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The R.S.S. Feed: Oct. 17, 2008

by Ryan Stanzel / Minnesota Wild
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Oct. 17, 2008

Of note...

Minnesota’s Mikko Koivu (one goal, eight assists) is the first NHL player to record nine or more points in his team’s first three games of a season since Adam Oates did so for the Bruins in 1993-94 (4-5-9). Only five other players in NHL history had at least eight assists in their team’s first three games of a season: Chicago’s Pat Stapleton in 1968-69 (nine), the Penguins’ John Cullen and Kevin Stevens in 1990-91 (nine each), the Kings’ Marcel Dionne in 1979-80 (eight) and the Rangers’ Rod Gilbert in 1976-77 (eight). -- Elias Sports Bureau

3 p.m.

I’m back from practice and awaiting delivery from a local Italian restaurant (hotel restaurant closes at 1:30), while watching Benoit Pouliot’s goal from last night being shown as the No. 5 play on SportsCenter’s Top 10.

Only a dozen or so players participated today in a 45-minute on-ice workout. Most of the rest worked out off the ice or played a hybrid of soccer, tennis and volleyball. Owen Nolan did skate today – I’ll hopefully have an update on all injured guys later today.

I spent much of the skate awaiting a call for Jacques Lemaire – he was trying to get a rental car for the day. Jacques lives in Tampa during the off-season.

I’m also about to send a credit card number to the hotel in Fort Lauderdale. One of our players forgot to pay his incidentals. It’s no big deal, it happens a lot actually, since players are usually focused on the game when checking out. That’s what I’m here for.

A funny moment from the end of Lightning practice. Wes Walz was the last guy on the ice – “Rookie coaches pick up the pucks” he yelled at the group of Wild players awaiting the ice to be flooded. Derek Boogaard went out and helped him pick up the last few pucks.

Krys Kolanos was recalled, and I hooked him up with Kevin Falness for a PONDCast later today. I also secured Antti Miettinen for an interview with a Finnish magazine that should be happening right about now.

Mailbag time.

Q: Thanks for doing these blogs during the regular season!  It's fun to read about the things that the papers/radio shows do not cover.  There have been times that I have been more interested in the behind-the-scenes action than the actual on-ice action (I know, hard to believe right?) It's great to read about the road issues that go along with traveling with the Wild.  Please keep up the updates, as I have not missed one yet.  It would also be a real treat to meet you on Jan. 3rd for the Red Wings game, as I will be in the Al Shaver box with my wife and a couple friends from out of town. 
Keep up the good work!
Daniel from White Bear Lake

A: Thanks for the note Daniel. I am in Seat 51 in the Al Shaver Press Box, please stop by and say hello!

A: Hi Ryan,
I'm still very much enjoying your blog, even though sometimes I may go a day or two without reading so I have to catch up when I get time. I just signed up for the RSS feed, cool idea! It's great to see the Wild off to such a great start, I listened to the game on last night as I watched the Caps vs Pens on TV (what a great game that was too, the Caps finally won in Pit). I have Mikko Koivu on my fantasy hockey team so I was especially happy to see him have such an awesome game last night. I also have Brent Burns, my favorite defenseman, and I'm trying to trade for Gabby (get well soon). A few questions popped up in my mind today: (1) do you play fantasy hockey and if so do you have any Wild players? (2) do any of the players play fantasy hockey and if so do any of them have themselves!? (3) how do players who, at one time were on opposing teams but now are on the same team, get along if they have fought each other previously in a game when they were opponents (e.g., Chris Simon vs the Boogeyman)? As always, keep up the good work and keep winning Wild!!!
Scott from Parts Unknown

A: Great e-mail Scott and great questions.
1 – I don’t play fantasy hockey. I have a hard enough time updating my football team once a week. It would just be too much
2 – The players are big into fantasy football, but to my knowledge, none of them play fantasy hockey.
3 – Usually very great. As you know, Todd Fedoruk and Derek Boogaard were teammates last season in Minnesota, a year after Boogaard rearranged Fridge’s face in a fight. Fedoruk has metal inside his cheek because of Boogaard. They were best buddies and roommates last season.

Ok, the calzone is here, I’m going to chow down and relax for a bit until meeting a couple of friends in the area tonight for dinner. I’ll talk to you Saturday morning with a game preview.

12:30 p.m.

Greetings from my blackberry from the St Pete Times Forum, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts currently practicing under the tutelage of Barry Melrose, Rick Tocchet and of course Wes Walz. Talk about star power. A couple of our players noticed Walz heading to the bench several times to retie his skates as they were warming up. For those of you who followed Wes Walz in Wild gear from 2000-07, that doesn't surprise you.

