It’s time to drop the puck on the Minnesota Wild’s preseason schedule. Tuesday night at 7 pm the Columbus Blue Jackets come to the Excel Energy Center for both teams preseason opener. This will be a split squad game since the Wild currently have enough players in camp to field two full teams. Look for several of the younger players and newly acquired free agents to be on the ice. Rosters for tonight’s game are at the end of this article. The goal for Minnesota coaches is evaluating young and newly added talent in a game situation. For the young players this is make it or break it time. Players such as Carson McMillan and Mathew Dumba are putting their all on the line trying to crack the opening night roster. There are other veteran player along the lines of Stephane Veilleux and Justin Fontaine who are on two way contracts and would prefer to spend their time in the NHL in Minnesota instead of the AHL in Iowa. For these players these are the most important games of the year. Impress the coaches and staff tonight and your fortunes could change drastically. The veteran players in the line up tonight are working on getting used to new linemates; Mikael Granlund, Jake Dowell and Matt Cooke fall into this category. This is also the first chance Wild fans have to see newly acquired players including Nino Niederreiter, Matt Cooke, Jake Dowell, and Keith Ballard in a Wild jersey in a game situation. There are also several players who are trainging cam invitees trying to play their way into a contract. David Steckel, Corbin Baldwin and Cody Corbett are some of those players. The Blue Jackets are bring just half their team to St. Paul as the other half remains in Columbus hosting the Buffalo Sabres. There will be no Marian Gaborik in the Jackets line up tonight as their roster is loaded with youngsters and some new veterans much the same as the Wild’s. I’ll be back after the game to give a break down of the night’s action and which individual payers had a good or bad night. Once again puck drop is slated for 7pm at the “X”. Fans will also see two new rule changes for this year, one of which may or may not make it to the regular season. For starters the net is now shallower by some 4 inches giving players more room behind the net in which to operate. The second rule change, being tested in preseason, is Hybrid Touch Up Icing. NHL players will vote on weather or not to enact the rule change for the 2013-14 regular season.
Courtesy NHL.com, here’s the official explanation of the rule:
Hybrid icing is a mixture of touch and no-touch icing. It gives a linesman the discretion to blow his whistle and stop the play if he believes a defending player will reach the puck first.
If the linesman believes the attacking player has a chance to reach the puck first, he keeps his whistle in his pocket and lets the race to the puck play out.
The linesman always will side with the defending player and blow his whistle if he feels the race is a tie by the time the players reach the faceoff dots.
According to Wild.com the roster for tonight will include:
Stephane Veilleux – Kyle Brodziak – Torrey Mitchell
Jason Zucker – Mikael Granlund – Justin Fontaine
Matt Cooke – Charlie Coyle – Nino Niederreiter
Jake Dowell – David Steckel – Carson McMillan
Keith Ballard – Mathew Dumba
Marco Scandella – Nate Prosser
Brian Connelly – Jonathon Blum
Niklas Backstrom will get the start with Darcy Kuemper as the back up
The Columbus Blue Jackets will counter with this line up, again from Wild.com:
Jack Skille – Ryan Craig – Cam Atkinson
Blake Comeau – Ryan Johansen – Cody Bass
Michael Chaput – Sean Collins – Kerby Rychel
Mark Letestu – Jake Hansen – Trent Vogelhuber
James Wisniewski – Ryan Murray
Ilari Melart – Will Weber
Cody Goloubef – Blake Parlett
Jeremy Smith and Oscar Dansk
GonePuckWild.com will keep you abreast of all the news involving the Minnesota Wild as we head into the 2013014 NHL regualr season. Until Next time this is Scott Drain chanting, “Let’s Go Wild!”