By Michael Russo
Derek and his family gave us some incredible access in Regina, which we appreciated and I think made for two quality stories (today and the Fight Camp article in mid-July).
Besides the fight camp and lunch, Carlos and I hung out at his gym, Level 10 Fitness, which is a haven for Regina-based hockey players and CFL players.
Derek and his girlfriend, Erin, also gave us a tour of their new home there. Beautiful place.
This had to be trimmed out because of space, but I loved these quotes. Sister Krysten wasn’t spared from her brothers as a kid.
“They roughhoused me a lot,” Krysten said. “Now, it’s better. They’re older and wiser and smart enough to know they can’t treat me like that. It also helps being bigger than Ryan and Aaron now.”
Said Derek, “We treated her like a brother. It seemed smart at that time, but you look back, and it’s like, ‘Why’d you do that?’”
As for yesterday, I thought Kent blogged, but Aaron Voros, Serge Payer and Adrian Foster were dispatched. I was surprised about Voros. He had a terrific game Friday in Chicago. Seven hits, two or three scoring chances. We haven’t seen the last of him.
I think this just proves Matt Foy is destined to make this team. I think the Wild is convinced he’d be taken off waivers if it tried to send him to the minors.
That means there’s one more spot. Petr Kalus so far is the frontrunner, but it’s not like he’s got a strangehold on it. Benoit Pouliot can really make a run for the job starting with a good game Monday in Grand Forks. But after a strong first few scrimmages, he was pretty much invisible in Chicago on a line Jacques hated with Payer and Bouchard.
Sunday practice update: First of all, the blog will likely be quiet tomorrow, I’m sorry to tell you. Kent is covering the game in Grand Forks, so I won’t be able to blog during it.
Most Wild regulars are playing in tomorrow’s game, except Gaborik, Koivu, Radivojevic (although he’s supposed to go) and Burns.
Lots of kids in tomorrow, and Jacques wants somebody to step up and say, “Ah, I want to be on the team. I deserve to be on the team.”
Playing tomorrow are Pouliot, Kalus (only player on the team to play in all four), Sheppard and Foy. On defense, Reitz and “Big John” (as Lemaire calls him) Scott are in. Belle is going, but Jacques said he wasn’t playing.
Really cool, but 18-year-old Colton Gillies, the Wild’s first-round pick in June, is playing tomorrow. When I asked him about it, he fist-pumped with a big smile. The Wild wants him around to give him as much experience as possible before going back to his junior team, WHL Saskatoon, who after a horrible year last season, is off to an 0-2 start.
Today’s practice was interesting. Jacques was fired up early that the Wild wasn’t changing fast enough. Finally, he made the players he felt weren’t changing fast do 10 pushups each time. After Walz, Boogaard and Veilleux were forced to do 10, the Wild got the message and changed hard and fast.
Martin Skoula took a Kalus slapper off the leg today. The defenseman was in much, much, much pain but skated it off. Gaborik also took a high stick. He lost his stick on the play in the D-zone, picked it up, angrily skated up ice, took the puck coming over the blue line, wheeled around the defenseman, went to his backhand and then quickly switched to his forehand before roofing a phenomenal goal over Backstrom.
He then skated to the bench, hopped the boards and bent down holding his jaw. It was pretty neat. He’s fine, by the way.
One other note: FSN North is airing its season preview Monday night at 10.