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Vanek Returns To The Island

by Mike Doyle / Minnesota Wild

Thomas Vanek didn’t much care for the old Nassau Coliseum, that is, until he was traded to the New York Islanders last season. After playing on Long Island, the wing developed an affinity for the old barn.

“This is a building I didn’t like coming to, but once I was here, it is one of my favorite buildings now,” Vanek said. “I think the fans are great, the building gets loud.”

Unless the Wild and Islanders meet in the Stanley Cup Final, this will be the final time Vanek and the Wild will skate in the Coliseum. The Isles will move to Brooklyn next season and play at the Barclay Center.

For some, this might be an enticing move, to be in one of New York City’s Five Boroughs. However, Vanek said he’d rather have the team stay in Long Island. After acquiring the forward last season from the Buffalo Sabres, the club offered him a contract extension. The move to Brooklyn factored in on his decision to test free agency.

“I thought about it long and hard, but there were two factors,” Vanek said. “One was the summer, I made a choice that I really wanted to go to free agency. The one thing I didn’t like was the move to Brooklyn. I think that if the rink was built here on the Island, where it should be, there’s a good chance I’d still be here.”

The forward said that he knows Islanders General Manager Garth Snow gave up a lot to acquire him, so he’s glad to see the team doing well and on its way to the playoffs. The Islanders currently sit second in the Metropolitan Division in the East.

“For them to be in the playoffs and doing well, it makes it a little easier and better,” Vanek said.

The 31-year-old is riding a season team-high, eight-game point streak. After a goal and assist last night in Toronto, Vanek is now second on the team in scoring with 49 points (19-30=49).

Brodziak Out, Schroeder In

Forward Kyle Brodziak will come out of the lineup tonight, feeling upper-body tightness after his fight with Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf last night.

Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said the wing should be fine for Friday, when the club returns home and hosts the Calgary Flames. Minnesota’s bench boss still thinks Brodziak stepping in after Phaneuf leveled Erik Haula and followed it up with a two-hand chop to Jared Spurgeon was the right thing to do.

“Obviously we wish he was in the lineup tonight,” Yeo said. “But those types of things are things that you have to do for your teammates. He’s sending a pretty good message to our group there.”

With Brodziak out, Jordan Schroeder will enter the lineup for the first time since March 6. The speedy wing has seven points (3-4=7) in 18 games this season.

Dubnyk Starts, Again

After a 35-save win against the Leafs, Devan Dubnyk will be in goal yet again for Minnesota. (Copy and paste with a number change) He’s started all 32 games with the Wild since being acquired by the Arizona Coyotes.

For Minnesota, Dubnyk starting is non-story, but the question is still asked in every media scrum. Yeo had a drop-the-mic line when asked if he’s worried about starting the netminder game after game (much to the delight of the Lighthouse and rest of the media).

“I worry about not starting him.”

Boom. Scrum over.

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