Training camp

Harding update; Wild 3, Sabres 2

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Russo back. Sorry for the lame blogging today. I am under the weather and sedated :)

Scary incident tonight when Martin Skoula and Dylan Hunter were in a stick battle as they cut through the crease. Skoula’s blade squeezed through Josh Harding’s cat eyehole. He threw off his helmet and went down in visible pain, or maybe panic, because of where that stick clipped.

He was taken to a local hospital for precautionary measures, and the Wild is saying he has a right eye abrasion.

I was talking to a couple Wild scratched players afterward up here in the press box, and they say that’s why the cat eye helmet is not permitted in college and juniors. Remember, a few years back, a puck actually got lodged in Brian Boucher’s mask.

Brent Burns (elbow surgery) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard (back) made their preseason debuts tonight. Burns scored a shorthanded goal, which became the winning goal when Andrej Sekera scored two clicks left. Bouchard had a marvelous assist on an Owen Nolan redirection, one of those shot passes to Nolan at the side of the net.

Burns’ shorthanded goal was funny. He wasn’t supposed to be on the ice, but the referee made him stay after a long line change. So the Wild had three defensemen on the ice — Burns, Skoula and Erik Reitz. Mikko Koivu was the lone forward.

So Burns played forward at the other side, poked a Buffalo pass by Jason Pominville and out of the zone. It created a 2-on-1 with Koivu, but Burns’ centering feed deflected in off veteran Teppo “Hello” Numminen. (Seinfeld’s funny).

OK, I really have to go sleep; I have an early-morning flight to Columbus in the morning. Stencils will update you after practice.

By the way, here’s yet another Tyler Cuma note I had to trim out of second edition:

Lemaire continues to sing the praises of 18-year-old defenseman Tyler Cuma, who got a third straight preseason game Wednesday.

The coach says this training camp will go a long way toward giving Cuma confidence this season back in the Ontario Hockey League, but more importantly, in future training camps for the Wild.

“This kid knows the game,” Lemaire said. “You can see it all the time. He’s always in good position. He’s got a natural instinct for the game. Good skater, mobile, good with the puck.

“He needs to grow up a bit, be stronger, but you know what’s a great sign? The more he plays, he keeps playing well.”

Wild trims roster to 31; Sabres at Wild

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Two more have been dispatched for AHL Houston — Ryan Hamilton and Petr Kalus.

The roster is down to 31, but that’s really 29 because it includes injured Kurtis Foster and extra goalie Barry Brust.

Same lineup as reported last night for tonight’s Buffalo game — Brent Burns and Pierre-Marc Bouchard making their preseason debuts.

Here we go. First period

Pouliot playing wing with Koivu and Brunette.

1-0, 5:23. The checking line scores. Antti Miettinen scores after Stephane Veilleux wheels around the net and centers a pass for James Sheppard, who set up Miettinen.

2-0 Nolan incredible pass from Butch.

Then at 6:28 left, Brent Burns is playing forward on the PK. He tips a puck past Jason Pominville for a 2-on-1. His crossing pass to Koivu was knocked in by defenseman Teppo Numminen.

Wild up 3-0 after 1, being outshot 12-5.

Period 2:

5:36 left, Buffalo cuts it to 3-1. Antti Miettinen passed to Craig Weller, but he was going for a chance. Daniel Paille took Toni Lydman’s long pass and ripped it by Harding.

3rd period (Stenzie taking over live  blogging for a medicated Russo)

Three Buffalo penalties in the first 4:57 of the period. Wild on a long power play.

Belanger missed a golden opportunity on an open net to Miller’s left side – and Sabres kill all the penalties.

12:22 remaining, Harding gets the blade of Skoula’s stick (which was lifted by a Buffalo player) through his mask, goes down in a heap in obvious pain. Trainer on the ice tending to the right side of Harding’s face. Backstrom in; Wild on penalty kill after a scrum.

10:38 remaining Burns and Drew Stafford in a mini- tussle – not a fight. Vanek and Nolan also get minors.

1:25 to go Wild goal by Kolanos waved off for goalie interference.

3-2 game.  1.1 seconds to go, Buffalo scores.


Wild 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT); Burns, Bouchard expected to play Wednesday; Wild lineup vs. Buffalo; Bergeron breaks nose; Tons of notes

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Wild making cuts. Petr Kalus is at least one.

So, I drove everybody at the Star Tribune nuts tonight, even nuttier than normal at least.

I almost created a major catastrophe at work. At least, it would have been for the Twins crew in Chicago if the game didn’t end earlier.

At 9:37 p.m., I called our slot guy, Kevin Bertels, to check in my file-at-the-gun story for tomorrow’s first edition. I then proceeded to redial Bertels 12 times from 9:37-10:05. But like I told him, according to my call log, I gave him an eight-minute breather from 9:42-9:50, so what’s the big deal, right?

