By Michael Russo
UPDATE: MARIAN GABORIK (FOOT) WILL BE A GAMETIME DECISION TONIGHT. IN A RETURNED EMAIL FROM ASSISTANT GM TOM LYNN, HE WROTE, “WE’LL DECIDE AFTER WARMUP, BASED ON HOW HE FEELS.”
GABORIK WAS NAILED BY A PAVOL DEMITRA SHOT NINE MINUTES INTO THE SECOND PERIOD LAST NIGHT. HE DIDN’T MISS A SHIFT AND PLAYED A PART ON PAVOL DEMITRA’S GOAL, WHICH DEFLECTED OFF CALGARY DEFENSEMAN DION PHANEUF. BUT I SAW GABORIK AFTER THE GAME. WHEN HE GOT HIS BOOT OFF, HE WAS LIMPING BADLY.
Just got into Edmonton. Took a propeller plane in a snow storm here. Fun, fun.
Not that it was this bad, but this morning reminded me of my first or second year on the Panthers’ beat. I get on my first prop plane from Ottawa to Boston at like 5:30 in the morning in a blizzard. The plane gets de-iced twice. I must have looked terrified because my colleague from the Miami Herald, David Jeffrey Neal, turns to me laughing and goes, “Glamorous lifestyle, huh?”
Eleven or 12 seasons later, I’m still doing the same thing. He’s a columnist, a very good one at that. By the way, if you ever want some great traveling woe stories, I’ve got tons for you. Most involve David. Nearly every time he and I got on a plane together, it almost crashed. And I’m not exaggerating. We’re talking several emergencies/bad flights with he and I on the same plane.
We were once struck by lightning going from Buffalo to LaGuardia. Last flight to leave Buffalo because of snow, last flight into LaGuardia because of rainstorm.
I didn’t get scared on that flight until about the 10th hard bank to the right and drop. I looked over at David J., and he was praying! I’ve got plenty more.
On to things you care about, like el Wild. First of all, the team didn’t skate this morning, and quite frankly, will be lucky if it can skate tonight. The team did not arrive in Edmonton until 4:30 a.m.
As I blogged last night, it had plane problems. Well, after games, the team eats on the plane. So the Wild took the team to a Calgary restaurant. Afterward, there was still a chance the team could fly, so it bussed to the airport. Finally, it was determined the plane couldn’t leave the ground. At 1 a.m., it began the drive north to Edmonton. Snow and ice led to a very slow trip here.
Because of Niklas Backstrom’s “lower body” injury (he still hasn’t been evaluated, according to team spokesman Wayne Carlson), Manny Fernandez and minor-league goalie Miroslav Kopriva are expected to arrive this afternoon. Josh Harding will start tonight; Kopriva will back up.
The team doesn’t play until Sunday in Vancouver, so Fernandez will have tomorrow and Saturday to practice in Vancouver. Perhaps he could start against the Canucks.
Amazing, by the way, that Fernandez wasn’t ready to practice, so he didn’t travel. Then, poof, an injury to Niklas Backstrom and the team says Fernandez is ready.
Seems to me that things were going so well with Backstrom, the team was being extremely cautious — so to speak –with Fernandez. As in, no distractions.
Anyway, because of the tired legs, it would seem to me that Jacques Lemaire would want energy bug Dominic Moore to make his Wild debut and possibly play Petteri Nummelin as well. But as I know all too well, Lemaire’s unpredictable.
Also, Derek Boogaard is always a distraction for these Oilers. This team despises him. In the last two games, he’s injured Ales Hemsky and Ladislav Smid. According to Boogaard, Oilers coach Craig MacTavish spent a chunk of Sunday’s game screaming at him from the bench.