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The R.S.S. Feed: Dec. 5, 2008

by Ryan Stanzel / Minnesota Wild
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Dec. 5, 2008

3rd period
We're chilling to some 867-5309 (Jenny) here at the second intermission. I talked to the pilot a bit ago, the plane is here and they're on it. Catering should arrive around 9 p.m. and be loaded onto the plane. I also just called Elias Sports Bureau, just thinking ahead for post-game notes, to see the last goalie to earn his first NHL win against the Wild. Generally when I do something like this, it acts as a jinx and I don't ever need to use the note. Let's hope that'll happen here.


Veilleux/Belanger/Bouchard, the French connection, start up front.


Just one shot so far this period - from the Wild.


Brent Burns with a good shot through a James Sheppard screen, but Schneider saw enough of the shot to block it.


The Team of 18,000 tries to will the Wild to a tying goal. With Koivu centering Clutterbuck and Boogaard, the entire crowd on its feet yelling "Let's go Wild." Boogaard gets tripped big time behind the net by Willie Mitchell, but there's no call. And the Team of 18,000 doesn't like it.

Eric Belanger creates a great chance for Bouchard after going coast-to-coast. Then, he just tips an Erik Reitz point blast wide of the net. The Wild slowly picking up some momentum.


Derek Boogaard doesn't like Darcy Hordichuk so close to Niklas Backstrom. A shoving match ensues. Boogaard had seven minutes-plus through two periods and has been on the ice several shifts in the third.

A veteran move by Jason Jaffray to get Brent Burns off the ice for five minutes. With a scrum behind the net, Jaffray gets himself tangled up with Burns some 30 feet away, and the pair drop the gloves. Jaffray has a goal tonight, but the loss of Burns for five minutes is monumentally bigger than the loss of Jaffray. We see the replay. Burns demolished Jaffray. And Darcy Hordichuk has been sent to the locker room, as has Derek Boogaard. But no power play, and the Wild is down to nine healthy skaters for the next five minutes. And even once Burns is back, the Wild is down two skaters.


Schneider with an awesome save on Mikko Koivu on a shot through traffic from the low slot.


This will probably be the last post. I've got to pack up shop soon and get downstairs. Hopefully I can beat some traffic to the airport so I can make sure everything is set up. I'll talk to you guys tomorrow from Nashville!

2nd period

A few minutes until play begins again, but PR guru Aaron Sickman has notified us that Owen Nolan is out with a lower body injury and won't return. We've been joined in the press box by 4-year-old Evan Sickman! He's taking in the sights. Also, the Wild's three shots on goal in the first are a season low.

The teams begin 4-on-4.

And that'll inspire the 17 remaining players and the Team of 18,000. Nick Schultz fires from between the circles. Cory Schneider somehow got a piece of the puck but got turned around. While he was standing up looking for the puck, Mikko Koivu picked up the rebound 25 feet out in the right circle and fired it home for his team-leading 10th goal. Mikko now has a seven-game point streak and the game is tied 1-1. Schultz and Antti Miettinen with the assists.


A nice defensive play by Mason Raymond keeps Benoit Pouliot from a goal. Pouliot tries to fire from the right circle, but a backchecking Raymond is able to block the shot, which was headed at an empty net.


The enthusiasm in here was short-lived, as longtime minor league veteran Jason Jaffray takes a drop pass from Jannik Hansen and sends it by Backstrom from the left circle for his first goal of the season. It's Jaffray's third goal in 22 NHL games. Good to see a long-time minor league guy get a goal, but not against your team. Canucks up 2-1.


Remember that Boogaard/Belanger/Burns line that won the 3-on-3 tournament in practice yesterday? They're skating together now.


Just past the game's midway point, the Wild has just eight shots. Twenty for the Canucks.


Save for that last goal, Niklas Backstrom is keeping the Wild in this game. He just made a skate, then stick save on Alex Burrows.


