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The R.S.S. Feed: Oct. 14, 2008

by Ryan Stanzel / Minnesota Wild
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Oct. 14, 2008

10:00 p.m.

We head to Hartsfield Airport 5 minutes early. That's always nice. We even had to rush asst GM Tom Lynn on the bus, he was visiting with family.

All in all a great night. Antti Miettinen was popular with the media of course, as well as Andrew Brunette. That line, along with Mikko Koivu, was dominant tonight. To win this game with, as Jacques Lemaire put it post-game, with "two lines" playing at the end was quite impressive.

We'll screen inside the building tonight and head our 90 minutes (according to flight attendant Cookie) to Fort Lauderdale, and we'll take a quick bus to our home for the next two days.

I've got some more behind the scenes things in store for tomorrow's blog. As always, my inbox at is always open.

Goodnight, State of Hockey. Oh and for those of you wonderirng, yes that was me you saw opening and closing the locker room door for the post-game interviews on Wild Live.

3rd period
Awaiting the start of the third period. The trip downstairs this intermission was for naught - but that's often the case. You have to be there just in case. So I'm back upstairs, just got off the phone with Cookie, our flight attendant, to confirm tonight's headcount aboard the plane. I also paid the locker room attendant for post-game pizza ($90 with tip). I'll blog as time allows in the third period. My primary focus is getting us out of here quickly and in the air ASAP after the game.

Interesting to note through two periods ... Because of the Wild's five power plays, Brent Burns has played a whopping 20:04. No other player has seen more action than Kim Johnsson's 15:24. The minutes are spread heavily among the top nine forwards, with Owen Nolan out, Craig Weller with seven shifts, Benoit Pouliot with 11 and Derek Boogaard with one. I'd expect Atlanta to try to run and gun a bit in the third and try to tire the Wild out.

It's an early power play for Atlanta, as Antti Miettinen goes off for hooking. Atlanta is 0-for-2 on the power play.

It's 2-1 Wild as Marian Gaborik nets his first goal of the season. After some great work by Mikko Koivu and Andrew Brunette behind the net, Atlanta's Mathieu Schneider tried to clear the puck into the corner but it went straight onto Gaborik's stick, who hit a nearly open net.

It's 3-1 Wild. I missed an Antti Miettinen beauty while on the phone with Cookie our flight attendant. But the replay made it look amazing. We're going to let's Jamie MacDonald take you home. I'll touch base on the way to the airport.

Thank you Ry ...

Even from the comfort of a Highland Park couch, it was nice to see Miettinen turn on the jets and throw one under the bar as he was running out of room.

Atlanta will make things interesting as FS North intermission guest Todd White assists on Bryan White's goal to close the gap to one goal at 3-2.

We're happy to report that, thanks to Miettinen's second goal of the period, Minnesota may not have to hold on through a white-knuckle close to the festivities in Atlanta.

Well, folks, it is officially a winning streak. Thanks to Ryan for manning the controls all this time and we'll catch up to you again from Florida. Safe travels!

11:30 - 2nd period
It's 1-1, thanks to goals by Andrew Brunette (on the power play) in the first period and Ilya Kovalchuk in the second. I'll type away with some updates, but I wanted to get that in there.

The Wild back on the power play, a man advantage unit that has looked good so far. Brunette's goal was the result of great tic-tac-toe passing by Antti Miettinen and Mikko Koivu, who fed Brunette through the goal mouth.

We have news from assistant GM Tom Lynn. Owen Nolan won't return with a lower leg injury. He'll be re-evaluated in Florida tomorrow. So we're without 2/3 of the Nolan/Belanger/Bouchard line right now.

Fox Sports North interviewed Brunette between periods, about his first goal with the Wild since March 19, 2004, against the New York Islanders. Thanks to Kevin Falness of Wild Radio for helping with that note.

And it's the Thrashers headed on the power play, as I head back downstairs with only one more media timeout after this one. I'll hustle back up after the interview. Oh and FYI - NASCAR star Matt Kenseth is attending tonight's game.

1st period
It's Niklas Backstrom vs. Kari Lehtonen as the goaltending matchup. Tomas Mojzis is a scratch for the second straight game for Minnesota. Marek Zidlicky (back home with a sore leg) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard (see below) are also scratched. Atlanta is without Zach Bogosian and Brett Stirling.

A back-checking Mikko Koivu breaks up a sure goal on a 3-on-1 after the defenseman went down to block the pass. We're still looking for our first whistle, I believe. I missed about a minute double checking our manifest for tonight. And there's the first whistle, more than five minutes in.

A quick note on Bouchard. That's just his fourth game missed since the beginning of the 2005-06 season. He had played 244 of the last 247 games since the 2005-06 campaign began.

Colby Armstrong rings a shot off the right post on a 3-on-1 as the Wild are caught again in an odd-man rush.

Just past the midway point of the first period, and I am headed downstairs just in case. I'll probably watch a bit of the second period from downstairs as well. I'll trust you to follow Fox Sports North and WCCO Radio in my absence! Be back soon.

6:45 p.m. Tuesday
We're high above (and we mean high) the ice surface here at Philips Arena. I don't think I realized how high up we were until I was standing on the ice prior to warm-ups with Fox Sports North's Kevin Gorg and looked up here. I am one full level above the TV and radio crews.

I mentioned earlier today about the elevators. Coming up here, I got on level 2 and stopped at levels 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and finally 9, the press box. They check tickets for fans going to the suite levels, so as I said, you just leave plenty of time. It was about nine minutes for me from the locker room to the press box.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard has flown back to Minnesota to rest his sore back - so he is the forward scratch tonight. Jacques Lemaire warmed up seven defensemen, so we aren't quite sure yet who the scratched blueliner is.

