Sept. 29, 2008 10 a.m.
One entire day without blogging. I’m sure you missed me. Kind of like how I’m craving taco meat a week after leaving Grand Forks.
I was gone but not forgetting those loyal blog readers. Thanks to several of you for some great e-mails over the weekend. We’ll get to the mailbag shortly.
Today is a busy day in Wildland. The prospects are currently on the ice, and Houston Aeros head coach Kevin Constantine and the rest of his staff is set to depart soon after for the Aeros camp in Texas. VERSUS is here for a video shoot beginning at 11 a.m. so they can have lots of close-ups of the guys for our eight national broadcasts this season. Practice is at 1 o'clock, so we’ll hopefully take care of a lot of guys before they get on the ice so there’s not much waiting around after. The players have to be in their gear for the shoot.
Also today I need to find time to get some jerseys signed for our friends in Houston, interview some guys for a game program due in a couple of days, oh and get a haircut as well -- plus I'm getting stuff ready for the back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday. And get to the dry cleaners somehow, because we follow that up with a trip I am on, Friday in Columbus and Saturday in Montreal.
A big congratulations to Aaron Sickman’s Milwaukee Brewers on their first playoff appearance since 1982. I hope I don’t need anything from the road this weekend, as I’m anticipating he’ll have his Bernie the Brewer costume on cheering for the Brewers. If only his fantasy football team were that good.
Mailbag time. Remember that you too can get in on the fun at firstname.lastname@example.org
: Greetings, Ryan!
I've enjoyed reading your blog over the past week! Seeing how I'm in Texas and the media coverage on hockey is less than acceptable, I've been relying on your blog to keep informed as to the happenings during training camp. Thank you for the info!! I must say it was great to hear the several of our Aeros players attended both camps. There are some extremely talented players on our Aeros team and they deserve to be recognized for their achievements. While I enjoy watching those guys here in Houston, I do believe that the Wild would benefit by having them on the team.
One thing that concerns me is the goalie situation. Is it feasible for either the Wild or the Aeros to have three goalies? Reason this question comes up, I believe Anton Khudobin deserves a spot on either roster. He is an amazing goalie, to say the least! I've seen him play several times with the Aeros and with the former Wildcatters. I sincerely hope that his talent isn't ignored.
Once again, thank you for the information on your blog. Just remember, your Houston fans will be cheering you on!! It's the Wild in '09!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sheila from Kingwood, Texas
FYI: I've been a hockey fan since the original Aeros. I watched Gordie, Mark and Marty Howe play ... I saw a rookie Wayne Gretzky!! A
: Sheila, great e-mail, and thanks for writing. When you say “your Houston fans will be cheering you on,” you don’t specify if you’re cheering ME on, or the Wild. I’m assuming it’s the former and not the latter.
NHL teams typically carry no more than two goalies. AHL teams occasionally carry more than two, although not usually. However, if you remember last season, each of the “top four” goalies in the system missed time with injury. Nolan Schaefer, although he didn’t see any game action, was in Minnesota for quite some time, allowing Khudobin some time in Houston. Schaefer also missed many games in Houston due to injury, so Khudobin was once again on the Aeros roster. One thing you never take for granted is health, especially with the goaltenders. I remember a couple years ago in Houston, the organization did not have the best goaltending depth in the world. That’s obviously not the case now, with five excellent goalies in the system. Most organizations would like to have so much depth to account for injuries, etc. It says a lot that all five are still on the active camp roster.Q
: Mr. Stanzel:
Sorry, I am not writing from outside the state or outside the country for that matter. Just good ol' St. Paul, home of the Minnesota Wild. :-)
Whoever came up with the Wild blog is a genius. I enjoy reading the little anecdotes because it makes the fans feel like they are an insider. I know that it will be harder once the season starts, but wanted to thank you for the extra effort and keep up the good work. I also thought the feature on Maxim Noreau was really good. Could you do a quick follow-up on how he felt about his first NHL game (even though it was preseason, it still is an NHL game), his play, and Michael Russo saying that he could see Noreau's hands shaking from the press box? I also look forward to these features throughout the season.
I was wondering if you could find out from Corey Locke and Tyler Cuma
if their family members are attending the game Sunday night. Coach Lemaire likes to joke that if family members, specifically parents, are there, the player might score a goal for them. If they are, that is at least two goals for the Wild, right?
