Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Brian Stensaas of the Star Tribune,
Spit at by Chris Pronger. Challenged to a fight by Chris Simon. Talked contract negotiations with Olli Jokinen.
These aren’t exactly your everyday situations for the casual Wild fan. But for Ben Fagerlie, so it goes….
He has no inside connections, nor does he loiter at visiting team’s hotels to gain a rapport. Rather, for the past six seasons, Fagerlie has watched Wild games from Section 104, Row 2, Seat 8—where only a half-inch-thick piece of tempered glass separates him from opponents in the penalty box.
Two minutes or 10, Fagerlie chirps at players whether they’re interested in what he has to say or not. And he never backs down, withstanding everything from saliva to threats from the millionaires who, for a time, occupy the seat directly to his right.
from Chris Snow at MinnesotaWild.com,
If you did not see them yesterday at Xcel Energy Center, perhaps you heard them, 30 Finns seated at bar rails on the Club level, in uniform (autographed red No. 9 Koivu jerseys) and in unison.
They chanted: “Mikko tekee kohta maalin, Mikko tekee kohta maalin. Eika kukaan sille mitaan voi! Ei voi!”
In English: “Mikko is going to score, Mikko is going to score. And no one can stop him! No one!”
Turns out they were right.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Off the ice, the Wild’s top priority is working on a contract extension for Backstrom, 30, an All-Star goalie who can become a free agent this summer.
“Negotiations are going on,” Leipold said. “We like Nick Backstrom. He’s a great goalie in this league. We want to have him here. He wants to be here. Hopefully we’re going to work it out. That’s really all I know. I would hope that we could get Backstrom signed, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t.”
Backstrom said Friday, “Nothing’s going on. Time will tell.”...
And yes, Leipold still maintains he has high hopes that the Wild can re-sign Gaborik rather than trading him by the March 4 deadline.
“Our only intention was re-signing Gaborik. It is still our only intention,” Leipold said. “Unfortunately the injury caused everything to shut down. It’s our hope that we’ll still re-sign him. I think he’d like to play here. We’re not done yet.”
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Boogaard was especially displeased by his own union chief, Paul Kelly, being quoted in a Canadian Press story, saying: “If it’s a staged fight between two superheavyweights that perhaps arranged it a day before the game, I’m not so sure those are the fights that we need to continue to have in the sport. And if they’re the most dangerous fights, we ought to take a good, hard look at those. ......
Boogaard took exception, especially since he pays his union dues.
“It bothers me a lot,” he said Thursday, adding Kelly’s comments are “kind of comical. He should try and do it then and see how the sales for everything goes. It’s goal scorers and the fighters who really push and drive the revenues, I think. I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but I mean [Marian Gaborik’s] jersey is No. 1 [in Wild sales] and I’m up there, too. I’m pretty sure it’s like that for every other team.”
From the CP via TSN,
The Minnesota Wild will be without veteran forward Owen Nolan when they play the Nashville Predators on Friday.
Nolan skated Thursday but was too sore with what the team is calling upper body muscle spasms. Nolan’s 12 goals this season are just three behind team leader Mikko Koivu despite playing in 19 fewer games.
from Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press,
Owen Nolan plays his best when he’s a little miserable.
That’s an old-school hockey term for someone who plays with an attitude. Someone who is a bit grouchy and mean on the ice. Nolan laughed when that was mentioned after practice on Tuesday.
“It’s just something where I had that chip on my shoulder when I came up,” he said. “I’m too far along to change it.”
Nolan has been a good acquisition for the Wild. After early-season injury problems, he has hit his stride, scoring 12 goals in 31 games
from John Shipley of the Pioneer Press,
The CBC analyst and former coach also referenced an earlier fight with Phoenix’s Keith Yandle, which also drew the ire of Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky. In that fight, Clutterbuck unsnapped his helmet as if to take it off, but when Yandle made no similar move, it stayed on.
So Cherry called Clutterbuck “Buttercup.”
“I just disagree,” Clutterbuck, 21, said. “If you look at the incidents, the first time I asked to take my helmet off and said, ‘No, I’m not going to be the only guy in a fight to take my helmet off.’
“The second time against White, he jumped me from behind, so what do you want? What do you want from me, really — realistically?”
via the Pioneer Press,
The Minnesota Wild have acquired forward Dan Fritsche (FRIHT-chee) from the New York Rangers in exchange for defenseman Erik Reitz, Wild general manager Doug Risebrough announced today.
“Dan is a versatile player who can play center or wing, a determined player who makes the game harder on the opposition, and a winning player — he’s won a Memorial Cup and a World Junior Championship for Team USA,” Risebrough said in a statement from the team.
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
Last March 19, Kurtis Foster’s left femur snapped in half. Three people told Foster it was “the worst break they’ve ever seen in a person’s leg.”
Many people privately were skeptical he would ever play again. He still walks with a limp.
Yet here we are, a little more than nine months later, and the Wild defenseman is close to reporting to Houston for a conditioning stint….
Despite coming so far, Foster believes he is being rushed back by the NHL.
According to Section 13.8 of the collective bargaining agreement, teams are not permitted to send players to the minors on “conditioning loans” for longer than “14 consecutive days.”
Upon Foster’s request, the Wild begged the league to make an exception. The team offered up Foster’s medical records. The team offered to fly Foster to New York to be examined by NHL doctors.
Yet, the league refused to make an exception. If Foster is in Houston one second longer than two weeks, he will have to clear waivers.
from John Shipley of the Pioneer Press (Thursday edition),
Dwayne Roloson is no stranger to the expiring contract. He is playing with one now, just as he did with the Minnesota Wild in 2005-06.
It’s not easy.
“But in that situation,” he said, “you’ve got to block it out the best you can.”
Roloson likely will be in net tonight when the Edmonton Oilers take on the Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. His counterpart will be Niklas Backstrom, who is looking more and more like 2009’s most eligible goaltender….
There’s no doubt Backstrom is the Wild’s top goaltender, yet it appears he’ll play in the Jan. 25 All-Star Game with a contract set to expire in July. Not only has general manager Doug Risebrough declined to discuss his contract situation, he also has declined to even say the Wild want him back.
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.
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