Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
General Manager Doug Risebrough made it clear this weekend that, in his mind, Marian Gaborik will be the biggest acquisition the Wild makes by Wednesday’s trade deadline.
Risebrough said Gaborik, who has played six games all season, is right on schedule in his rehabilitation from left hip surgery. Even if it means the pending unrestricted free agent walks away this summer for nothing, Risebrough said he probably won’t trade Gaborik.
“[Gaborik’s] further along than we thought he was going to be,” Risebrough said. “So, I don’t know what that means other than I know it’s going to be a big shot in the arm for us when he comes back.
“And that’s one consideration when you ask, ‘How comfortable are you [with this team]?’ I’m planning on [Gaborik returning].”
From Michael Russo at the Star Tribune:
Thomas Royea is 15 years old. He’s only a sophomore in high school, so trust the hockey player when he says he wishes he hadn’t broken his femur.
But one special thing came from it. “It’s not every day a kid gets a call from an NHL player,” Royea said.
Royea, who lives in the small northern Michigan town of Negaunee, is a diehard Detroit Red Wings fan, but he’s now a Kurtis Foster fan for life.
*thanks to a KK reader for passing this on
Craig Custance of Sporting News Today recently conducted an interview with Wild owner Craig Leipold.
Leipold says Gaborik is making great strides with his rehab and is confident Marian will be part of the playoff run for the Wild.
Read the interview here which include numerous hockey topics…
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
Backstrom said negotiations are being conducted between the Wild and his agent, Don Baizley.
“I haven’t talked to Don since last weekend, so I don’t know what’s going on,” Backstrom said. “We play so many games, and I want to stay focused on helping our team win. All I can say is I think they’re talking. There’s something going on, but I don’t know what that means.”..
In the last year of his contract, Backstrom can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. If he isn’t signed by Wednesday’s trade deadline, he’s a candidate to be traded because the Wild would risk losing him this summer for no compensation.
“I don’t know if you think about that,” Backstrom said. “I want to be here. I’m focused on just wanting to be here. We’ll see what happens. But for sure, you hope you can stay here at least the rest of the season.”
from John Shipley of the Pioneer Press,
Defenseman Kurtis Foster is officially back with the Wild, nearly a year after breaking his leg in San Jose.
“My time in Houston was a fun time, but I’m excited to be back with the team and back on the ice — hopefully tomorrow,” he said.
During a two-week rehab assignment in Houston, Foster had a goal and five assists, helping the Aeros go 6-0.
It will be hard cracking the Wild’s defense, however.
added 4:44pm, Also from Shipley,
Wild winger Owen Nolan has a fractured toe and is out indefinitely, the team said today.
“In two or three days, when the swelling goes down, we’ll know more,” assistant general manager Tom Lynn said.
Because Andrew Brunette (knee) was able to practice today, and Colton Gillies has recovered from the flu, the Wild likely will not call a forward up from Houston for Tuesday night’s game against Los Angeles.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
Rene Bourque’s dream season won’t likely include a 30-goal milestone.
Right now, the Flames forward is just hoping to be back in action sooner than later.
Bourque scored his 21st goal of the season last night in the club’s 3-2 overtime win, but was knocked from the game in the second period with an ankle injury, assessed to be a high-ankle sprain….
Head coach Mike Keenan said Fritsche slew-footed Bourque on the play.
“Not only didn’t he get a call on it, he got a shorthanded goal,” Keenan said. “It was a disappointment, in terms of the officials just didn’t see it. We watched it on tape, which is always easier than live action.
“He’s got a very damaged ankle now. He’s going to be gone for a long time.”
more and the video below is not the best, but it does show Fritsche and Bourque colliding.
from Let’s Play Hockey,
As a group, fans of the Minnesota Wild take their hockey seriously. They’re a knowledgeable and passionate bunch. It appears, however, that some followers of the NHL franchise have taken their love for the Wild and the game of hockey a bit too far.
According to reports out of the Xcel Energy Center, fan Chris Lagasse (Crookston, Minn.) received a healthy dose of verbal harassment from a sizable group of die-hard Wild fans at a recent game at the St. Paul arena. Reportedly, Lagasse had to ask for security assistance from ushers in the second period of the Valentine’s Day game vs. Ottawa when a group of fans heckled the 24-year-old graphic designer for tucking in his replica Derek Boogaard jersey.
“My wife and I were enjoying the game when out of nowhere this group of fans in our section started yelling at me to untuck my jersey,” Lagasse said. “They were merciless. They had half the upper deck chanting, ‘Untuck your jersey,’ followed by the familiar ‘clap, clap, clap-clap-clap.’”
from Russo’s Rants,
Marian Gaborik is skating, Risebrough said, and Risebrough maintains that he expects Gaborik to eventually return to the Wild’s lineup, not somebody else’s. However, Risebrough said Gaborik has a big physical that he must pass March 3 in order to really ramp up his training. You know me by now. I’m a conspiracy theorist. I find it interesting that 1) Risebrough knows the date because he normally lets Tom Lynn handle details about most everything and 2) March 3 is one day before the trade deadline. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence, eh?
Risebrough did his best to lower expectations for any “magical trade deadline” move for a scorer. Risebrough said, grinning, “He’s recovering,” meaning Gaborik.
more on the Wild…
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
In an unprecedented meltdown that had coach Jacques Lemaire screaming mad in the postgame news conference, the Wild lost at home after leading by three goals for the first time in history as the Ottawa Senators stormed back for a 5-3 victory….
“We get up three goals in the first period and basically just disrespected the other team,” said veteran Owen Nolan, who scored two goals and an assist early in what looked like a destined Wild rout. “We thought the game was in hand, and they came out ready to work the next two periods and they gave it to us.
“There’s no reason for the outcome.”
Not only did the Wild slip to 10th in the West, it doesn’t play again until Thursday, meaning the top eight will surely distance itself. And when the Wild returns to action, it plays third-place Calgary, second-place Detroit and fourth-place Chicago.
more & watch Lemaire’s post-game press conference below…
via John Shipley of the Pioneer Press,
There were 11 NHL scouts at Wednesday night’s game, including four from the Boston Bruins. Also represented were San Jose, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Montreal.
Wild general manager Doug Risebrough has expressed a willingness to deal from his team’s strength, defense, to shore up its weakness, offense.
Outside of Brent Burns, one of the Wild’s untouchable young core, the Minnesota defenseman that would bring the most in a trade is probably veteran Kim Johnsson, who has one more year on a deal at a salary cap hit of $4.85 million.
Johnsson played a team-high 21:41 Wednesday.
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.
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