Minnesota Wild Off-Day News and Musings

Feb 17, 2013; St. Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker (16) celebrates after scoring his first career NHL goal during the second period against the Detroit Red Wings at the Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

After beating the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on Sunday night, Minnesota took yesterday to rest and relax, with much of the team recovering from what has been described as flu-like symptoms. With Minnesota’s next game not coming until Thursday night against the Edmonton Oilers, there’s always Wild news, but not necessarily enough to make into a full-blown article. So, today is what I like to call the “Cliff Notes” version of your Minnesota Wild news. So, without further ado, here is the very latest on your Minnesota Wild.

-          Not only is this three-day break a time to rest and heal, it’s also a time for new life, as Pierre-Marc Bouchard and his wife welcomed a baby girl into the world. Ryan Suter and his wife, and Josh Harding and his fiancé, are due anytime as well. Congratulations all around!

-          Mikko Koivu missed practice today because of the flu bug that’s hit the locker room this past week. Mikael Granlund centered the top line with Zach Parise and Dany Heatley in the captain’s stead. However, you can bet Koivu will be back on the top line if he’s feeling better on Thursday.

-          The Star Tribune’s Michael Russo states that, if Bouchard’s healthy (he missed Sunday’s game because of the flu), he’ll likely play on Thursday. Butch historically has dominated the Oilers in the past. If Bouchard comes into the lineup, Johan Larsson would likely come out as a healthy scratch. If so, the young Swedish forward could possibly be sent back to Houston.

-          Niklas Backstrom is feeling better and is almost guaranteed to be the starter against Edmonton—a team no other NHL goaltender has so completely dominated in his career.

-          Head Coach Mike Yeo worked the team hard in practice, putting them through suicides (or “Herbies”, if you prefer) and stressing the importance of fore-checking. With a three-day break, it’s important for Minnesota to get back to the fundamentals and remember the basics. Minnesota needs to play an aggressively physical, yet smart and simple game in order to succeed. Coach Yeo is making sure the team remembers that.

-          Minnesota Wild forward Devin Setoguchi has been fined the maximum amount allowed under the new CBA for a high stick to Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincy. Setoguchi will pay $8,108.11—half a day’s salary according to what he receives now.

-           Finally, Sunday night saw the season debut of Jason Zucker, and the NHL debut of Johan Larsson. Zucker made an explosive play, undressing Valtteri Filppula and sniping one past Detroit’s Petr Mrazek while on a 2-on-1 with Setoguchi. In all honesty, Minnesota hasn’t seen a play like that since the days of Marian Gaborik. Zucker showed that he’s ready to be a full-time NHLer and Emilie Wiener of Hockey Wilderness, and Andrew Ferraro of The Third Intermission, give their opinions about watching one of the Houston Aeros’ baby birds leave the nest with a couple of real neat pieces.

I’m going to leave y’all with the video of Mr. Zucker’s goal because…well…it’s just too darn good not to!

Until the next shift,

Dakota W. Case

Editor, Gone Puck Wild

Topics: Devin Setoguchi, Jason Zucker, Mikko Koivu, Niklas Backstrom, Pierre-Marc Bouchard

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