Thursday, 2:30 p.m.CST
Greetings from a “springlike” day in St. Paul, where the temps today are above freezing. The Wild held a 45-minute skate this morning, without Craig Weller (skated before the team, still out with head injury) and also without Owen Nolan (upper body muscle spasms). According to asst GM Tom Lynn, Nolan will miss tomorrow’s game against Nashville, and is possible for Sunday against Edmonton.
The Wild worked on several things today – like clearing the puck. Jacques Lemaire must not have liked all the time his team spent in its end during the third period last night, especially early on. He kept telling the guys “rim it out, rim it out” along the boards, and at one point Brent Burns cleared the puck out of the zone and Lemaire jokingly said, “Yes, we did it.”
Speaking of one shift early in the third particularly, I just checked the time-on-ice report from last night. Martin Skoula was on the ice for 2:04 at once – more than twice as long as you’d like a defenseman’s shift to be. Eric Belanger? 2:17. Dan Fritsche? 2:14. Forward shifts are usually between 35-40 seconds. It’s unreal the Wild didn’t give up a goal at that point.
Lemaire talked after practice more about the newcomers – Fritsche and Peter Olvecky. He likes the fact he doesn’t have to “change their oil every day” he said.
“They’re low-maintenance,” Jacques explained. “Not racecars.”
Translation? They do the things he wants them to, and remember what they’re told. Jacques said he’d like to eventually see some production, and he thinks that both guys are getting their chances and will eventually put the puck in the net. When they do? “It’s one more,” he said, meaning one more goal on a team that sometimes struggles to score.
Lemaire went on NHL Live on XM 204 this morning, with former Wild player Jimmy Dowd (take a listen if you like to the whole appearance: click here
). “I’m only doing this because you played for me, Jimmy,” is how Lemaire started the interview. Jacques is great with media, but he generally keeps himself to local media, which understands his desire to talk about the present, not the past. It will be replayed on the NHL Network today at 4 p.m., and Jacques’ interview was right at the beginning, so tune in if you can.
That’s about it. Nashville hosts Anaheim tonight and will fly in late tonight. The Predators have their fathers on this trip.
I just wrapped up a quick tour with Josh and Joy Lister from Houston. Josh is a very big Houston Aeros fan who is also a very big Josh Harding
and Cal Clutterbuck
fan. They got to meet with Harding and Cal – in fact, Josh even bought a Clutterbuck jersey T-shirt in the Hockey Lodge before watching practice. It was nice to catch up with Josh and his mom.
Talk to everyone tomorrow. Big weekend in St. Paul. Wild Friday and Sunday, and the Swarm game Saturday.