| Over 800 fans filled the Xcel Energy Center stands to watch Sunday’s open practice. |
Day Three of Wild training camp brought the players back to the Xcel Energy Center for the first time, and it also brought the fans.
The Wild hosted an open practice on Sunday, and more than 800 fans turned out to watch two hour-long sessions. Head coach Jacques Lemaire, who took the ice with his team for the first time, didn’t hold any scrimmages on Sunday, but he did put the teams through various drills simulating game situations.
Following the second session, assistant coach Mario Tremblay had the players form a group at center ice and run a shootout drill. If the player scored, he flipped the puck into the crowd.
Newcomers Keith Carney and Mark Parrish were amazed at the turnout.
“I was really surprised to see one whole side of the lower bowl filled up to watch us practice,” Carney said. “Every time I came here in the past, the fans were great, and I’ve heard that’s how it is all of the time. That showed today.”
"I couldn’t believe how many people were out there," added Parrish. "Especially with the Vikings game."
No Cuts On Sunday
On Saturday, Lemaire hinted that as many as 10 players could get sent down to Houston, or to their respective junior teams following practice on Sunday.
The coaching staff and management will meet one more time to make decisions, which will be announced on Monday.
Daddy Manny Again
Manny Fernandez skipped Sunday’s practice, but he had a good reason. The goaltender’s wife, Karine, gave birth to the couple’s second child on Sunday, a baby girl. The size, weight and name of the little one is TBA.
Koivu heading the puck down to his stick. He plays soccer and he must be an avid World Cup fan.
Big Man, Big Responsibility
| The players making up the first session listen to Jacques Lemaire describe a drill. |
When you’ve been in the League for 14 seasons and in charge of thwarting the top lines of opponents, you’re going to be designated a leader, no matter how you feel about it.
Jacques Lemaire has said as much, and Keith Carney is just fine with that. He realizes the responsibility that comes with being a seasoned veteran on a team blended with experience and youth.
“I definitely have more responsibility here and that’s what I enjoy doing, helping some of the younger players,” said Carney. “I want to help out as much as I can, whether it’s showing them what it takes to play in the League or some of the things I’ve done to help myself as a professional.”
With the exception of Wes Walz, the bulk of the 2005-2006 Wild leaders still with the team led by example as opposed to vocalizing their feelings in the locker room. See Brian Rolston.
But Carney said he can get vocal when needed.
“At times, especially during the game, I can get pretty vocal and emotional, especially on the ice, that’s part of my game.”
Goal of the Day
Hands down, this one goes to Derek Boogaard. During a game situation drill, Kurtis Foster coughed up the puck while retreating in his own zone, and Branko Radivojevic gained possesion. He threw the puck back towards the point and right above the left circle where a hulking 6-foot-7 beast wound up and blasted a rocket past netminder Tony Quesada and into the top corner.
The crowd erupted and the Boogeyman cracked a smile when Lemaire insisted he turn and offer a wave to the crowd, which at that point was screaming “Boooooooog” in unison.
Following the second session, three (almost) Minnesota-natives – Mark Parrish, Wyatt Smith and Danny Irmen (of Grand Forks, North Dakota) – were staring up at the end of the Vikings-Panthers game.
During one Viking punt return, Smith yelled out, “just hang onto the ball!”
Parrish quickly pointed out, “That’s a lifelong Viking fan right there. Always optimistic!”
The lines used in scrimmages the past two days were essentially the same on Sunday during practices.
Clayton Stoner (shoulder), Riley Emmerson (back) and Matt Foy (hernia surgery) missed their third day of camp.