By Brian Stensaas
Every last member of the Minnesota Wild was on the ice today – including the injured Derek Boogaard, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brent Burns. But before you go thinking this was some sort of April Fool’s Day joke, it was only because today was team picture day. Not that it wasn’t without some follies. John Scott’s jersey was about three sizes too big. And Burns wore just his jersey, breezers and skates. He looked pretty funny with bare legs skating to the photo risers.
Wearing the road whites, players gathered with coaches, management and staff to say cheese for about 40 seconds (and laugh through some fake flatulence) then scattered to continue on with their Wednesdays – which was an off day for most. Just seven players returned to the ice for practice, which was run by Mario Tremblay. Coach Jacques Lemaire was the quickest to leave (I never even saw him downstairs) followed by Owen Nolan. He was plotting with Tom Reid (welcome back!) on where to catch some European Soccer matches this afternoon in St. Paul.
Eric Belanger stuck around the longest, but not by choice. Someone got him good today by filling his black Mercedes with Styrofoam packing peanuts. And when I say filled – I mean filled. He was not a happy camper, and was supposedly looking around for security tapes to catch the culprit(s).
Tremblay also tried an April Fool’s Day joke by filling his hand with some sort of goop and attempted to shake hands with people after practice. Young Colton Gillies was the only one who fell for it.
As you’ll read more about in tomorrow’s paper, this is clearly a group that is not letting last night’s loss get them too bad. Sure, they’re not happy with the overtime loss. But what good does it do to sulk? Though it has the deck stacked against it, the team is not out of the playoff race officially.
Next up, however, is a game Friday with Calgary (the Flames will no doubt be out for blood as they attempt to reclaim the Northwest Division lead) then a trip to defending champion Detroit. Easy? Hardly.
Russo’s back with you for that stretch, beginning with practice tomorrow morning.