Friday, 3:45 p.m. CST
Wild President/General Manager Doug Risebrough just wrapped up a brief conference call with local media, informing them that Wild RW Marian Gaborik is scheduled to have surgery on his left hip on Monday, Jan. 5. The surgery will address a deficiency in his hip that has caused chronic left groin pain. The surgeon has apprised the team that a return to play from this surgery is as soon as ten weeks, with the player able to begin skating after six weeks.
Risebrough mentioned he doesn’t anticipate any roster moves -- call-ups or trades -- and will go forward with the roster he has currently. Also from Risebrough: “I'm disappointed he won't be here with us for this point of the season, but this is the choice that Marian has made.”
A lot happens behind the scenes on an occasion like this. Aaron Sickman and I found out at 1:50 about the surgery. Aaron quickly put together a media advisory for the conference call, while I proofread it over his shoulder.
The advisory went out at 2:02 p.m., and I called Kevin Falness of Wild Radio so he could turn the call into a PONDCast, as well as both local beat writers. Ryan Kibbe from KSTP Channel 5 had called Aaron to see if he could come get some comments from Risebrough at 3 p.m., which he did.
Aaron and our VP Bill Robertson led the conference call in the hockey ops war room. Aaron had an anxious moment when he logged into the call -- there were too many people on the call. I had hung up right about then to answer another line, so he was able to hop on there. The call took about 10 minutes.
I've resubmitted the rooming list to Mary Kenna, "Travel Vixen," but that is subject to change.1:30 p.m. CST
Greetings from downtown St. Paul today, home to not only Wild and Red Wings practices, but also the Land O’Lakes Kennel Club Dog Show. I went to take my normal shortcut to the rink through RiverCentre and found that surprise.
The Wild skated for around 45 minutes today. Marian Gaborik (lower body) did not skate, and neither did Marek Zidlicky (illness).
Jacques Lemaire talked a lot about the Detroit Red Wings and how good they are, obviously. How about a 33.3 percent power play rate on the road? How about the fact they’ve been outshot three times all year? They also pretty much manhandled the Chicago Blackhawks in their last two games.
Lemaire also named Mikko Koivu
his January captain, mentioning how Koivu kept his intensity up throughout every game, even as the Wild struggled in December. Koivu is just the third player ever to wear the “C” three times in a season (with two more months to go). Brad Bombardir wore it four times in 2002-03, and Brian Rolston three in 2006-07. No word yet on who will wear the other “A” along with Andrew Brunette. Kim Johnsson wore it most of the time while Koivu was captain for October and November.
Lemaire was also funny in talking about Owen Nolan, who basically begged Lemaire to let him play Wednesday against the Sharks (his old team) and responded with a power play goal as the Wild scored first for the first time in 12 games. Asked if he could have possibly said, “No” when Nolan asked him to play, Lemaire said (paraphrasing here, I think): “I was afraid he’d have beaten me up.” Lemaire clearly said that with a big laugh.
Game notes are done for tomorrow. Aaron Sickman will handle the morning skate activities along with Robert the intern, as I make some last-minute packing preparations for seven nights on the road. It’s an interesting trip because we go to two places we barely ever go -– Boston and Philadelphia. I used to live in Philadelphia, but I was only ever in Wachovia Center for a concert in the winter of 2000-01.
Different buildings always make for a bit of a challenge early on. Also, traffic from the hotels in both Boston and Philadelphia will be heavier, so we’ll have 4:30 buses for the 7 p.m. game. I’ll have to remind the players of that. Tuesday’s game is also my first VERSUS game flying solo on the road.
A lot of stay-at-home defensemen don’t get much pub (unless they do something wrong), so let me tell you a funny story about Martin Skoula, who yesterday made fun of some old beat-up tennis shoes I had on because there was a bit of snow on the ground in the morning. Today, I had new tennis shoes on (looking outside and seeing the sun in January is beautiful), and Skoula says to me: “Ryan, did you go out and buy new shoes because of what I said yesterday?” with a big smile on his face? I assured him no, and that I had the shoes for a while.
Oh, and huge Dallas Cowboys fan Josh Harding
was proudly showing off his favorite Christmas present: an authentic Tony Romo jersey.
Finally, tomorrow night’s press meal:
chicken noodle soup
loaded mashed potatoes
And I’m off to e-mail Tom Reid in hopes he can bring me to the airport postgame tomorrow. My car battery died after one night at the airport last month. I’m not risking seven!