Good afternoon from my recliner! I apologize for the used tissues and cough drop wrappers, but it’s to be expected when you get hit by nearly anything and everything going around this fine fall season. But I digress.
According to the team’s website, the Minnesota Wild have recalled forward Carson McMillan from Iowa of the American Hockey League. The 25-year old 2007 seventh round pick has scored two goals and three assists for five points and a plus-2 rating in 15 career NHL games with Minnesota. He wears sweater No. 45 when playing with Minnesota, but it appears highly unlikely he’ll make his season debut tonight as Zach Parise looks ready to go after leaving yesterday’s practice early with an illness.
A couple big story lines tonight include two teams fighting for their first win of the season, Matt Cullen’s first game against his former team and Jason Zucker’s season debut.
Both Minnesota (0-0-2) and Nashville (0-2-0) have yet to win a game this season–that’ll change for one of these two teams. In a revamped division with several tough teams, a win for Minnesota could bump them into a four-way tie with St. Louis, Colorado and Winnipeg. A loss keeps them in the cellar–which is still very shallow considering how young the season is–and only frustrates the fan base even more.
In the meantime, Cullen will play his first game against Minnesota after playing three seasons in the Red, White and Green. Will he come out trying to prove it was a mistake not to re-sign him or will he be sucked into Nashville’s anti-offensive pro-defensive vacuum?
Tonight is also the debut of one Mr. Jason Zucker. After scoring the overtime game-winning goal against Chicago in Game Three of Minnesota’s 2013 Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup with the Blackhawks, Zucker would be the final cut from the Wild roster in training camp this season. A week afterwards, Minnesota would lose No. 2 center Charlie Coyle for three to four weeks to a knee sprain and Zucker would find himself once again in the great hockey city of St. Paul. He’ll make his season debut on the second line with two-time 50-goal scorer Dany Heatley, new pivot Mikael Granlund and large amounts of high expectations from around the fan base resting on his shoulders. Needless to say, this is a big night for the young forward. Keep your eyes on this guy.
The biggest story line of the night, however, is the top defensive pairing matchup of 6’1″ Minnesota lefties Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin against hulking 6’4″ Nashville righties Shea Weber and Seth Jones. With a concussion sustained by Weber’s defensive partner Roman Josi, Jones–who started out on the third pairing with Mattias Ekholm–has been bumped up to the top pairing. Supposedly Jones and Weber haven’t played much together even in practice, and Jones will play left-side to accommodate Weber in a move I find surprising in the fact that usually the veteran does the accommodating to ease the rookie’s transition. This matchup is going to be a fun one to watch.
Be sure to check back after the game for Scott’s game recap.
Follow Dakota Case at Twitter.com/Dakota_case