Quick note while we head to Calgary's airport to catch out flight to Edmonton
tonight. It's always interesting getting out of Canadian cities on time, since there's tons of media, and also many players have friends and family in attendance. Craig Weller alone had close to 50 guests tonight. Jacques Lemaire
told the media his team must regroup quickly, with a crucial game against the Oilers tomorrow night, part of Hockey Night in Canada
. Lemaire said his defensemen in particular must play better.
Goodnight, and talk to you from Rexall Place tomorrow
End 2nd period
Not a great second period for the Wild, which allowed two goals in the opening minute and eventually fell down 3-0. It will take the mother of all comebacks in order to win a fourth game in eight seasons at the Saddledome. Our plane has made up some ground in the air and is now expected in at 9:44 p.m. local time. All should still be good, it just adds one more layer of nervousness, particularly with us playing back-to-back. I'll be back with a brief wrap-up on the way to the airport tonight.
Clutterbuck/Sheppard/Fritsche for the Wild up front, and Johnsson and Schultz on the blueline. Calgary replies with its top line of Iginla/Conroy/Cammalleri.
The first sustained pressure by the Wild. Kiprusoff stopped Miettinen from the right circle. Andrew Brunette was still whacking away at a loose rebound when the whistle blew.
The Flames get the game's first power play as Marek Zidlicky goes for holding.
Mike Cammalleri got all alone in front - and I mean all alone - but Backstrom stopped him.
We're at the first timeout. Shots 3-3 apiece. And I'm only slightly stressed that the plane was 90 minutes late taking off for Calgary, from Phoenix. I guarantee you it wasn't weather related. It should be on the ground about 9:45, about 15 minutes before we'll take off for the airport. That should be enough time, although the crew has to go through customs.
End 1st period
A pretty tame first period, just 11 shots, but the Wild failed to score on a big 5-on-3 (more than 90 seconds). A big penalty kill late after Cal Clutterbuck
went for diving after getting leveled by Dion Phaneuf. I'm going to be visiting with the season ticketholders for period two. Be back in a bit.
Friday, 6:00 p.m. MST
Just a quick note before I head downstairs for a couple of bench interviews. FS North will interview Eric Belanger, and Rogers Sportsnet will talk to Cal Clutterbuck
during warm-ups. Clutterbuck left tickets for his dad, Tim, so FS North is armed with that information, so they can show him tonight.
The press meal here is pretty good, but one of the best dessert trays in all the land. The Saddledome is also probably my favorite NHL arena outside St. Paul. You've all head about the "Sea of Red," and it's incredible. I'm not big on heights, but you walk across a catwalk to get the press box. You can actually walk across the top of the ice between periods. I'm a bit too clumsy to do that, I think. Maybe I can get out there to get a couple pictures. It also takes several minutes to get up here from the locker room, which is across the ice. It's one tiny elevator that is shared amongst press, catering and fans. Then still a lengthy walk out to our booth.
The third level here goes incredibly high. There are probably 30 rows behind and above us. Those people can't even see the scoreboard, so there are big screen TV's attached to the back of the press box catwalk. Hopefully we won't have to hear the Saddledome's best feature tonight, the infamous flame that shoots out when the home team scores a goal.
I spent the afternoon getting organized for the next couple of days. We're all set for our arrival into Edmonton tonight. Our plane is due to take off right now from Phoenix. And I have a gym set up for the players to work out at 3 p.m. Sunday. No chances from the lineup this morning (see below). I'll be back in a bit. I plan on going down and seeing the Wild's group of 52 fans that are sitting in sections 209 and 210 tonight.
Friday, 12:30 p.m. MST
|Wild at Calgary: Game preview |
Q: Ryan, love your blog - I read it every day. My question is this: Can a coach get thrown out of the game for poor conduct? Case in point, last week, Joel Quenneville, coach of the Blackhawks, went on a rampage when Dan Fritsche scored the goal (possibly with a high stick) and the play was reviewed, and it was deemed a good goal. The camera was on him and he was swearing up a storm at the refs and everyone else. Not the best conduct for a coach to exhibit. Shouldn't he at least have gotten a bench minor?
Mary Jane in Woodbury
A: Excellent question Mary Jane. Thanks always for reading. Coaches are generally given a bit of leeway, especially on controversial calls, but I would have to think he was close to getting a bench minor. Generally bench minors are more given when stuff is said away from the referee, but they hear it. It takes an extreme circumstance (water bottle throwing, etc.) for a coach to get ejected.
Q: Ryan: As always, you do a great job with the blog. It is a must read for me each day. Since you are the media guy, any idea how it is determined which games get shown on FSN HD?
JR from Maplewood
A: Thanks for the question JR – a good one, at that. FS North picks HD Wild games under their own guidance. They will be adding more and more “live” HD sports programming in the future.
Q: Good luck on the road trip and who cooks those press meals???....I want a shot! Whitey from Grand Rapids, Mich.
A: Thanks for the note Whitey. Chef Patrick does a wonderful job for us at Xcel Energy Center. MSE has its own food service company, and it’s wonderful! If I’m ever in Grand Rapids, I’m looking you up.
The Wild locker room in Calgary is near both the housekeeping area, and the freezer, which is giving us a rather unique smell of Molson and bleach.
The Wild was on the ice for almost a half hour during the pre-game skate, a rather lengthy time. Jacques Lemaire blew the whistle and ordered everyone off the ice at the same time, except for Kurtis Foster
, who stayed out for some extra work with Josh Harding
. Lemaire told the media not to expect lineup changes tonight, which means Colton Gillies is also out. Owen Nolan is still back home with his broken toe. Niklas Backstrom
will go against Miikka Kiprusoff. Big news up here is that Jarome Iginla is closing in on both the 400-goal plateau, and becoming the Flames’ all-time leading scorer. Iginla is pointless against the Wild in three games this season -- the first time that’s ever happened.
I just sent our ticket list in. We get 50 tickets on the road, and are using about half of them this trip. Tickets are expensive all over Canada, especially Calgary, where the top seats for our players to buy are $187 Canadian. Speaking of, I need to trade in some cash at the hotel to tip Les, our awesome bus driver, and to buy pizzas post-game tonight.
We will be in a big hurry after the game tonight since we play tomorrow night in Edmonton. It’s an 8 p.m. local game, thanks to Hockey Night in Canada, so it gives us an extra hour to play with. It also makes for a long day. But then we have Sunday to rest in Vancouver. When flying from Canadian city to Canadian city, you don’t really “screen” so much as you essentially get on the plane and go. Tonight’s flight is only about 30 minutes, barely enough time to get something to eat.
The Kelowna Rockets are in town for a big WHL match-up against the Calgary Hitmen tomorrow night. They’re expecting 15,000 for the game. Carson McMillan
, the Wild’s seventh-round pick in 2007, was at the rink this morning and I believe he’ll be at the game tonight. McMillan plays for the Hitmen.
The team meal last night was excellent -- and, better yet, quick. It took just 90 minutes for all 30 of us to eat. Canadian beef is just awesome.
I meant to write this yesterday: As we were going through screening at MSP yesterday, one of the guy’s wands went off while screening Kurtis Foster
. Laughing, he said, “It’s my leg.” Foster says it’s not the steel rod that makes the metal detector go off, but the screws holding it in place.