Cory Schneider hasn't been tested often, but he's been good in search of his first NHL win. Here, he stones Brent Burns from the low slot after Burns took a feed from Eric Belanger.

End 2nd period

A good start to the second, but the Wild couldn't sustain the pressure. Vancouver outshooting the Wild 26-10 through two periods, and outscoring them 2-1.

1st period

Members of the St. Paul K9 unit lead us in Let's Play Hockey. Well, not the dogs...Koivu centers Miettinen and Clutterbuck, across from the Canucks top line of Sedins/Demitra. The Wild controls the faceoff.


And we have a donnybrook already. Brent Burns and Alex Burrows got tangled up, and Burns' stick got up high on Burrows, who had slashed at Burns. Burrows went off the ice, and Willie Mitchell and Kevin Bieksa both went after Burns. Meanwhile, Ryan Kesler and James Sheppard drop the gloves. The Wild will get a power play, as Willie Mitchell takes the minor. The Wild may have gotten fortunate there.


Brent Burns hits the outside of the net. The Wild swarming, but so far that was the only chance.


Owen Nolan hobbles off the ice and heads to the locker room. We'll provide an update when we can.

Vancouver controlling the play in the last seven or eight minutes. Pavol Demitra just got a shot off before sliding into the boards along the left wing, but Niklas Backstrom made the save.


Derek Boogaard is going to go for boarding Willie Mitchell, who got up looking for the offender, and then saw who it was, and didn't go much further. By the way, Brent Burns tonight ties Willie Mitchell for ninth place on the team's all-time games played list with 288. The Canucks are the lone team with more than one PPG against the Wild this season. They have two, the rest of the NHL has eight.

With just three seconds left on the power play, Kevin Bieksa fires a shot through a Daniel Sedin screen that beats Backstrom. Sedin had the perfect screen. Standing in front of Backstrom with Kim Johnsson, he jumped at the right time and the puck eluded Backstrom. That's Bieksa's fifth goal of the season.


A tough night for agitator Alex Burrows. Cal Clutterbuck just plowed Burrows into the boards along the Canuck wall.


Mikko Koivu has a good chance, but Cory Schneider makes a left pad save. It's Minnesota's first shot in more than 16 minutes, and its first even strength shot of the game. The Wild's first two shots came on the power play.

End 1st
Some pushing and shoving, and Burrows and Mitchell are in on it again. Stephane Veilleux laid a check into Burrows, and there was chaos. Burrows and Brent Burns get roughing minors, so the teams will start out 4-on-4 in the second.

Wild coach Jacques Lemaire won't be happy with that first period. Vancouver outshoots the Wild 14-3, including 14-1 in the last 19 minutes. Owen Nolan is yet to return. The Wild trails after one period for just the fifth time in 25 games this season (1-2-1). It hadn't happened in the last 11 games, since Vancouver won 2-0 Nov. 8.

Pre-game warm-ups
Reminder - watch the game in KSTC-TV Channel 45 on HD. Over-the-air on 45.1 or 45.2, and on Comcast on Channel 402 (Minneapolis and Southwest Suburbs) and Channel 201 (St. Paul and eastern suburbs).

Craig Weller is out for the Wild, which is warming up 19 players - one more than regular. Colton Gillies could be that scratch, but we're not sure. Niklas Backstrom will start opposite former BC Eagle Cory Schneider. Darcy Hordichuk is in for the Canucks, despite a broken bone in his foot that caused him to miss the last two games. Pavol Demitra will again skate with the Sedin brothers. Rob Davison, Mike Brown and former Houston Aero Lawrence Nycholat are out for the Canucks.