OK, first things first, Marc-Andre Bergeron needs to just play hockey. I don’t think the Wild acquired him to fight. I think it acquired him to take that Brian Rolston-like slap shot of his.

You have to admire Bergeron’s guts, but tonight, he got into his third fight in three games, and Kyle Beach taught Bergeron a lesson his broken nose won’t soon forget.

Three fights in three games! Want to know how many fights he had since 2003? ZERO!!!

Bergeron’s only NHL fight came during his rookie year in 2002-03. Jacques gave it to Bergeron for fighting, but he also said Beach was looking for it, and if he wants to fight again, he’s got a man named Boogey who would be more than happy to oblige.

Stephane Veilleux scored two tonight, one to force overtime, one to win overtime with 23.9 ticks left. Veilleux said he doesn’t think he’s ever gotten an overtime shift from Jacques Lemaire before, so maybe he made a case.

He’s flying this preseason. Remember, he served as his own agent this summer, and the more and more quotable Nik Backstrom quipped after, “As an agent, it’s easier to sell a goal scorer.”


Blackhawks at Wild

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Coming to you live from the Xcel Energy Center press box, where I’m wondering if they’re going to put just one of these plethora of TVs on the Twins game!

Tyler Cuma was working on his sticks for 25 minutes before the game in the Wild runway. He had his headphones on listening to his iPod like the other night. James Sheppard sprinted down the runway in an attempt to scare the bejeezus out of the kid.

I guess 18-year-old Cuma’s the only guy on the team 19-year-old James Sheppard can torment.

Sheppard then had a long conversation with Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks’ young captain, on the other bench as Toews worked on his stick.

Update on Bob Kurtz’s passport, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, look at the initial blog from Buffalo.

But the Chicago Blackhawks brought Kurtz’s passport from to Chicago to Minnesota, only they left it on the plane. So Kevin Falness has now been upgraded from questionable to probable to call the game from Montreal.




Clutterbuck in for Bouchard tonight (updated)

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s back will keep him out of his fourth exhibition game tonight. He has yet to play in the preseason. Cal Clutterbuck will pinch hit.

All guys on waivers cleared. Mojzis, Kolanos, Brust and Scott will remain on the team but can be sent to Houston at any time without repercussions.

Martin Havlat making his preseason debut for Chicago tonight.

As Hawks asst. coach John Torchetti quipped, “This is where it ended for him. And this is where it starts for him.”

Remember, Havlat’s injury-plagued 2007-08 started Opening Night last year (I think I said preseason the other day, but I misremembered, as they say) when he separated his shoulder during a scrum in front of Nik Backstrom. 

Marian Gaborik making his preseason debut for Minnesota tonight. Gaborik and Havlat have a chance to be two of the top unrestricted free agents next summer.

Anything else?

Colton Gillies is missing a tooth courtesy of a Brian Campbell elbow from the game in Chicago the other night.

Brent Burns and Keith Carney — the protege and mentor — had a nice long talk on the Wild bench this morning. Turns out Carney’s renting his Woodbury house to Owen Nolan.

OK that’s it for now. Work to do.

Gaborik expected to play against Chicago; 15 players cut; others on waivers

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Just landed in the Twin Cities.

The Wild has reassigned 14 players to AHL Houston: center Corey Locke, center Bryan Lundbohm, center Peter Olvecky, center Morten Madsen, center Marco Rosa, left wing Matt Kassian, left wing Jason Ryznar, right wing Jesse Schultz and defensemen Paul Albers, Maxim Noreau, Brandon Rogers and Clayton Stoner and goalies Anton Khudobin and Nolan Schaefer.

Marco Scandella was returned to his Quebec League team, Val d’Or.

Call from source. Wild has placed Tomas Mojzis, Krys Kolanos, Corey Locke, Peter Olvecky, Jesse Schultz, John Scott, Bryan Lundbohm, Clayton Stoner, Nolan Schaefer and Barry Brust on waivers.

As you can tell, Mojzis, Kolanos, Scott and Brust haven’t been sent to Houston yet, but if they clear 24-hour waivers, their path is probably set. You can clear waivers and still stick around for 30 days, however, it appears Erik Reitz and Benoit Pouliot will be on the team. Although, Tom Lynn says nothing is set in stone. Others still vying for spots include Colton Gillies, Cal Clutterbuck and Danny Irmen. Petr Kalus is still around, too.

The roster is down to 33. The max can be 23.

Also, Marian Gaborik (quad) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard are expected to play tomorrow against Chicago. Brent Burns (elbow) and Marek Zidlicky (leg) are not expected to play. FYI: Tom Lynn says it’s subject to change with Bouchard playing.

And defenseman Tyler Cuma earned another game.

Here’s the roster: Veilleux, Brunette, Boogaard, Gillies, Kolanos, Koivu, Pouliot, Sheppard, Kalus, Gaborik, Bouchard, Miettinen, Skoula, Schultz, Scott, Cuma, Mojzis, Bergeron, Backstrom, Harding.