthy scratch. He admitted that it was probably hard to earn the trust of Jacques Lemaire considering that he was new, and the other players knew the system already.
"That's what I'm looking for from him," said Lemaire. "It's important for him (to play well). It's important for the other guys. If the guys play well, I have to play them. If they're having a tough time, it could be dangerous for them."