It was a busy afternoon. We're all set upon our arrival into Nashville tonight. However, snow has begun to fall in the metro Twin Cities region, which just can make things difficult tonight. My Mazda loves the snow, so getting to the airport will be lovely. De-icing, etc., are all variables that can take you extra time to get up in the air. We'll no doubt be hurrying the players out of the arena tonight so we can get in the air. I'm parked in the loading dock, so I can (hopefully) quickly get out of here and to the airport. Typically it's a little slow until you get on Shepherd Rd. They are supposed to be parking my car so it's not blocked in. One time last year, I was leaving for a road trip, and my car ended up parked behind the Islanders bus. They had to have the bus pull out while I exited, and held up Jacques Lemaire and Mario Tremblay in the process. I still don't think they know I was the reason they couldn't leave the loading dock.

I've been in contact with Mike from our charter company, telling me the plane should arrive from Raleigh-Durham at any time. That's No. 1 priority, obviously.

In the 15 minutes after warm-ups, I'm going to make sure I have all Wild players' numbers programmed into my phone. I have been meaning to do it, and since everyone drives separately to the airport, I need to be able to reach someone if they are late and tell them to hurry. I also need to get per diem from Shep Harder of our hockey ops department.

A treat also, Daniel from White Bear Lake, a frequent RSS Feed reader and e-mailer, stopped by to say hi.

Many e-mails this afternoon, I don't have time to go through them all. But thanks to Dan from Cornwall, Ont., and Nate for a couple of questions. Brian from St. Cloud, a meteorologist in training, writes in that there will indeed be snow, and a good amount prior to takeoff. That's just great news, Brian, who also is "jealous of your unmatchable passion for beef barley soup!"

And this from Jerry:

Q: I have noticed when following along with the pre-game & post-game interviews, there are mostly a couple of guys that are regulars. For sure Belanger is one. Bergeron is another. Is there a reason that a core group of guys do the interviews? Are they just more open? Do they want to do the interviews more than others? Do the TV people like talking with them more? Are they designated by the other players…? Let us know.

A: Thanks for the good question Jerry. Typically the TV or radio producers ask us for particular players. Those two guys, along with Koivu, Brunette and Backstrom, are typically the ones that make the news in the game. In some instances, like in Canada, we can have up to four interviews (and five in the playoffs) during any one intermission, and more post-game. The priority order, per the NHL, is: national TV, home TV, visiting TV, home radio and visiting radio. But that's a very rare occurence.

11:30 a.m. CST

Jacques talks about how much stock he places in statistics such as shooting percentage

* M. Koivu
Mikko stresses the importance of two points

* Game preview
Dan Terhaar and Mike Greenlay break down tonight's matchup between the Canucks and Wild

-- W
* PONDcast Preview
Wild Radio's Kevin Falness has Jacques' comments in audio form, plus more

* BONUS PONDcast: Unplugged
Falness serves as emcee of the wildly popular event, also starring M. Koivu and K. Foster

-- BLOG --
* Game Preview
Everything that you need to know before the Wild host division rival, Vancouver, tonight

All-Time Wild Record: 21-15-11
     12-8-4 at Xcel Energy Center
     9-7-7 at Vancouver

The Canucks have won the first two meetings against the Wild this season: 2-0 at General Motors Place (11/8) and 3-2 at Xcel Energy Center (11/20)…Henrik Sedin has tallied four assists against Minnesota…Kevin Bieksa (0-2=2), Pavol Demitra (1-1=2) and Daniel Sedin (2-0=2) have notched two points each…Roberto Luongo made 29 saves in the first meeting and Curtis Sanford made 28 saves in the second contest…Mikko Koivu scored both Wild goals in the second contest and Niklas Backstrom has stopped 51 of 56 shots faced in two starts.

WILD LEADERS: Andrew Brunette has notched 46 points (14-32=46) in 50 contests against Vancouver…Owen Nolan has tallied 36 points (17-19=36) in 53 games…Marian Gaborik has recorded 30 points (17-13=30) in 35 matches.

WILD GOALIES: Niklas Backstrom is 7-3-3 with a 2.10 GAA, a .926 SV% and one shutout in 14 lifetime (12 starts) appearances versus Vancouver…Josh Harding lost both starts against the Canucks last season stopping 30 of 37 shots faced for a 5.87 GAA and a .811 SV%.