I'll get this up on the site and I'll be back with more shortly. Tonight's blog may be intermittent, only because of the time I have to allow to go downstairs between periods for intermission interviews.

2:30 p.m.

I’m back at the hotel after a nice lunch with my former college roommate inside the CNN Center. It’s gone from warm to hot in Atlanta - the walk back to our hotel in a suit was a warm one.

It’s tough to tell from the skate who will be tonight’s scratches. No forward was out late. Tomas Mojzis and Josh Harding were both on the ice after the forwards left the ice.

Philips Arena is one of the coldest buildings in Atlanta, with them having to keep it so cold to have the ice good in such a hot climate. It’s also one of the most unique buildings - the side away from the player benches, after the first level, is entirely made up of suites. Five levels of them. And then the press box on top of that. It’s also unique in that there is not an elevator designated just for media. So that’s six levels of possible stops to go downstairs for intermission. You just have to plan ahead and not wait until the last minute.

I just called the bus company for our landing tonight in Ft. Lauderdale to confirm our pick-up. It’s an estimated one-hour, 48-minute flight tonight which should have us landing somewhere around 12:15 a.m. local time. Wednesday, we will practice at BankAtlantic Center at 1 p.m.

It's time to kick back and relax for a bit before getting the tie on and heading downstairs about 4:15 for the 4:45 bus to Philips Arena.

11:00 a.m.

Greetings from Hotlanta, which compared to the rest of our trip, will be Warmlanta. Heat indices close to 100 in Tampa and Miami today.

I’m at the rink, many of the players just warmed up for the pre-game skate by kicking a soccer ball around in the event level of Philips Arena.

I walked around Atlanta – one of my favorite cities – for a couple hours last night. I walked over to CNN Center for one of my favorite “southern only” restaurants. I didn’t realize the NBA’s Hawks played a pre-season game last night. Walking in my suit, I got asked by at least a half dozen scalpers if I either needed tickets, or had any tickets to sell. I also got asked for directions several times.

I went back to the room to watch some football and baseball but was passed out long before the end of either game (thankfully).

I was downstairs this morning at about 9:45 and greeted Aric, our bus driver. Assistant GM Tom Lynn asked him yesterday if he’d like to come to Edmonton to drive us around there. Aric got us from the airport to our downtown hotel in record time yesterday, avoiding Atlanta’s usual traffic pitfalls. In Edmonton, it always takes forever to get downtown, but that’s because it’s a 40-minute drive in good weather.

I’ve confirmed with Marc-Andre Bergeron that he will go on the Fox Sports North pre-game show tonight, doing an interview from the bench during warm-ups. They’ll do an Atlanta player first. I typically like to be on the bench with Kevin Gorg for the interview, in case the player forgets, I’m a bit taller than Gorg to try to flag down the player.

Onto some mailbag questions:

Q: Ryan,

How do you manage to keep yourself sane with the road schedule you have? Has your mom read your blog yet? What's her excuse for not reading if she hasn't?

I'd love to have a job like yours, but I don't have a degree in journalism (like the current opening you guys have listed). I have a degree in English, I write hockey articles for a couple of websites, and I think I have all the other qualifications listed, except the
journalism degree. I even speak French and am learning Russian. Is there anything I can do to make up for not having a journalism degree?

You must be bored by all of the job questions from everybody by now, huh?

Keep up the great writing,
Jen in Grand Forks

P.S. If you get a chance, you can't miss Ybor City while in Tampa. Good food, good music and good cigars to be had by all.

A: Thanks for the note Jen. I enjoyed Grand Forks last month. Could you send some taco meat our way? Keeping myself sane…While on the road it’s tough – you just take it an hour at a time, and the next thing you know, you’re on a flight home. I’m fortunate in that with two of us doing what I do – Aaron Sickman and myself – we can not only switch on and off with road trips, but also with work while we’re home. This past Sunday, and next Sunday, for instance, Aaron covered practice knowing that I’d be on the road for six days.

My mom reads the blog – but probably not every day. I’m working on her.

There is nothing like on the job experience (even volunteering). Shhhhh don’t tell anyone, but I work in public relations, but never took a PR class in college (the college professors love it when I tell that story when speaking to classes). But I worked in sports information in college while having my emphasis in journalism.

I’ll try to check out Ybor City. It’ll be festive in Tampa for sure, with the Rays/Red Sox series possibly headed back for Game 6 Saturday – the same day as our game. The baseball game is set for 4:37 p.m., but I have to think that if the NLCS gets decided before Game 7, they would move the Rays/Red Sox game into primetime, directly across from our game against the Lightning.

Q: I am a HUGE Wild fan and I have been living in Orlando for the past year and it’s killing me. I grew up on hockey its all i used to do and now i am living in a state where when I call Applebees and ask if they are showing the Stanley Cup playoff game the girl who answers says what's the Stanley Cup?  I have listened to almost every game via over the past year.  I was just wondering if there is anything you can do to make my one Wild game this year even better. If not that’s fine too thanks for reading and tell the team good luck.

Tony Erickson

A: Tony, as someone who lived in the south for 10 years, I feel your pain, although I have lived in some hockey crazed places. What game are you going to? I’ll try to fire the boys up and we’ll get you a win, the best prize of all.
I’d better get up in the stands for practice. I’ll be back around lunchtime with potential lineups.
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