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The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

The R.S.S. Feed: Dec. 18, 2008

by Ryan Stanzel / Minnesota Wild
Dec. 18, 2008

1:30 p.m. CST

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   J. Lemaire
Jacques Lemaire has a plan to build the team's confidence and discusses the stress put on Gaborik

NEWS: Nick Schultz's Day in the Live debut is set for tonight. Check out the tease for a sneak peek.

I’m back from today's 45-minute Wild practice, where Jacques Lemaire gave Eric Belanger the day off. In meeting with the media, Lemaire said Belanger plays a very physical game, despite his size, and that he needs more days off than any other player. On the ice, Lemaire had Cal Clutterbuck alongside Mikko Koivu and Marian Gaborik, and mentioned that Clutterbuck not only drives to the net, but he is physical enough to create space for the other two.

The Wild is winless in six (0-5-1) and tomorrow faces an Islanders team that is winless in seven (0-6-1). The Isles could possibly see Mike Comrie and St. Paul native and former Gophers forward Kyle Okposo back in the lineup tomorrow. On a related note, former Gophers coach and current broadcaster Doug Woog is scheduled to announce “Let’s Play Hockey” on Friday.

Media notes: Clutterbuck is scheduled to appear with Mike Max on WCCO Radio tonight at 8:40 p.m., and NHL Productions was wrapping up its feature on Kurtis Foster, who went through another full practice.

A couple random items from game notes for tomorrow before I head into a meeting for the January game program:

Minnesota has allowed the game's first goal in each game during its six-game winless streak. The Wild is 4-8-2 this season when its opponent scores first. The first period has been a struggle lately for the Wild, which has scored just one first-period goal in its last seven games, that coming 12/14 at Anaheim. Minnesota's 21 first-period goals are tied for 25th in the NHL.

From 11/24-12/3, the Wild scored a league-high 26 goals -- seven more than any other team. But since 12/5, the Wild has scored just seven goals in six games -- two fewer than any other NHL team.

The Wild is 7-1-1 against the Eastern Conference, with two of its next three games against the East (Tuesday vs. Carolina). The lone Eastern Conference team to defeat Minnesota in regulation was Montreal, a 2-1 decision 10/30. The Wild is just 8-12-1 against the West.
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