Jan. 13, 2009Post-game wrap-up
|Mailbag time. Some great questions this week, and I’m looking for more. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org ...
Q: Hi, Ryan.
I stumbled upon your blog while browsing the Wild site one day. I like it and wish it was something every team did.
I have an experience with the Wild that I would like to share. December 14, 2007, the Wild were in town to play the Ducks (I live in Orange County, California) and I went to the game with my best friend, wearing my game-worn 2004 World Cup Czech Republic jersey of Martin Skoula, my favorite player since he broke into the league. We were among the very first to arrive at the arena and made a beeline for the Wild tunnel. A random guy affiliated with the Wild was staring at me, trying to see my jersey. I know now, or at least I'm 95% sure, it was the head equipment manager, Tony DaCosta. He asks me as I'm sitting down if it's a Skoula sweater, to which I reply, "Yes." He then asks if I'd like it signed, then disappears into the tunnel only to return with Martin and a Sharpie. I was pretty much speechless the entire time Martin was signing my jersey, as I've liked him as a player for so long.
That just made my entire year. I'd torn my ACL earlier that year and 2007 was shaping up to be pretty bad, but getting Skoula's autograph made 2007 one of the best years of my life. I doubt Tony or Martin even remember that night, but, for me, it will live on in clarity in my memory forever.
Anyway, just wanted to share. I enjoy the blogs.
Erica in California
A: Erica, that may get my vote as e-mail of the year. First off, thanks for reading. Tony hassles me enough on the road that it’s nice to hear he’s out there doing nice things for people, too. We all can’t wait to get back to SoCal in early March.
Being from South St. Paul and now in Grand Rapids, Mich., I just want to tell you what a great job you do with the R.S.S. Feeds. It’s great to hear all the inside info of a road trip like this. Once again, thanks and keep up the great work.
David “Whitey” Willer.
A: Thanks for the e-mail Whitey. Readers: Whitey is a chef, which is good enough reason for me to go to Grand Rapids. Thanks for reading!
Thanks as always for the blog. It really is fun to read. Actually, along with the pregame interviews and chats with Jacques, it has become a bit of an addiction. Please keep feeding my addiction.
Here is a question for you:
On Saturday, Jan. 10, you mentioned that everyone skated except Nolan, Koivu and Boogaard. For the guys like Nolan and Koivu, who aren’t hurt, what do they do in these instances, especially on the road? Hang at the hotel and relax? Watch film? Go to a movie?
Thanks, Ryan (and Aaron).
A: Great question, Jerry, and thanks as always for reading. Typically, everyone goes to the rink for a gameday, and then the coaches might write “OPT” on the board for optional. Most times, the guys who don’t skate play a little soccer in the hallway, ride the bike or do something to get the blood flowing. And, yes, watch video. Unlike some coaches, Jacques likes having everyone at the rink in the morning on most gamedays, with the rare occasion where we arrived late the night before. This keeps guys from just staying in bed too long.
Sometimes, for a practice on a non-gameday, they’ll let the guys know in advance it’s an optional, and they will be excused from coming to the rink. This also happens on gamedays with early start times, such as earlier this month in Colorado. We arrived at the hotel in Denver after midnight, and the game was a 6 p.m. local time start. Just a few guys plus goalies went on the ice that morning, and the rest stayed at the hotel but with strict instructions to be out of bed by 10:30.
Q: Thanks for the Wild Mobile page (www.wild.com/mobile). I was at the game on Saturday trying to read the R.S.S. Feed on my iPhone and the site kept crashing my phone. It took so long to load. So thank you!
Kyle, a member of the local media
A: Thanks for the note, Kyle. The Wild Mobile site will be great for everyone, including me on the road.
That was fun, fans. Fun of course because it was a big win, six goals, but also the notes that came out of that game were great too. I even thought of a couple things in the locker room that I wanted to look up (when was the last time the Wild scored six even strength goals in a game). So I sent that out to the writers when I got back upstairs.
The Wild will skate tomorrow at Xcel Energy Center, as will the Phoenix Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers.
C Mikko Koivu
, RW Owen Nolan, LW Andrew Brunette and RW Cal Clutterbuck
each tallied a goal and an assist and D Marc-Andre Bergeron returned from a 10-game injury absence to score 46 seconds into the game, as the Minnesota Wild topped Phoenix 6-3 in front of 18,568 fans for its seventh straight win over the Coyotes at Xcel Energy Center. G Niklas Backstrom
made 21 saves, C James Sheppard also scored a goal and RW Antti Miettinen and D Marek Zidlicky added two assists apiece for Minnesota, which hosts Edmonton on Thursday at 7 p.m., the first of six meetings this season with the Oilers.
RW Owen Nolan scored his 10th goal of the season. The Wild improved to 6-2-1 when he scores a goal. Nolan has at least 10 goals in each of the last 13 seasons he has played. Nolan added an assist and has six points (5-1=6) in his last seven games.
