By Michael Russo
There is no controversy anymore.
Niklas Backstrom is your No. 1 goaltender.
That was the news of the day coming after this afternoon’s practice from gorgeous Vancouver.
Read tomorrow’s story, but basically, Jacques said the team is playing too well to fiddle with it. He says he wants to see how far this team can go with Backstrom at the helm. Obviously things can change if the team goes south.
But Lemaire said Manny Fernandez will play when the Wild can’t gain any more and/or the teams around the Wild take off either direction.
He also alluded to his dissatisfaction with Fernandez’s effort in practices recently. Manny wasn’t in the talking mood today.
Wes Walz (back) didn’t practice, won’t play vs. Vancouver but says he plans to play this trip; Derek Boogaard (back) practiced and is able to play vs. Vancouver. He also isn’t happy with Jeff Cowan allegedly telling people he refused to fight Cowan last game. Ex-Wild D Willie Mitchell (groin) is doubtful.
Look for guys like Matt Cooke and Alexandre Burrows and Kevin Bieksa to be hitting hard tomorrow. Canucks lost to Anaheim last night, and has been called out bigtime in the press and by their coach for being pushed around.