| Tommy Thompson and Wild management have some decisions ahead as far as who gets an invite to training camp. |
With players like Benoit Pouliot, Roman Voloshenko, Danny Irmen and James Sheppard, the offensive difficulties for the Minnesota Wild prospects at the 2006 NHL Centre I.C.E. Prospects Tournament have been puzzling.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota youngsters figured out the scoring problems, but they left Traverse City, Michigan without a win, falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning in an 8-7 shootout loss in the seventh place game.
Pouliot exploded for two goals and two assists in this firewagon game. Ryan Hamilton tallied twice and Sheppard, Cal Clutterbuck and Peter Olvecky also added markers.
Tuesday’s was a game you wish you could have witnessed in person. The Wild trailed 6-3 in the third period, but rattled off three straight goals to tie the contest. The Lightning scored what appeared to be the game-winner with 50 seconds to play, but Olvecky’s goal with six seconds to play and the goalie pulled forced the extra session.
Perhaps more disconcerting than the loss was the news that defenseman Clayton Stoner, who was arguably the team’s top player, seperated his shoulder during the game. His status will be evaluated when he returns to Minnesota on Thursday.
Miroslav Kopriva started the game between the pipes but left after giving up five goals in two periods. Kristofer Westblom finished the game.
Tommy Thompson offers his final "Tommy’s Take" today before he goes off to meet with the rest of the Wild staff to determine who gets invited to the Twin Cities for training camp, which begins Friday.
We’re disapponted with the results this week. I think at key points of games, we didn’t execute well enough. Some of our guys performed very well. I think some of the hard workers and the younger guys played well, and James Sheppard was outstanding. Cal Clutterbuck played well. Danny Irmen was good. You learn some things at these camps, and we were much better today. Our best offensive guys got a lot of points.
It’s going to be so hard for any of these guys to make the Wild because we think we’ve got a pretty good hockey club. For any young guy to make it, he’s going to have to score a knockout. He’s going to have to be able to play, and play regularly and play special teams. You don’t take a very gifted young guy and play him very little. That’s just not going to happen.
But we’ll see what happens. The opportunity is there.