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The R.S.S. Feed: Dec. 15, 2008

by Ryan Stanzel / Minnesota Wild
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Dec. 15, 2008

3 p.m. CST

You know it’s cold when you feel warm enough inside Parade Ice Garden to take your jacket off. Such was the case for me today at the Wild’s 1 p.m. skate, with wind chills hovering around the 30 below mark outside. It’s certainly a nice “welcome home” from Mother Nature for the players after five days in warmer climates, and for me after five days in New York.

Both newspapers, along with two TV stations and Wild Radio’s Kevin Falness (take a listen to a noteworthy PONDcast) attended today’s practice, which was relatively short. Jacques Lemaire skated for about 20 minutes, and most players were off the ice shortly thereafter. For some context, the team arrived at the airport just after 2 a.m. this morning.

Jacques said that Marian Gaborik’s return is basically “up to Gaby.” Gaborik said he’s pretty sure he’ll be good to go for Wednesday’s game against Calgary, but he hasn’t made a firm decision yet.

The Wild will have one more skate before that Wednesday game. Today, Brent Burns practiced on a forward line with Eric Belanger and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, perhaps notice that Erik Reitz will remain on the blue line, and Burns up front, when Gaborik returns.

Gaborik skated on a line with James Sheppard and Stephane Veilleux, a trio that had good chemistry in the preseason. Jacques was quick to note that the return of the Wild’s leading scorer in franchise history won’t cure all, but it will help some of the stick-squeezing he feels as some players may be trying to do too much.

Speaking of Gaborik, he’s scheduled to go on WCCO Radio with Mike Max tonight at 8:10 p.m.

Tomorrow is a busy day in Wild-land ...

Dan Moriarty from NHL Network is in town to shoot the ferocious ping pong games between Bouchard and Veilleux. I hope Steph wears his lime green tennis outfit. Also, Hockey Night in Canada is in town for a feature on Kurtis Foster’s recovery. And KARE 11 will be filming “Wild Around the World,” which includes players and questions about their hometowns and countries.

Another programming note ... “Day In The Life: Nick Schultz” will debut on the NHL Network on Thursday, Dec. 18 at 6 p.m. The 30-minute episode follows Schultz for an entire game day on Dec. 5 when the Wild hosted the Vancouver Canucks. NHL Network will also re-air the show on Saturday, Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 21 at 3:30 p.m.

And this: The next Wild Hockey Unplugged will take place Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. at Dave & Busters, located at 11780 Fountains Way in Maple Grove. Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to participate in an open mic Q&A session and receive an autograph from Cal Clutterbuck and Craig Weller. (For more on the details of a Hockey Unplugged event, click here for the Hockey Unplugged Home Page.)

For those who haven’t seen or heard, Tyler Cuma, the Wild’s first-round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, was left off Team Canada’s roster for the upcoming World Junior Championships. Cuma suffered an injury during an intrasquad scrimmage during the Team Canada training camp last week. Don’t forget, the Wild still has a representative, as assistant equipment manager Brent Proulx will be Team USA’s head equipment guru.

A quick mailbag item. Thanks for all the e-mails while I was on vacation. Sadly, there will be no blogging about commercial airplane food, or at least the $4 mini package of potato chips. I’m recharged and ready to get back into the swing of things.

Q: Hello
How close is Kurtis Foster to returning to the line up?

A: Thanks for the note, Steven. There is no estimated return for Foster. He skated his first full practice with the team last week, although he didn’t participate in every drill, and still has difficulty doing some things. He continues to work hard both on and off the ice (here is some video of Foster Skating from Dec. 3).
I’m going to take a look at the upcoming games and write some preliminary game note items, and I also have a couple releases to get done this week and next, including a “Wild About Children” wrap-up. And there's also a more detailed lineup of Hockey Day Minnesota programming with my counterpart at Fox Sports North, Becky Ross.
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