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Top Takeaways: With Camp 2.0 nearly done, Wild heads north on Sunday

Here are the Top Takeaways from the final week of Phase 3, presented by Toyota

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

Phase 3 and training camp 2.0 is nearly done, as the Wild has managed to get through two weeks of practice ahead of its best-of-5 qualifying round against the Vancouver Canucks in Edmonton.

Here are this week's Top Takeaways from camp, presented by Toyota:


1. That'll about do it.

Following practice at TRIA Rink on Friday, just one day of practice stands between the Wild and its flight to Edmonton on Sunday afternoon. 

In all, Minnesota has gotten together for eight practice sessions and two scrimmages over the past two weeks in preparation for a return to play that is set to officially begin a week from Sunday, inside the bubble, at Rogers Place against the Canucks. 

Tweet from @mnwild: S O O N.#mnwild | #LetsPlayHockey pic.twitter.com/sSFfi7ITTS

Specifically, the scrimmage on Thursday was about as close to some game situations as the Wild will see before its exhibition game against Colorado on Wednesday afternoon. One thing is certain, however, and that is players are getting sick of practicing only against one another. After two weeks in Phase 3, and even more time near the end of Phase 2, they are ready to go up against a team with a different jersey on.

"If they're getting tired of that, then they're getting hungry to play," said Wild coach Dean Evason. "They're getting hungry to play against somebody else, so that's great. It's just part of the progression and I hope that they're sick and tired of each other and they want to get after someone else." 


2. Well isn't that special.

Week two of Camp 2.0 saw the Wild implement special teams into its practices and its scrimmage on Thursday. 

Minnesota went the entire first week of camp without spending any time on its power play and penalty kill, but Evason put a big emphasis on both units early in the week. 

Video: Training camp week 2

Overall, Evason said he was pleased with the progress of both.

"Really liked the last two days," Evason said Thursday of his special-heavy practices. "We really liked our 5-on-3. I think the [unit] that had [Mats Zuccarello] on it, they had tremendous opportunities ... but we liked that look. As far as 5-on-4, we had one [in the Thursday scrimmage] that we scored on, but we liked our structure. Our breakouts have been very good, very tight. We entered fine. We noticed a little bobbling of the pucks, which is going to happen. We could probably shoot the puck a little more, not only on our PP but 5-on-5. That's an area that we stressed on the bench."

For the record, the Wild was tied for 10th in the NHL in power play percentage before the shutdown, converting on 21.3 percent of its opportunities, including a 26.4 percent success rate since Jan. 1.

The Wild's kill was 25th in the League at 77.2 percent on the season, but was clicking at an 83 percent clip in February and March, a success rate that would put it among the best in the NHL over the course of a full season.


3. Life inside the bubble.

The NHL revealed on Thursday some details on what life inside the hub cities will looks like for players, including an interesting look at how the rink itself will appear during games. 

"I think we all are going into it knowing that everything's not going to be perfect," said Wild forward Zach Parise. "Everyone is doing their best considering the circumstances, the League is doing their best to follow the guidelines to make sure that all the logistics are taken care of for the players. Making sure everything is in line and ready for [12] teams to go move into a city and play, it's got to be pretty challenging."

With no fans in the building, Rogers Place in Edmonton and Scotiabank Arena in Toronto will have a very different feel for television audiences. 

Tweet from @NHLdotcom: The NHL gave a detailed description of what life in hub cities Edmonton and Toronto will be like to players, coaches and team executives in an hourlong virtual presentation. @drosennhl has the story.https://t.co/RBVQSpmDT5

From NHL.com:

  • The League is using video, audio and lighting that will allow every game to look different from the previous game. There will be LED screens, monitors and stages around the ice to create the unique television-friendly look.
  • The NHL has gotten goal songs, goal horns, in-arena music compilations and motivational videos from each of the 24 teams participating. The League also received specially produced videos from fans that will replicate some of the chants that go on in teams' home arenas.
  • In addition, broadcast partners NBC in Toronto and Sportsnet in Edmonton will use 32 cameras per game, 12 more than normal, that will be repositioned in each building to bring the television audience visuals they haven't seen before.
  • The League has partnered with EA Sports to use its library of in-game sounds to mimic some crowd noise.

Players will be tested for COVID-19 daily, like they have during Phase 3. 

Inside the bubble, players will have the ability -- after four days of quarantine inside their hotel rooms -- to move around, at least a little bit. 

Again, from NHL.com:

  • The NHL is using three hotels in Edmonton within walking distance of Rogers Place to house all players, coaches and staff. The League is using two hotels in Toronto, one at Exhibition Place and the other near Scotiabank Arena.
  • There will be a fencing system running through each location to keep everyone inside the bubble secure and away from the general public. There will be 97 security guards and health ambassadors in Toronto and 125 in Edmonton.
  • Restaurants in the secure zones, some already in place and some the League is creating with the help of local chefs, will open early in the morning until late at night. Mayer said there will be a variety of food choices.
  • The League also created a concierge system by working with outside delivery companies to allow anyone in the bubble to get food, pharmaceutical needs and goods delivered from outside vendors.
  • The layout in each hub city includes designated space for indoor and outdoor activities, including movie theaters, player lounges, patio decks and recreational space. Players in Toronto will have use of BMO Field in Exhibition Place, home to Toronto FC of Major League Soccer.
  • Each hotel has team meeting rooms, meal rooms and fitness facilities. There will also be exclusive areas in the arenas for players to watch the other games.

Games for the first week and a half or so will be on from morning until night, so if you've missed hockey, you're about to get your fill in a big way.

"Everyone is dying to see something on TV and see some sports," Parise said. "You look at the people watching golf, you look at the people watching the bean bag tossing. Everyone is dying for something to watch. And I also feel like with what's going on out there in the U.S. right now, sports has a unique way of bringing people together."

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