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Wild’s Focus Is On Tomorrow

by Mike Doyle / Minnesota Wild
When driving in a blizzard, it’s important to keep your eyes on the road ahead—regardless of the swirling mess around your vehicle that’s desperately trying to knock you into the ditch.

Like a driver on a hazardous highway, the Minnesota Wild will continue to look forward as it navigates the treacherous Western Conference. Rather than looking back at the team’s most recent outing, a lopsided loss in the Lone Star State, the focus is on tomorrow night, when the Wild hosts the San Jose Sharks at 7 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center.

“You lose 2-1, you lose 7-2; regardless it’s the same result,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “It’s very frustrating and disappointing to lose a game like that, but to sit around here and dwell on it for the next couple of days is not going to help us for tomorrow.” 

The players reiterated the coach’s sentiment. Sitting around and feeling bad about last game won’t help them against the Sharks tomorrow.

“Turn the page, we have a game tomorrow that we need to worry about,” Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon said. “What’s in the past is in the past. We have to look forward to the next one.”

Spurgeon might not have gone with the Lighthouse’s driving metaphor, but the blueliner knows the team needs to have a short memory. Although a little road salt on the book spine could be good for Minnesota. 

“We’re not happy about it, you have to take stuff out of that game, but we’ve got to bounce back and get going—start playing the way we know we can,” Spurgeon said. “Obviously when you get blown out like that it’s embarrassing and you want to prove that’s not our team in here.”

The Wild gets a chance to prove it is still a team to reckon with in the West this week. Minnesota has a three-game homestand against a trio of Western Conference teams—all of which would make the playoffs if they started today. The Sharks currently sit in the final Wild Card spot, while the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators each own 54 points in the Central Division. 

“They’re all against good teams, granted,” Yeo said. “They’re going to be a good test starting tomorrow.”

However, just as it doesn’t want to look back, the Wild also doesn’t want to gaze too far ahead. 

“We need to make sure we can take care of what we can control and that’s tomorrow’s game first," Yeo said.

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Wild defenseman Keith Ballard spoke for the first time since the Dec. 9 hit that left him with facial fractures and a concussion. The blueliner said he still has concussion symptoms and isn’t ready to say if or when he’ll be able to make a return to the ice. Read the full story and watch his availability, here.

Graovac Reassigned

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The 21-year-old made his NHL debut on Dec. 29 at Winnipeg and has skated in three games with Minnesota this season registering four shots and averaged 9:13 in time on ice.

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