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Category: Minnesota-Wild

Eric Staal Quite The UFA Pickup By The Minnesota Wild

from Dan Mizutani of the Pioneer Press,

Heading into Thursday night’s game against the Boston Bruins at Xcel Energy Center, Staal has been the Wild’s top center through the season’s first month and leads the Wild with 5 goals and 13 points in 15 games.

That’s one-third of his total production last season, when he split time between the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers.

“I think being put in a position to play to my strengths has been key,” said Staal, who has 10 points over his last 10 games. “I came into the summer looking for an opportunity to show what I can do and play to the strengths of my game. And I came in here knowing there was an opportunity.

“No matter who I was (linemates) with, I was going to be playing with some pretty good players in a role that I’m comfortable and confident in.”

Staal came to Minnesota after Fletcher passed on top-tier forwards such as Okposo, Backes, Milan Lucic, Loui Eriksson, Andrew Ladd and Mikkel Boedker — the consensus cream of the free-agent crop last summer after Steven Stamkos re-upped early with Tampa Bay.

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  Tags: eric+staal

Everyone Is Contributing For The Minnesota Wild

from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,

One reason why Bruce Boudreau believes his teams have perennially cut losing streaks off instantaneously is because of “short-term goals.”

“Win the week” is his every-week mantra. So after a crummy 0-1-1 start to this East Coast trek for the Wild, “Win the week” is what he unremittingly told players.

Thursday night, Devan Dubnyk and the Wild ended the trip in perfect fashion.

After shutting out the Boston Bruins two nights earlier, Dubnyk and the Wild shut out the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 at KeyBank Center.

“Everyone stepped up. Everyone played well. It was a good team effort tonight,” said defenseman Ryan Suter, who scored a goal and had an assist and took the brunt of Marco Scandella’s minutes after he suffered a lower-body injury....

“Us D-men, everyone just stepped up,” Dumba said. “I’ve known I could play like this. Just getting these minutes, it’s awesome.”

The Wild ranks second in the NHL with 28 goals. Scandella, Nate Prosser and Christian Folin each had an assist, meaning all 20 Wild skaters have a point. A league-best 16 players have a goal.

“That’s how we have to win,” Suter said of the balanced scoring. “We don’t have the superstars. We need everybody on the team participating.”

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Watch the game highlights below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Are The Minnesota Wild A Better Team With Bruce Boudreau In Charge?

from Joe McDonald of ESPN,

It's still too early to see whether the changes will work in Minnesota. The Wild enters Tuesday's game against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden with a 3-2-1 record.

"Hard to make what kind of team they are [this early]," said one Western Conference scout. "They've had slow starts and their first periods have been awful, but they seem to wake up and play pretty well. They're scoring goals but need to give up fewer than they are. [It's a ] funny team right now and I'm not sure what you'll see from game-to-game."

In the locker room and on the ice, the players are still getting used to Boudreau's system and personality.

"It's been a great transition. It's been a lot of fun around the rink, around the room," said Wild forward Zach Parise. "As a team, there's still a lot we need to get better at, but we're seeing it in spurts throughout games. The closer we can get to doing it more consistently, and more often throughout a game, it's going to translate into more wins for us. It takes work and we've got to continue to get better and keep learning. But, in the long run, it's going to make us a better team."

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Bad ‘Move’ For Bruce Boudreau

from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,

"August 7, no furniture. No furniture on August 8, no furniture on August 9," Bruce Boudreau said. "We can't get hold of anybody from the moving company. On August 10, we finally do, and they say, 'We've had some truck trouble, we will be there August 13.' "

Crystal slept on the floor of their empty new home while, said Bruce, "I'm having the time of my life in Mississippi, telling Crystal with every call, 'I'm sorry, honey.' "

Crime scene

Aug. 13 came, and two trucks pulled up. What happened to the other truck? Boudreau said they were told, "It got into an accident, rolled over, hit a tree and everything's destroyed."

After some digging, the Boudreaus ascertained the accident occurred in Stokes County, N.C., on July 25; and they found out for the first time Aug. 13.

"Crystal's losing it because one-third of two houses is gone," Boudreau said. "We're basically getting half-broken furniture. We lost five big-screen TVs, a bubble hockey game, popcorn makers, tables. My wife used to run a business, they called her the Chocolate Lady. The chocolate fountain was destroyed. So much stuff, pictures, lots of pictures, all the frames destroyed.

"And, we swear, they stored the stuff outside because there's mold from rain on the boxes."

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Conversation With Bruce Boudreau Convinced Chris Stewart To Return To The Minnesota Wild

from Dane Mizutani of the Pioneer Press,

Stewart, who signed a two-year, $2.3 million contract this offseason, wasn’t shy about saying he wanted to re-sign with the Wild last offseason. The Wild couldn’t afford him, though, and he ended up playing for the Anaheim Ducks on a one-year deal.

“I wanted to come back (to Minnesota), and the business side never worked out,” Stewart said. “So I had a chance to come back here and I couldn’t wait.” Stewart said there weren’t any hard feelings, but a call from new Wild coach Bruce Boudreau this offseason helped in his decision to return.