CANUCKS LEADERS: Henrik Sedin has tallied 32 points (5-27=32) in 46 games against Minnesota…Daniel Sedin has recorded 29 points (11-18=29) in 44 contests…Pavol Demitra has scored 12 points (6-6=12) in 15 games.

CANUCKS GOALIES: Roberto Luongo is 7-11-4 with a 2.80 GAA, a .898 SV% and two shutouts in 22 starts against Minnesota…Curtis Sanford is 4-2-0 with a 2.54 GAA, a .909 SV% and one shutout in eight appearances (6 starts) against the Wild.

CONNECTIONS: Willie Mitchell appeared in 288 games with Minnesota (2001-06)…Pavol Demitra spent two seasons in a Wild uniform (2006-08).
A busy day over at the rink. Nick Schultz has NHL Network cameras following him around for “Day in the  Life.” He was “miked up” during the morning skate, and they were about to follow him to lunch, then to his house when I came back to the office.

Colton Gillies and Craig Weller were the last two guys off the ice, so it appears as though there will be no lineup changes from Wednesday’s 4-0 win over St. Louis. Niklas Backstrom will be in net.

The Canucks lost, 6-5, last night in Detroit. Robert Luongo is still out. Curtis Sanford was pulled against the Red Wings, so it will be interesting to see if the Canucks go with former first-round pick Cory Schneider tonight.

Tonight’s game is on KSTC-TV and we’re happy to have the game in high definition as well. The game will air in high definition on Comcast Ch. 402 in Minneapolis and the southwest suburbs and Ch. 201 in St. Paul and all other areas, plus over-the-air on 45.1 and 45.2.

Aaron and I are hard at work making copies, since Robert isn’t here today. We make 70 copies each of notes, stats and clips. Fortunately, around lunchtime and employee hockey time, there aren’t a lot of people using the copier.

"Twin Cities Live" went over to Wild Bingo with Wild wives at Children’s Hospital today. That will air next Wednesday.

I have made arrangements to park in the loading dock for tonight’s game, so I can hopefully get out of here more easily since we go straight to the airport to leave for Nashville.

Usually, the guys get pizza at the rink, and then food on the plane, but we’re changing it up a bit tonight and ordering chicken and pasta for the guys at the rink -- we won’t have food out on the flight until after we take off. They’re expecting some snow tonight here, so we’d like to try to get in the air as soon as possible. They will no doubt have to de-ice. Best case scenario, we get to Nashville tonight around 12:30 a.m.

I’ll call both the hotel and the bus company this afternoon, making sure we’re all set for tomorrow. Neither regular beat writer is going to Nashville, so I’ll touch base with both the reporters who will cover tomorrow’s game. There likely won’t be much of a morning skate, save for guys who don’t play, or don’t play much tonight. Nashville is nice because the hotel is across the street from the rink.

We also have a revised press meal tonight. Must be a shortage on potato skins:

Beef Barley Soup
Salad Bar
Baked Ranch Chicken Breast
Maple Pecan Glazed Pork Loin
Potato Gratin
Vegetable Medley
Assorted Desserts
Cookie Pudding

Mailbag time. You can get in on the action at I’ll talk to everyone before the game tonight.

Q: Hey, Ryan. I was wondering why some of the players cut the inside of the leg on their breezers. And I was wondering if players have to be back at the rink the morning after a night game for practices.

A: Some great behind-the-scenes questions, Joe, and thanks for the e-mail. I went to a real authority on your first question, former Wild player Brad Bombardir. Bomber says: “A lot of players like to cut the inside seem of their breezers to allow for more freedom of movement for their legs. The player feels that if he cuts the inside seam of the breezer, it will improve his leg movement on the ice.

As for your second question, generally the Wild skates at noon on the day following a game. Occasionally, after a road game when we get home late, the Wild will skate at 1 p.m., but usually at noon.
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