Sunshine from St. PaulA
: Sunshine – Thanks for the note. Am I correct in thinking yesterday was my last day of wearing shortsleeves in your presence now that fall is upon us in Minnesota? Before I go on, please, it’s Ryan. “Mr. Stanzel” lives in South Carolina. Makes me remember that during camp last season, James Sheppard said “Yes, sir” to me. I was not happy. Now I get a “what’s up, dog?” out of him. Much better.
Since we received your e-mail, there are many of us trying to take credit for being a genius. I guess we’ll call it a group effort.
[Ed note: Months of begging finally paid off.]
I’ll try to track down Noreau to get his thoughts on his first preseason game. Cuma had a lot of family there last night, that’s for sure, and from the sounds of it, he played the game as if he were a ragged veteran and not an 18-year-old rookie. This kid really excites me. Erik Reitz and others also had family members in attendance.Q
: Hi. My daughter is a huge Cal Clutterbuck
fan. We enjoyed watching him play with the Oshawa Generals and we made a trip to Toronto last winter to watch the Areos play the Marlies. We even ran into his mom and she took a picture of my girls with the sign they made for Cal. She had him autograph the pics and she mailed them to our home. Because we don't get to hear too much about him it would be great to hear how he is doing with the Wild during the preseason training camp. I have been trying to follow the website and I do know he hasn't been sent back to the Aeros, yet. Here's hoping he makes the big club. If he does, she will move her allegiance from the Leafs to the Wild in a heartbeat.
Thank you in advance from the mom of Cal's biggest fan (11-year-old Cassidy),
Irene in CanadaA
: Well, that’s just a great story, Irene. Shows how great both hockey players and hockey moms are. Cal has had a great camp and is looking to improve upon his cup of coffee call-up last season. He has hit everything that moves on the ice, and if you listen to Jacques Lemaire’s postgame
press conference from last night, he was very impressed with Cal. Q
: Ryan, when is the team going to start to come together? We're well into preseason and I had really hoped to see more of Corey Locke. I moved to Minnesota three years ago from outside Ottawa, where Locke was our captain for the Ottawa 67's. He was fabulous and led the team into season finals for the Memorial Cup. I was at the game where we became runner up. Regardless of that outcome, Locke lived up to the hype of the slogan "Locked and Loaded"! I am really hoping to see him in Minnesota and remember him as the successful scorer Minnesota needs right now. He plays tonight in Buffalo ... What are the chances for Tuesday?
: Jan, thanks for the note. It’s been hard so far for the coaches/management to cut the roster down very much. With five games in seven nights, and six in nine, they don’t want to have a tired roster come opening night. Plus, of course, they want to get a look at some kids who could either make the team now or be a big part of it later down the line. Locke played 9:37 last night, including 40 seconds of power play time, registering one shot and winning two of six faceoffs. We should have Tuesday’s roster later on today!Q
: Hi Ryan!
I have a question for your blog, what is with Marc Andre-Bergeron and dropping the mits? He has caught me off guard with two preseason fights, his first two fights since his only NHL fight which dates back to 2002/03 season vs. Scott Nichols. So do we need to make a Marc Andre-Bergeron page on www.wildenforcers.com?
Tory Olson from www.wildenforcers.comA
: Thanks, Tory, for the question! I was not at the game in Buffalo last night, but from the sounds of it, Bergeron didn’t do much in terms of dropping the gloves. Bergeron has certainly seemed feisty, though, and won’t back down from anyone despite his diminutive side. But I’d have to bet he’s not going to give Boogie a run for his money as the team’s enforcer!
And before we go, late-breaking news into our e-mail inbox. Press meals for the next two nights! The beef and barley soup here is amazing. I’m going to Google Sauteed Chicken “Franchisee” as soon as I send the blog to Jamie MacDonald.
Beef and Barley soup
Beer battered walleye
Sautéed Chicken Franchisee
oven browned potatoes
tomato basil soup
country fried steak
sautéed cornish hen
au gratin potatoes
I clearly need to get back into gameshape, which includes remembering to bring my lunch to the arena (and not leave it in the office) for a 1 p.m. practice when there is lots to do before and after. But I’m willing to starve if it means helping the loyal Wild.com readers know what’s going on.
Here are your Wild players listed as in for tomorrow night ... But clearly not listed in their anticipated lines.
