By Michael Russo
Like he promised, Brent Burns is a quick healer.
OK, so the stud defenseman hasn’t been given the official green light to return to action yet, but he did skate this morning, and even scrimmaged, until trainer Don Fuller gave him the heave-ho.
Burns still hasn’t been cleared to return for the start of training camp Saturday in Grand Forks, but it looks very doubtful he’ll miss the full four weeks he was expected to miss after elbow surgery Sept. 4.
In the scrimmage, Burns looked tremendous. So much so, Stephane Veilleux and P-M Bouchard were waiting for him in the locker room, saying, “That was sick. That was one sick goal.”
And it was. On one rush, Burns cut through the slot, deked two defenders and in one ridiculous motion, slid the puck to his backhand and roofed a beauty over top Josh Harding.
I remember my first season covering the Wild, Burns used to always make fun of himself, saying he couldn’t stick-handle. Things have changed pretty dramatically.
Burns is anxious to return, but he’ll probably be told to slow it down a tad.
– Couple other things: Both Benoit Pouliot and Peter Olvecky look very good, and after I sat down with Jacques Lemaire yesterday, it’s clear he’s looking at both of them vying for the fourth center position in camp. Corey Locke and Krys Kolanos have shots, but it’ll be Pouliot and Olvecky seeing lots of chances in camp. Both will get lots of shifts with Marian Gaborik, Lemaire said, just so they get as good an opportunity as possible.
– Seventh D position might not necessarily just be given to Erik Reitz. After getting my first look at Tomas Mojzis today, the guy can play. Good size, and he can skate very well. If Mojzis impresses, the Wild has shown before it’s willing to stick one-way contracts in the minors.
– All the new guys skated today (Nolan, Miettinen, Zidlicky, Bergeron, Weller, Brunette).
– On Marian Gaborik, Tom Lynn said yesterday, “No progress to report.” See how I buried that?
– Had lunch with Nik Backstrom today for an upcoming training camp story. This isn’t headline-making news, but Backstrom said there’s no doubt Teemu Selanne’s coming back to the Ducks.
Backstrom skates with all the Helsinki NHLers during the summer. He said last year, Selanne never showed up. This year, Selanne didn’t miss a single skate and spent much of August ordering new equipment and sticks.
Right now, the Ducks are just trying to free up the cap space to re-sign Selanne. Looks like Mathieu Schneider could be the guy on the move. In fact, an NHL source says Schneider’s on waivers.
Here’s your HD TV schedule for FSN North:
Oct. 11 Saturday Boston 7:30 PM HD
Oct. 25 Saturday Columbus 7:00 PM HD
Nov. 13 Thursday Phoenix 7:00 PM HD
Nov. 28 Friday Tampa Bay 1:00 PMHD
Nov. 29 Saturday at Nashville 7:00 PMHD
Dec. 3 Wednesday St. Louis 7:00 PM HD
Dec. 6 Saturday at Nashville 7:00 PMHD
Dec. 11 Thursday at Phoenix 8:00 PM HD
Dec. 20 Saturday at St. Louis 7:30 PMHD
Dec. 28 Sunday Chicago 5:00 PM HD
Jan. 4 Sunday at Colorado 7:00 PM HD
Jan. 15 Thursday Edmonton 7:00 PM HD
Feb. 6 Friday Nashville 7:00 PM HD
Feb. 12 Thursday at Detroit 6:30 PM HD
Feb. 21 Saturday Detroit 7:00 PM HD
Mar. 12 Thursday at Colorado 8:00 PM HD
Mar. 15 Sunday at St. Louis 5:00 PM HD
Mar. 17 Tuesday Colorado 7:00 PM HD
Mar. 22 Sunday Edmonton 2:00 PM HD
Apr. 5 Sunday at Detroit 4:00 PM HD