Wild won’t name captain yet; Bouchard still not 100 percent; Weller, Smith clear waivers

Posted on September 29th, 2009 – 12:24 PM
By Michael Russo

Update: Craig Weller reassigned to Houston. Nathan Smith stays as of now. He’s an extra tonight, unless Bouchard can’t play. Derek Boogaard and Benoit Pouliot have been placed on injured reserve. 

Good Tuesday to you. This would have been up sooner if not for my Internet crashing at this same hotel for about the 10th time in my life. You’d think I’d live and learn, but … I can promise you I’ll remember when the Wild returns to Philly later this year.

Biggest news from the morning skate was that coach Todd Richards told me he won’t name a captain before the season. He says the decision is too important and he’ll evaluate as the season starts. This obviously has a lot to do with Mikko Koivu and Andrew Brunette — the two frontrunners — being hurt for most of training camp and only playing their first games tonight against the Big, Bad Flyers.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard is a game-time decision. He told me after the skate he’s still not feeling well and will give it a try in warmups. Asked again if he’s still concerned he may have a concussion, Bouchard, who missed the last eight games of last season with a concussion, said, “I don’t know. They still say it’s flu symptoms, so we’ll see how it goes tonight.”

Brent Burns haD flu symptoms, too, last year.

If Bouchard plays, Nathan Smith and Jaime Sifers look to be the scratches tonight.

Craig Weller and Smith did clear waivers.

Most notable players on waivers this morning are defensemen — Tampa’s Mike Lundin and Vancouver’s Brad Lukowich. Pittsburgh Penguins on waivers include Ryan Bayda, Paul Bissonnette, Chris Conner, Deryk Engelland and Nate Guenin. I only include them because of the Pens history with Chuck Fletcher and Todd Richards.

Other notables include Florida’s Jeff Taffe, Washington’s Chris Bourque, New Jersey’s Rob Davison, Phoenix’s Ryan Hollweg and Atlanta’s Nathan Oystrick.

Here are the anticipated lines tonight:

Appears as if the lines tonight will be:

Brunette-Koivu-Havlat
Nolan-Bouchard-Sykora
Miettinen-Sheppard-Clutterbuck
Scott-Belanger-Brodziak

Schultz-Johnsson
Zanon-Burns
Hnidy-Zidlicky

Obviously, subject to change.

One other tidbit: When the players return to Minnesota, they’ll have all new locker stalls. Richards gave instructions on where players will sit, wanting the D to be together, forwards together, vocal guys in the middle, etc, etc

From the Wild, here’s the Home Opener Festivities:

MINNESOTA WILD ANNOUNCES OPENING NIGHT FESTIVITIES
WILD OPENS HOME SCHEDULE TUESDAY, OCT. 6 AGAINST ANAHEIM DUCKS
 
    SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild today announced the schedule of events for its 2009-10 Home Opener against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Face-off is slated for 8:15 p.m. and Xcel Energy Center gates will open at 6:30 p.m.
 
    The game will be broadcast live on KSTC-TV, Channel 45 in high definition and on WCCO Radio 830 AM. KSTC-TV, Channel 45 will air a live Wild Country pre-game show starting at 7:30 p.m. WCCO Radio’s Michele Tafoya will broadcast live from Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. and Mike Max will broadcast live from inside the Xcel Energy Center from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. leading up to the Wild pre-game show.
 
    The team will hold a Wake-Up Rally from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. outside the Xcel Energy Center on both sides of Kellogg Boulevard. Fans can stop by and receive a muffin, coffee, Coke products and a team wall calendar. The WCCO Morning News with Dave Lee will broadcast live from the Wake-Up Rally from 5:00 to 9:00 a.m.
 
    The team will also host a Pre-Game Party starting at 5:30 p.m. on the top floor of the RiverCentre Parking Ramp. Activities will include live music, food and beverages and interactive hockey games. The pre-game party is free and open to the public.
 
    Minnesota is 7-0-1 all-time in Home Openers, winning its last seven overall. All fans attending Tuesday’s game will receive a Minnesota Wild wall calendar presented by Wells Fargo, FOX Sports North and Xcel Energy.
 
    Great seats are still available for all Minnesota Wild home games including the Home Opener against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 8:00 p.m. Call 651-222-WILD or visit Wild.com to get tickets today.

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