Lemaire to decide on future after season; Huge game for both teams; Luongo in zone; Same Wild lineup; Wild taking flood donations

Posted on March 31st, 2009 – 11:44 AM
By Michael Russo

So last month, I was talking with Jarome Iginla about how weird it was that the Calgary Flames were running away with the Northwest considering the Wild didn’t clinch its first division championship until Game 81 last season.

Thank goodness I decided to go with a different notebook lead that night. How things have changed, eh?

Since the Wild handed the Vancouver Canucks their ninth consecutive home loss with an exciting 4-3 overtime win Jan. 31, the Canucks have executed a shocking turnaround, going 19-5-1 since. A win tonight over the Wild, and the Canucks will hop over the Flames for first in the Northwest.

A win tonight over the Wild, and I’ll be able to send back my jury duty questionnaire worry-free because I will have no obligations for later this month if you catch my drift. Do you? Got what I’m saying there? Comprende? 

Not to give you a queasy feeling, but Luongo’s ready. I walked into the arena with my old Florida Panthers’ pal, and he’s in the zone. “Huge game for both teams,” Luey said. “Huge game.”

Also ran into Canucks bruiser Darcy Hordichuk, and he interviewed me rather than vice versa regarding a 6-foot-8 former Michigan Tech (who says the Wild dislikes college kids?) dude named John Scott. Apparently Hordichuk’s thinking he may need to “go” with the towering blue-liner, and by “go,” I mean fight if you catch my drift.

I talked to Scott a lot this morning about his fighting. He openly says that he’s a “bad fighter,” and it’s something he might need to address this summer by taking boxing lessons. Being a college kid, he never had to fight. He openly admits he hates fighting but knows at 6-8, it’s something he’s going to have to do if he’s going to be a regular in this league.

The Wild will dress the same lineup tonight, meaning Colton Gillies, Peter Olvecky and Kurtis Foster are out.

Coach Jacques Lemaire was asked about all the rumors he may retire after the season. After tossing out a few jokes, Lemaire said, not shockingly, that he, like every season, will take some time off after the season and contemplate his immediate future. He’s got one more year left on his contract. Last year, I thought it was about 80-20 that he’d return. This year, my guesstimate is the opposite.

Although, as I said on KFAN this morning, if Marian Gaborik’s healthy all year, the Wild’s comfortably in the playoffs.

How about New Jersey, folks? I call them the Eastern Conference champions, and whattayaknow, the Devils lose five straight. I guess the win over the Wild was too easy.

Hmmm, I feel like I had other stuff for you, but my mind feels like a cumulus cloud. Off to get my hair cut. If I think of something else, I’ll jump on. Otherwise, talk to you before the game.

    SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild announced today that the team, in conjunction with the American Red Cross – Twin Cities Area Chapter, will be accepting donations at the Xcel Energy Center during the final four home games this season to benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which is assisting people affected by the current floods and winter storms in our area. Red Cross canisters will be located at Guest Services desks throughout the arena, the Community Relations Booth, as well as on the Club and Suite levels beginning tonight when Minnesota hosts Vancouver, and continuing April 3rd vs. Calgary, April 7th vs. Dallas, and April 10th vs. Nashville.  

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