“I talked to him a couple days before July 1 and as soon as I had that conversation I knew right away that this was the spot for me,” said Stewart, who played for Boudreau with the Ducks last season.  “He’s the fastest coach ever to 400 wins, and there’s a reason for that. He’s going to bring that sense of swagger that’s going to rub off on the team.”

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  Tags: chris+stewart

A Two-Year Contract For Jason Zucker In Minnesota

via the Minnesota Wild,

Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has re-signed restricted free agent Jason Zucker pronounced (ZOOK-ER) to a two-year, $4 million contract worth $2 million in both 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Zucker, 24 (1/16/92), tallied 23 points (13-10=23) in 71 games with Minnesota last season and set career highs in games played, assists, penalty minutes (20), shots (158), hits (83), takeaways (40), blocked shots (33) and TOI/game (15:35). The 5-foot-11, 185-pound native of Newport Beach, Calif., ranked second on the team in takeaways and sixth in shots. Zucker added two assists in six playoff contests. He owns 61 points (42-19=61) in 169 career NHL games in parts of five seasons with the Wild. Zucker was originally selected by Minnesota in the second round (59th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

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  Tags: jason+zucker

Chuck Fletcher Working On Improving His Team

from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,

The Wild has had trade talks with the Edmonton Oilers about center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, although all Oilers skilled forwards not named Connor McDavid are also said to be in play. The Oilers appear to want right-shot Matt Dumba and other pieces, including next year’s second-rounder. The problem is the Wild no longer owns that pick.

Fletcher, after trading scores of second-round picks since 2013 and seeing second-rounders Brett Bulmer and Raphael Bussieres flame out, is hesitant to mortgage the future further anyway.

“I can understand the fans’ frustration, but you have to make the right deal,” said Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, Fletcher’s former Harvard pal, referring to his fan base and not talking about the Wild specifically. “I’m having lots of discussions. It’s hard to get a No. 1 defenseman. … As I’ve said, I’d prefer a right-shot defenseman. That’s what I’m focusing on....

It’s also believed the Wild has talked to the Rangers about center Derek Stepan and the Arizona Coyotes about veteran center Martin Hanzal and prospect Christian Dvorak.

But with Saturday’s start to the free-agent courting period, Fletcher has begun contacting agents to gauge interest. Free agency opens Friday.

Part of Fletcher would prefer that path because it makes him sick to have to trade a Dumba or Jonas Brodin. But the other part of Fletcher knows that he has gotten into trouble signing free agents in the past.

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Buy Out A Possibility For Thomas Vanek

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

The Wild has about $9 million of salary cap space with only 15 players signed. If the Wild needs more space, which is very likely, a league source said Thursday that Fletcher has informed veteran Thomas Vanek’s agent that he may need to buy out the final year of Vanek’s contract by Thursday’s deadline.

That would free up $5 million.

“There’s been no final decision, but it’s certainly under consideration,” the source said. Fletcher, too, admitted that earlier this week.

There’s no doubt the Wild’s looking for a forward, preferably a center. The cost could be a young defenseman like Jonas Brodin or Marco Scandella, who are signed to lucrative long-term deals, or restricted free agent Matt Dumba.

“This is something that could linger through the summer or even into the fall. I think there’s going to be other opportunities this year for different reasons to make changes at a later date,” said Fletcher, referring to teams either eclipsing the cap ceiling this summer and having to later get compliant or having to set the table for next summer’s expansion draft.

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added 3:11pm,

 

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  Tags: thomas+vanek

Scott Stevens Named Assistant Coach For The Minnesota Wild

from the Minnesota Wild,

The Minnesota Wild has named Scott Stevens an Assistant Coach.

Stevens most recently served as an analyst for NHL Network. He returns to coaching after being named a co-coach for the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 27, 2014, and serving two seasons (2012-14) as an assistant coach for the Devils. The defenseman spent 13 of his 22 NHL seasons with New Jersey and captained the team to three Stanley Cup Championships (1995, 2000, and 2003). The Kitchener, Ont., native was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 12, 2007.

continued

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  Tags: scott+stevens

The Stanley Cup Is The Goal For Bruce Boudreau In Minnesota

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

Bruce Boudreau's career returned to the exact spot it started.

The new Wild coach arrived at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday for his introductory news conference and sat at center ice in the building that replaced the old St. Paul Civic Center, where he made his professional debut for the Minnesota Fighting Saints in 1975.

One week after first interviewing for the job, Boudreau signed a four-year, $10.5 million contract (plus playoff bonuses). He got a first glimpse at his new office, toured his new locker room and met his new trainers and staffers. Wild players Erik Haula, Mike Reilly and Justin Fontaine attended the news conference and already, Boudreau joked, began campaigning for ice time. And Boudreau reunited and posed for pictures with former teammates Henry Boucha, Pat Westrum and Ted Hampson while holding a royal blue, white and gold Fighting Saints jersey.

"I told my wife [Crystal], 'This is the last place I'm going,'" said the 61-year-old Boudreau, who coached the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks to eight division titles in nine years and is the fastest coach in NHL history to eclipse 400 wins. "I told my wife I'm going to stay here for as long as they want me, and I hope it's a long time.

"Hopefully I can help in some form bring a Stanley Cup to this state and to this city, or these two cities."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bruce+boudreau

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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