Forwards: Veilleux, Brunette, Boogaard, Gillies, Kolanos, Koivu, Pouliot, Sheppard, Kalus, Gaborik, Bouchard*, Miettinen
Defensemen: Skoula, Schultz, Scott, Cuma, Mojzis, Bergeron
Goalies: Backstrom, Harding
In other lineup news, Brent Burns and Pierre-Marc Bouchard are not ready to play in a game just yet. Marian Gaborik is getting closer.
One of the reasons I’ve been so busy is that it’s the Wild’s first major cut day. Fourteen guys were sent to AHL Houston, with the Wild’s recent second-round pick, Marco Scandella, sent back to his junior team. Speaking of the Aeros, who will hit the ice for the first time in Houston Wednesday, a quick plug to not only follow along all season long on Aeros.com, but from a journalist’s perspective, on Andrew Ferraro’s blog. Ferraro also chimes in with “Ryno’s Ramblings” as a blog name for the words you find in this space. Interesting, and it’s in the running, although “Ramblings” makes me think I don’t know what I’m talking about and am just kind of rambling about aimlessly. Oh look, a puppy dog!
The VERSUS shoot is nearly done, and I think Sickman has to grab four guys after practice, and I, thankfully, have the Wild jerseys signed by former Aeros sent back to Houston with PR guru Patrick Armstrong this afternoon.
* We did just get word that Bouchard may not be on the “play” list tomorrow. As I said, “subject to change.”
I’d better head downstairs, as practice is wrapping up and I’m up in the Al Shaver Press Box. We’ll be back in a bit.
2:45 p.m. CDT
Mmmmmm, I’m not so hungry anymore.
No big news out of post-practice. The Twins were a hot topic. Andrew Brunette and Nick Schultz, avid Twins fans, were excited for the rain delay in Chicago because it means they could watch the entire White Sox/Tigers game, if it ever gets going.
James Sheppard had a funny moment, although I’m not sure he thought it was real humorous. He came off the ice only to find that someone (no one would take credit) had rolled up his street clothes in a ball and taped them together with clear hockey tape. We’re not talking scotch tape here, folks, it took some scissors and some time to get his clothes out.
Mailbag time ...
Q: Hi Ryan - I have enjoyed reading the blogs. I really enjoy getting some "off ice" information about the players on my favorite NHL team!!
I thought of a clever (maybe) name for your blog. How about "Ryan by the seat of my pants"?
Smaller names might also include "Ryan's Rants" -- although that is similar to another media member's jottings -- or "The Stanzel Stanza" but I still like the first one.
Here is a question for you: Do you see Boogaard getting more ice time this year should he remain healthy? Do you see him in more of a consistent role on a checking line?
Brian from Centuria, Wis.
A: Brian, great note and great name suggestions. I’d have to run “Ryan by the seat of my pants” through our web editor. Maybe we could acronym it: RBTSOMY. If it doesn’t work out, that may be what we call it around our offices.
Second, I think for sure Boogaard could see more ice time. He has looked so great skating -- the off-season bike riding has really helped. I dare say he’s “limber.” As you have noticed in the “new NHL,” enforcer types are having to see more ice time. I think Boogie showed everyone last year that he could play a bit more per game -- if healthy. Wild fans will get a chance to see him Tuesday night.
Q: Hi there Mr. Stanzel
My name is Rick and I'm from Hamilton, Ontario. Until the opening night of the regular season, I don’t have much access to much Wild news except from Mr. Russo and yourself, and I am very grateful for you both keeping us Wild fans in the States and in Canada updated. My question is this: With the seven preseason games, just wondering how come none of our preseason games were televised. Many other teams in the NHL have one or maybe two preseason games televised and I'm just wondering how come none of our preseason games are televised. Is there something were not missing? I would like to add being from Hamilton, I got to see Corey Locke play last season for my Hamilton Bulldogs and I plan on attending the game in November and want to say he is a very good player and will have a very good future with our club.
A: On second thought, Mr. Stanzel is starting to have a nice ring to it. Maybe I should start requesting the players call me that on the road.
The Wild has not aired any preseason games on television since the 2001-02 season. According to our broadcast manager, there are a few reasons for this, such as: the ratings and interest not being high enough to justify the investment, and it is especially hard for teams like the Wild when it partners with networks such as FSN, who have baseball in late September as well.
Thanks for the note! Corey Locke was reassigned to Houston today, but I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of him.
Time to get on that writing that story for the game program! We’ll talk to everyone again tomorrow before the second home pre-season game!