Feb. 4, 2009
|Ducks at Wild: Game Preview
MAILBAG TIME ...e-mail the RSS Feed at firstname.lastname@example.org Q: Ryan, This question comes from my wife Carla: Why do the Wild players put their all their hockey gloves into a large box as they come off the ice in between periods versus just keeping them with them to their lockers in the locker room? Hope you can explain this question as I have never noticed it before. -- Murray
A: A fine question, Carla. The contraption you see is a glove dryer – take a look at this picture of one
. As you can imagine, players’ gloves get extremely wet (i.e. sweaty) during every period. Some guys like them dried off, some don’t.
For more on this subject, I went to an expert. But Wild equipment manager Tony DaCosta was too busy preparing for the Wild Fantasy Football Draft in August, so we instead went to assistant equipment manager Matt Benz:
“Some guys (not naming names) will have two pair and rotate each period (drying the ones they aren't wearing). About two or three of them use the glove dryers. Some guys want them bone dry, others just a little bit. Some guys don't want them dry at all because the leather gets a little crisp if they are over dried. These guys will often put their gloves in the steam room before a game. All different strokes for different folks.” Q: Hi Ryan. Why was the Wild wearing their away jerseys on the Jan. 20th home game against the Kings? Was there a luggage snaffu on the Kings' part? -- Mary from Centerville, Minn.
A: Another good question, Mary. Thanks for reading! The Wild usually wears the “road whites” once a season. This season it happened to coincide with a road trip where the Kings started out at Dallas. The Stars wore a third jersey which was light colored, so the Kings wore dark there, and then the rest of their road trip. Q: If I remember correctly, the Wild and that Vancouver team have the same music play when a goal is scored…what gives?
Craig from Blaine
A: Thanks for the e-mail Craig. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…I believe the Wild first had that song (according to DJ Steve: “Crowd Chant” by Joe Saitriani)! You hear many arenas with the same goal song. For a long time it was “Rock and Roll Part 2” by Gary Glitter.
According to DJ Steve, the Wild was the first team to use the song as its goal song.
The Wild with a big 3-0 home win tonight over Anaheim. Suddenly just two points behind the fifth-place Ducks, with four games in hand, Minnesota gets off to a nice start on this four-game homestand. Nashville is up next on Friday.
Jacques Lemaire was happy with his team's overall game, save for a seven-minute stretch in the third period when the Wild was often pinned deep in its own zone. He lauded the efforts of Kim Johnsson and Nick Schultz, who "compliment" each other well and tonight held the Ducks line to few chances. Lemaire also liked Pierre-Marc Bouchard
's game, going out of his way to talk up Bouchard after the game, without being asked.
And what can you say about Cal Clutterbuck
. Nine hits, career-high 19:30. Plus-one (he's even or plus-one in each ofh is last 17 games).Niklas Backstrom
is up to six shutouts this season, a new personal best and team record. And his 11 shutouts at Xcel Energy Center are tied for most all time (Dwayne Roloson).
Post-game notes are below. The Wild will practice Thursday in preparations for the Predators.
G Niklas Backstrom
made 34 saves for a new team record sixth shutout, C Mikko Koivu
and RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard
and LW Andrew Brunette each tallied a goal and an assist, as the Minnesota Wild blanked the Anaheim Ducks 3-0 in front of 18,568 at Xcel Energy Center. Rookie RW Cal Clutterbuck
matched his own team record with nine hits for the Wild, which improved to 9-5-1 in its last 15 games overall and plays game two of a four-game homestand Friday against Nashville at 7 p.m. The Wild moved to 55 points – tied for sixth with Dallas in the Western Conference, and just two points behind fifth-place Anaheim. Minnesota has four games in hand on the Ducks.
G Niklas Backstrom
made 34 saves for his new career-high sixth shutout this season and 15th of his career. Backstrom now has 11 shutouts in 75 career starts at Xcel Energy Center, tying a franchise record set by Dwayne Roloson, who needed 15 more games to reach that mark than Backstrom did. Backstrom, who started his ninth straight game, moved into sole possession of second place in the NHL with six shutouts this season, trailing only Columbus’ Steve Mason by one.
C Mikko Koivu
recorded a goal and an assist, giving him a new career-high 35 helpers this season. Koivu leads the Wild in goals (15), assists (35) and points (50). He is four points off his career-high (20-34=54), set in 2006-07. Koivu has nine points (3-6=9) in the last six games, and 13 points (4-9=13) in the last 10 games. The Wild is 10-3-0 this season when Koivu has a goal, and 10-3-0 when he has two or more points.
RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard
extended his point streak to four games (3-6=9) with an empty net goal and an assist. He is a plus-6 in that stretch.
LW Andrew Brunette scored his 13th goal of the season and 67th with the Wild, tying him with Pascal Dupuis for fifth-most all-time. Brunette was named February captain earlier this week. He added an assist as the Wild improved to 8-0-1 when Brunette has two or more points.
RW Cal Clutterbuck
played a career-high 19:30, and recorded nine hits to tie his own team record, set Jan. 27 against Toronto. Clutterbuck leads the NHL with 189 hits. He is even or better in his last 17 games, including plus-1 tonight.
RW Antti Miettinen had an assist to move to 33 points (10-23=33), just one off his career-high of 34 (15-19=34), set last season in Dallas. Miettinen’s 23 assists are already a career-high.
Minnesota earned its first ever home shutout of Anaheim, in its 20th all-time game versus the Ducks, counting the regular season and playoffs. The Wild has been blanked in five home meetings with the Ducks, two coming in the playoffs.
The Wild had lost each of the first two meetings of the season with the Ducks, and had lost three of the last four meetings.
Tonight marked the Wild’s 30th home shutout since entering the league in 2000-01, which ranks tied for sixth in the NHL.
RW Owen Nolan missed the game with upper body muscle spasms. Nolan was to have played his 1,100th NHL game.
Wild fans often boo the weatherman when he gives his forecast at the second intermission on the scoreboard. But tonight some loud cheers, as he talked about our high of 35 degrees tomorrow. Can't wait.
We're underway in the third.
The Ducks with a ton of pressure, keeping the Wild pinned deep for more than two minutes. Martin Skoula never was able to get off the ice. Backstrom made a pair of nice kick saves before covering up to get the fresh line out there.
The Wild hasn't yet recorded a shot this period. Anaheim with five, as we hit the first TV timeout.
The pressure continues, but Backstrom stops Ryan Getzlaf from the right circle.
Clutterbuck, with eight hits through two periods, draws yet another penalty with his tenacios forecheck. Chris Kunitz goes for hooking. The Wild, without a shot halfway through the third, gets a chance to put this one away perhaps, on the power play.
As a goalie I can't think of many things more terrifying than Marek Zidlicky booming his one-timer from about 20 feet away. Jonas Hiller did an admirable job turning aside that rocket, up into the protective netting.
That save ought to put a cap on Niklas Backstrom
's No. 1 star of the night honors, staying with Chris Kunitz and robbing his backhander on a shorthanded breakaway.
is used to hitting things, not getting hit like this. A slapshot from the point ricochets off his helmet and into the stands. He's ok. And with nine hits, he's tied his own franchise record.
End of game
Bouchard with the empty-net goal, and it's 3-0. Be back in a bit.
, who had seven hits in the first period, was the guest on Wild TV (KSTC-TV) at the intermission.
Kim Johnsson ought to wear a sign that says "no toedrag zone." A nice move - potentially - by Corey Perry in the right circle, but Johnsson sniffed it out and came away with the puck.
It's 2-0 Wild behind Mikko Koivu's 15th goal of the season. What a no look pass by Antti Miettinen in the far left circle. Miettinen slid a pass for a cutting Koivu - the only guy in the building who knew the puck was coming - and Koivu beat Hiller before the young netminder could respond. Brent Burns with the second assist.
Backstrom makes a handful of saves in front of the net, but Marc-Andre Bergeron goes for holding, and the Ducks will go on their second power play.
The Wild with a good kill, and on the other end, Antti Miettinen just fires wide of the net on a one-timer.
The Wild gets called for too many men on the ice, after a frantic line change in front of the Wild bench. They tried to get the puck in deep, but couldn't, and a sixth man was clearly on.
Another 2-on-1 shorthanded chance for the Wild, but James Sheppard fires wide on a great pass from Dan Fritsche. Fritsche and fellow newcomer Peter Olvecky have both shown good energy tonight.
Another PK for the Wild, this one important in the waning minutes of the second period. Antti Miettinen got the stick up high on Andrew Ebbett.
End 2nd period
Some anxious moments as the Ducks held the puck deep in the Wild zone for a long time, but a big clear by Martin Skoula with the seconds winding down, and a nice save by Backstrom on Ebbett as time expired.
Clutterbuck/Sheppard/Veilleux up front, Schultz and Johnsson on D, across from Getzlaf, Perry and Moen. Clutterbuck is up for the "Chairmen of the Board" title on the NHL.com poll. Pretty sure he is ok with "Buttercup".
