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Saturday, 12:45 p.m. CST
Greetings, State of Hockey and beyond. I hope your holidays were enjoyable.
The Wild hit the ice for the second time after Christmas today, and for the final time before a grueling stretch of games that begins Sunday at home versus Chicago, and then Monday at first-place Calgary, where the Wild is 3-15-4 all-time.
The forward lines from practice today:
The Wild will hold an abbreviated pre-game skate at 9 o'clock Sunday morning, thanks to the 5 p.m. gametime. Nine players are scheduled to practice, including the injured Owen Nolan and Kurtis Foster
, along with goalie Josh Harding
. Jacques Lemaire told attending media today that he won’t be around for Sunday’s morning skate.
Lemaire put his team through a little more than an hour-long practice today. They worked on 2-on-1s, 3-on-2s, plus a drill at the end of practice designed to work on strength with the puck and individual skills. Lemaire said that outside of Mikko Koivu
, there isn’t much “beating a man” one-on-one, and he’d like to see more of it. Lemaire also stressed how hot the Blackhawks are -- eight straight wins -- and said Chicago is a well-balanced team that moves the puck well. This is far from the Blackhawks team the Wild beat 3-2 in late October.
Both newspapers were represented at practice this morning, along with Tom Reid from Wild radio and Dan Terhaar with Wild TV. I got to the office around 9:30 to prepare notes for Sunday’s game, and to get a head start on notes for Monday’s game -- and also to make some extra copies for Robert, who is en route from California to coordinate packets for the Chicago media.
I chatted with assistant GM Tom Lynn, who noted that today was Marian Gaborik’s fourth scheduled day off. He was not on the list of players to go on the ice at 9 a.m. Sunday, but that could change.
As previously noted, I’ll be in the stands tomorrow night at the game, finishing off a doubleheader that will begin with Giants-Vikings at noon. I’ll be back blogging on Monday.