Wild 4, Atlanta Thrashers 2; Bouchard returning to Minnesota; Nolan suffers “lower body injury”; Clutterbuck recalled

Posted on October 14th, 2008 – 5:37 PM
By Michael Russo

Before I start, I highly recommend reading the Marian Hossa/Marian Gaborik story in Wednesday’s editions. Thrashers GM Don Waddell, who was forced into trading Hossa last year in a Gaborik-like contract battle, was great in lending perspective to what the Wild is dealing with. You might want to read Aaron Voros’ quote on the bottom of that story. If you didn’t know, he grew really close with Gaborik, and he had an interesting thing to say.

Right wing Pierre-Marc Bouchard will return to Minnesota Wednesday morning to rest a sore back that’s been bothering him since early in training camp. He missed the first three preseason games with the same problem.

Wild assistant GM Tom Lynn wouldn’t say any more.

Owen Nolan sustained a “lower body injury” in the first period. He didn’t return to tonight’s game and will be evaluated tomorrow in Florida. Nolan missed yesterday’s practice and had ice wrapped around his right thigh Tuesday morning. He wiped out on an entry tonight on his seventh shift and never returned.

Cal Clutterbuck is on his way up from AHL Houston.

Considering the injuries, considering two power-play pointmen are out with Bouchard and Marek Zidlicky, considered their lines were in a state of flux, the Wild played a heckuva game tonight.

Jacques Lemaire was extremely complimentary of the team’s defensive game — and you know he sees everything defensively — and went on and on about the play of Antti Miettinen, who scored the Wild’s third and fourth goals tonight and had an assist for his second career three-point night.

Mikko Koivu had two assists and helped create Marian Gaborik’s terrific third-period goal tonight even though he didn’t get an assist. He was plus-3 and won 14 of 21 draws.

Andrew Brunette had a goal and an assist. Brent Burns, by my quick research, played a career-high (at least in the regular season) 29 minutes, 3 seconds , had an assist and had three shots. James Sheppard won 11 of 19 draws, and considering he was less than 40 percent last year, that’s got to be a career-best. Gaborik was outstanding on both ends of the ice.

Niklas Backstrom made 24 saves.

On a couple sour notes:

1) Derek Boogaard, in a kidding manner (I think), got all over me this morning for writing he’s not going to play a lot this year. He then played one shift at 29 seconds tonight and joked to me after, “I guess I should be scratched.”

2) Lemaire wasn’t all ecstatic after this game. He called out rookie Colton Gillies and Benoit Pouliot, saying, “The kids, they’ve got to play better. I don’t want to put pressure on them. But this is not junior, it’s not the minors. This is the N…H…L. Please.”

Ok, I will talk to you from South Florida. If you didn’t know, I used to live and work there. So between family, friends and crying on my financial guy’s shoulder tomorrow during a morning meeting at his office, I’ll update you on the team you care about.

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