I set my alarm for 10:30 this morning - it was 3 by the time I fell asleep, and I didn't have to leave for the arena until 11:45. The phone rang at 7:30, though, the bus company was confused as to why we cancelled the buses for this morning. Because its a short walk across the bridge, that's why. So that taken care of, I slowly drifted back to sleep.

I opened the curtains this morning to see a nice view of the harbor. We are actually staying on Harbor Island.

One last thing before I close the book on Sunrise. It's funny, they sponsor everything there. Which is good. The urinals? Sponsored. The bar above the urinal so you don't spill your beverage of choice? Sponsored. Each step of the arena has a logo on it. Each replay sponsored.

I've got to head back down to the locker room. There's no service down there but I've got some business to attend to. I'll be back after practice, and pre pool time, with a full report.

1:45 a.m., Friday

The Friday blog gets a very early start. We’ll let sleep in, however, to post the Friday R.S.S. Feed, but this one is just best while its on my mind.

People often ask me what’s the hardest part about my job. And I often tell them that it’s the fact that I can do everything right, double check and triple check, and I still have to depend on dozens of other people to do the same thing.

We arrived at the airport tonight and were lightning quick through security. So fast that the luggage was still being loaded in the back (remember the word “back”) of the plane. No problem, we got everyone situated. And we’re ready, right?

No, there was too much weight in the back of the plane. We were on a commercial jet – not our normal folks – so it was a really light load in the front of the plane. So, they had to move approximately half the bags to the back of the plane.

That took about 20 minutes, and we’re finally ready. Keep in mind the plane that we are on has televisions – that work in the air too. The flight attendants tell us they are going to turn off the TV’s briefly to go through safety instructions – in the midst of the eighth inning of the Red Sox/Rays game. Rays up 7-6, man on second, two outs, and the TV cuts out. But it was to get us in the air sooner, so we couldn’t be too upset. And fortunately, Coco Crisp had I believe a 13-pitch at-bat, so we caught the end while taxiing to the runway.

We get in the air, I take a deep breath and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. No chicken parm at the arena for me, as I was concentrated on getting the team out on time. About halfway through the trip, right about the time J.D. Drew lifted the Red Sox to the win over the Rays, a thought popped into my head – the luggage is going to be mixed.

We have two types essentially – the hockey bags and equipment, and our personal luggage. Many guys carry the bags on, but for long trips when you have a lot of stuff packed, it’s just easier to put it under the plane. You don’t have to lug it through the security line, the bus takes it right to the plane.

Generally, they unload the personal bags first so the guys can get to the hotel and to bed, and then the equipment and training staff takes the hockey bags to the arena and checks in later. So, the conveyer belt starts taking the bags out of the back – and of course it’s all hockey bags, skate sharpeners, etc. We’ve got 25 people waiting for bags that aren’t coming off the back. I ask our charter rep what can be done, but he explains if they take the bags off the front first, the plane will tip.

So they get most of the hockey bags off, move the equipment truck and drive the conveyer belt to the underbelly of the plane up front. Out come the bags, but the luggage guys were literally tossing these personal suitcases around like they were packed full of linens. We’re hoping no one had anything breakable inside their checked baggage. Then I got to thinking, it’s probably the exact same thing they do when you fly commercial. Think of that next time you’re packing for a commercial flight.

All in all, it probably took 15 or 20 minutes to get the bags off the plane, and us on our way to downtown Tampa. We are at a different hotel, but it’s still just a couple blocks from the St. Pete Times Forum, so there is no bus Friday for practice. Nor Saturday until gametime, unless the players decide tomorrow they want a bus.

The staff was great when we arrived at our hotel and got us up to our rooms in no time. All I wanted was a Snickers. I could see it inside the minifridge – but no key to be found. I guess the hotel gods were trying to tell me to go to sleep without the Snickers.

The good news is, we are 3-0-0, and everyone is much happier after a win. What a game tonight. We’ll see what Friday brings. I’ll check in but probably not until around practice time.

Thanks everyone for reading. I hope this blog gives you a bit of insight into behind the scenes of a pro sports team. We are treated very well – stay in great places, fly in awesome planes. But there are hiccups along the way.

I’ll get to some e-mails Friday. I got some good ones during the game tonight. I guess it’s yesterday now. It’s 2 a.m., and I’m climbing into my bed. It looks like I have a nice view of the harbor outside. But I won’t be up to see the sun rise, that’s for sure.
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