LW Andrew Brunette scored his 11th goal this season, but first in 12 games since Dec. 19. The 11-game run without a goal was his longest since a 15-game drought Nov. 7-Dec. 9, 2006. The Wild improved to 8-2-1 this season when Brunette scores a goal. Brunette added an assist for his first two-point game since Dec. 17.
C Mikko Koivu
snapped a 10-game streak without his goal, scoring for the first time since Dec. 19. Koivu, who added an assist, leads the Wild in goals (12), assists (28) and points (40).
RW Antti Miettinen recorded two assists and has four points (1-3=4) in the last two games. Miettinen is the Wild’s second leading scorer with 29 points (10-19=29). His 19 assists are one off his career-high, set in 2005-06. His career-high in points is 34 (15-19=34), set last year.
RW Cal Clutterbuck
had a goal and an assist, tying his single-game career high with two points, set Nov. 24 vs. Washington.
D Marc-Andre Bergeron returned from a 10-game injury absence to score his fourth goal of the season. He scored 46 seconds into the game, the quickest goal to begin a game this season.
C James Sheppard scored his third goal of the season, and first in 21 games since Nov. 28 vs. Tampa Bay.
G Niklas Backstrom
made 21 saves to improve to 9-1-0 in his career against Phoenix. In his career, he has a 1.50 GAA and a .949 save pct. vs. the Coyotes.
The Wild has won seven straight home games against the Coyotes by a combined 27-9 score. It hasn’t trailed in any of the seven games. The Wild’s team record for a home winning streak against one opponent is nine, vs. Chicago. Minnesota is 12-2-0 in the last 14 overall meetings.
Minnesota scored six goals at home for the first time since Jan. 3, 2008, against Dallas.
The Wild had its first two-goal first period since Dec. 1 vs. Colorado. Minnesota entered the game 29th in the NHL with 27 first-period goals.
Minnesota won for just the third time this season (3-12-2) when allowing three or more goals. It marked the Wild’s first win in that scenario since Nov. 24, a 4-3 win over Washington.
Coyotes G Ilya Bryzgalov fell to 1-7-0 all-time in the regular season against the Wild, with a 4.30 GAA and a .891 save pct. In five regular season appearances at Xcel Energy Center, Bryzgalov is 0-5-0 with a 4.01 GAA and a .874 save pct.
And the "post", post-game notes:
Tonight marked the first time the Wild scored six even strength goals in a game since 1/7/04 (Wiemer, E Chouinard, Schultz, Park, E Chouinard and Laaksonen - empty netter)
The Wild has scored six goals or more 24 times in franchise history. Tonight was just the third time they accomplished the feat without benefit of a power play goal or shorthanded marker.
Tonight marked the first time since 11/16/06 that the Wild had six different goal scorers in a game. Minnesota defeated the Nashville Predators 7-6 in a shootout that night.
Twenty more minutes here for the Wild, which could jump into a tie for ninth in the conference with Colorado, which lost to Columbus (now eighth) tonight. This just in from Aaron Sickman: The Coyotes are scheduled to travel to Vancouver tonight, but there is major fog in Vancouver. There's a chance the Coyotes could stay over, and maybe three teams could skate here tomorrow. The Wild practices tomorrow, followed by the Oilers, who are in Washington tonight. Nothing like Edmonton going East for one game, then headed back west.
Mikko Koivu scores a 4-on-2 goal, his team-leading 12th of the season, and it's 4-1 Wild. Koivu manhandles the defense, walks in from the right circle and beats Bryzgalov.
That didn't take long, and the lead is cut to 4-2. Olli Jokinen camps out in the slot and pokes a rebound by Backstrom for his 15th goal of the season, after Martin Skoula's clearing attempt didn't get out of the zone.
And we've officially got a game, as the Coyotes cut the lead to 4-3. Steven Reinprecht shoots from the left circle, and the puck eludes Backstrom's glove for his ninth goal of the season.
The Wild didn't score on a recent power play, and actually gave up a shorthanded breakaway.
Cal Clutterbuck hasn't participated in a shootout this season, but Jacques Lemaire may have to use him. Clutterbuck takes a breakaway pass from Kim Johnsson and wrists a shot high glove side for his fifth goal of the season. Marek Zidlicky also with an assist, his second of the game, and it's 5-3 Wild.
And it's 6-3, as James Sheppard scores for the first time in 21 games, on assists from Stephane Veilleux and Cal Clutterbuck.
Eric Belanger almost made it 7-3, but Bryzgalov stoned him on a breakaway.
Veilleux/Sheppard/Clutterbuck up front for the Wild to begin the second. By the way, 10 different players on the ice for those two first-period goals by the Wild.
Continued good pressure by the Wild. Colton Gillies breaks in on a 2-on-1 with Krys Kolanos, keeps the puck, tries to go short side but Bryzgalov made the save.
What hands by Andrew Brunette! A rebound lay on the ice in traffic low in the right circle. Brunette sees it and lifts a backhand perfectly into the top corner for his 11th goal of the season. Owen Nolan and Mikko Koivu with the assists. Nolan, who drove the net hard from the left side, has two points tonight. It's 3-0 Wild.