A good transition chance early for Pierre-Marc Bouchard
, who has seven points in his last three games. Hiller stopped Bouchard from the right circle, then kicked out Eric Belanger's rebound attempt.
Clutterbuck draws a penalty on Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer, who hooks him as Clutterbuck goes in on the forecheck. The Wild gets the game's first power play.
And the new captain, Andrew Brunette, makes it 1-0 Wild with his 13th of the season. Mikko Koivu feeds Brunette in the corner. Brunette walks on net and Hiller stops his stuff attempt, but Brunette keeps whacking at the puck as he's pushed to the ice, and the puck ends up in the back of the net. Pierre-Marc Bouchard with the secondary assist, pushing his point streak to four games (2-6=8). They don't give third assists, but if they did, you could give it to Clutterbuck for drawing the penalty.
A few good shots low for the Ducks by Chris Kunitz, but he couldn't jar the puck from under Niklas Backstrom
's pad. The whistle seemed a bit late. Shots 7-3 Wild early on.
An interference minor to Marek Zidlicky, setting up a Duck power play.
A good 2-on-1 shorthanded chance for the Wild after Ryan Getzlaf fans on the puck at the point. Eric Belanger fed Stephane Veilleux
with a right-to-left pass, but Veilleux couldn't handle the pass.
St. Paul native Bred Hedican fires from the left point through a screen, but Backstrom makes the save.
Clutterbuck sets up another Wild power play. He gets sandwiched 2-on-1 in his own zone, then levels Travis Moen with a clean check. Moen wraps Clutterbuck around the neck on his way to the Ducks bench, and the Wild goes back on the man advantage.
That didn't last long. Mikko Koivu
goes for high sticking while in a puck battle with Todd Marchant.
We'll have 4-on-4 for the next 80 seconds.
End 1st period
Things evened up considerably after the quick start for the Wild, which leads 1-0. Shots 11-9 in favor of Minnesota.
Coming to you from seat 51 in the Al Shaver Press Box, as the Wild and Ducks go through warm-ups. A surprise in warm-ups, as Owen Nolan is not on the ice for the Wild. Nolan will miss what would have been his 1,100th NHL game with an upper body injury. In his stead, Nick Schultz will wear the other "A" along with Mikko Koivu
. Andrew Brunette wears the "C" tonight for the Wild for the first time in more than four seasons.
Craig Weller is still out with a head injury. It's Niklas Backstrom
in net for the Wild, opposite Jonas Hiller for the Ducks, who will scratch Brendan Morrison and Brendan Mikkelson. Sheldon Brookbank, acquired yesterday from the Devils, will suit up. Mike Brown, acquired earlier today from Vancouver, will not.
Tonight's Let's Play Hockey intro is from KFAN's Chris Hawkey, Mike Morris and Cory Cove.
And in case you wondering, the beef barley soup was top notch.
Wednesday, 11:45 a.m. CST
As hard as it is to believe, the Wild has played just one home game in the last two weeks, that being a 6-1 win over Toronto on Jan. 27. But now there is a four-game homestand, followed by an overnight trip to Detroit, and, after that, three more home games.
The Ducks are playing well, but hurting. Samuel Pahlsson, checker extraordinaire, is out for two weeks with a viral infection. NHL Rookie of the Month Bobby Ryan is playing with a swollen knee. The Ducks did get Todd Marchant back this week, however, after missing him for two weeks with a broken hand.
Anaheim traded for New Jersey defenseman Sheldon Brookbank yesterday. Brookbank is a former Eddie Shore Award winner as AHL Defenseman of the Year, but I remember him more for the following fight with Derek Boogaard in the 2003-04 AHL season: (http://youtube.com/watch?v=NOvGkumpt3U
). Fast forward to around the 45-second mark (or watch up to that point). The way Boogaard stripped Brookbank of his helmet midway through the fight and spun it on the ice is still legendary in Houston. Brookbank is expected to meet the team in St. Paul today, but there is no word as to whether he will play.
The Wild held an optional skate this morning. Eric Belanger and Kim Johnsson took the morning off. Craig Weller skated before the rest of the Wild. Marian Gaborik is back in town after his hip surgery and was in the locker room this morning. Niklas Backstrom
is in net for the Wild, opposite Jonas Hiller. Peter Olvecky and Colton Gillies are the last two skaters on the ice -- one of them will be scratched.
The Wild locker room is debuting the new Gatorade logo (unveiled during Super Bowl) on its towels and water bottles.
That's about it from St. Paul.
Talk to everyone tonight, post beef barley soup.
Tonight’s press meal is:
Beef and barley soup
Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
Oven Roasted Potatoes