By Michael Russo
As you could tell my below blog, the Wild was very good tonight in every area.
Niklas Backstrom was so good, the classy fans in Montreal gave him a standing O at one point
Jacques said tonight was the best Stephane Veilleux he’s seen. He played with Marian Gaborik and James Sheppard, and Veilleux and Gaborik scored goals and Sheppard had two assists.
Veilleux led the Wild with four goals in the preseason and Sheppard and Veilleux tied with six points.
Antti Miettinen was very good tonight, as was Erik Reitz, who fought Steve Begin in the end as a reaction for Begin’s earlier hit on Gaborik.
Talked with GM Doug Risebrough before tonight’s game. The Wild plans to make cuts Sunday. He sounds like Colton Gillies and Cal Clutterbuck/Danny Irmen can’t BOTH make the team barring injuries. Risebrough said he’ll keep 23 players, including injured defenseman Kurtis Foster, who will be placed on injured reserve.
So in reality, that’s 22 players — 13 forwards and seven defensemen. To keep both Gillies and Clutterbuck/Irmen, the Wild would likely need to keep 14 forwards.
So if I had to guess, Gillies gets the wing spot and Benoit Pouliot obviously gets the center spot over Krys Kolanos.
Risebrough said he doesn’t know if Marek Zidlicky will be ready by the start of the season with an injured ankle. He says he’s day-to-day.
If he’s not ready, the Wild will keep an extra defenseman, meaning Reitz and probably Tomas Mojzis.
As for Tyler Cuma, I’ve gotten a lot of emails asking if the Wild could keep him 10 games. Remember, that’s only if he’s signed. If he’s not signed, he’d have to be returned to Ottawa of the OHL by Tuesday at 5 p.m, I think.
And according to members of the front office, there has been no talk of signing him yet. Everything with Risebrough and Lemaire is subject to change, but so far, he’s going back to junior.
To go with Sunday’s Owen Nolan story, here’s some YouTube video of some of the things mentioned in the story:
I thought the most interesting part of the Nolan story was Vincent Damphousse making the comparison between he and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Damphousse, by the way, now owns the spa La Scandinave in Blue Mountain, Ont., and Mont-Tremblant. He’s also opening two more in Old Montreal and Whistler, B.C.
I’ll talk to you Sunday after I get back to Minnesota in the afternoon.