The Coyotes are right back in this, as Steven Reinprecht takes a drop pass from Shane Doan in the high slot and rifles a shot clean by Backstrom for his ninth goal of the season. The Wild was caught getting back late. It's 3-1. Ok so it wasn't clean. Joakim Lindstrom gets credit for the goal on a tip, his fifth goal of the season.
The Wild gets the game's first power play, as Derek Morris exits for holding.
The Wild gets whistled for too many men on the ice, and we'll have some 4-on-4 time.
A holding call to Phoenix' Joakim Lindstrom, negating the Coyotes power play, and we're playing 4-on-4, again. This comes just a bit after Mike Russo from the Star Tribune wondered aloud when the last penalty free NHL game was.
Minnesota with its best chance since its goal, an absolute rocket from Marc-Andre Bergeron that went just wide.
nearly restores the lead to three goals, but a great save by Ilya Bryzgalov down low.
We'll be back at 4-on-4, as Eric Belanger and Ed Jovanovski take penalties in front of the Coyotes net. Belanger got punched in the face, and apparently that was enough to draw a penalty.
End 2nd period
And we're through 40 minutes, with the Wild up 3-1. Shots are 24-19 Minnesota.
Minnesota Swarm players Colin Achenbach Sean Pollock lead us in "Let's Play Hockey." The Wild starts the "letter line" of captain Mikko Koivu
and alternates Owen Nolan and Andrew Brunette. They will oppose Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who starts out with former Wild winter Todd Fedoruk, and agitator Daniel Carcillo.
19:14First shift, and a goal already for Marc-Andre Bergeron. Ten games missed with a lower body injury, and he fires through a screen and into the net for his fourth goal of the season. Antti Miettinen and Marek Zidlicky with the assists.16:07
You don't often see Cal Clutterbuck
on the ground, but he was twice on that shift. First he was nailed by Derek Morris, and then Todd Fedoruk hit him as well.
A tip by Enver Lisin goes just over the net.
And it's 2-0 as Owen Nolan walks in on the right side after a feed from Andrew Brunette, slides between defenders and beats Bryzgalov for his 10th goal of the season. Brent Burns with the second assist.
Tonight is the Wild's first two-goal first period at home since Dec. 1 against Colorado. Minnesota entered the game 29th out of 30 NHL teams with 27 first-period goals.
A couple great chances by Krys Kolanos, a former first-round pick by the Coyotes. Terrific work by Stephane Veilleux
setting Kolanos up for the first chance.
The Wild has been awesome offensively, but defensively as well, allowing the Coyotes just three shots.
End 1st period
A solid first period by the Wild, which is up 2-0. It will be important to start out the second as well as it finished the first. Shots 8-5 in favor of Minnesota.
Derek Boogaard returns after a five-game upper body injury absence tonight. Marc-Andre Bergeron is also in for the first time since Dec. 19. The Wild scratches are Benoit Pouliot, Craig Weller and Erik Reitz. In net, it's Niklas Backstrom
for the Wild against Ilya Bryzgalov.
5 p.m. CST
It's official, Marc-Andre Bergeron has been acitvated and will play tonight. John Scott was sent down to AHL Houston to make room for Bergeron, who hasn't played since Dec. 19 due to a lower body injury.
Time to head downstairs for some grub. Will be back with official scratches during warm-ups.
11:45 a.m. CST
Good morning from St. Paul, where wind chills hovered around 35-below this morning.
There’s not a lot of definitive news from the Wild locker room this morning. Marc-Andre Bergeron may play; coach Jacques Lemaire said he and the coaching staff had some decisions to make before the game. If Bergeron is activated, the Wild must make a roster move.
Two guys definitely out are Erik Reitz and Colton Gillies, who were out late with Josh Harding
, Mike Ramsey and Bob Mason. Niklas Backstrom
is back to 100 percent and will look to avenge his only career loss against the Coyotes. Derek Boogaard skated and appears ready to return to the lineup. As I said, not a lot of definitive news.
Someone shattered the glass behind the net this morning early in the Wild skate. So the Coyotes were pushed back a couple of minutes while that was being replaced.
I just read that Bruins forward Phil Kessel, a former Gopher, has mono. That’s scary with how germs can spread in a locker room.
In other "news," here is a roundup of some news and content that might interest fans (including an update on Bergeron) ...
-- NEWS (Jan. 12-13, 2009) --
-- WILD TV (Jan. 13, 2009) --
Jacques talks about how important it is for the Wild to skate as a teamWild TV catches up with Craig, who starred in this thrilling fight in ColumbusOwen emphasized how important each point is, regardless of who the next opponent is
I now give you the press meals for all three games this week. Yum.
I’ll talk to you from the press box again tonight.
Chicken Wild Rice Soup
Potatoes Au Gratin
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Southwestern Chilian Sea Bass
Green Chili Cheddar Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Tomato Basil Soup
Loaded Mashed Potatoes