Afternoon from Calgary, where the Wild opens the second half tonight against the Flames on Hockey Night in Canada.
9:17 p.m. puck drop, so drink some coffee. I know I will. #noneedforrealignment #sarcasm
Pierre-Marc Bouchard will miss tonight's game with a lower-body injury. Coach Mike Yeo offered no timetable for Bouchard, saying he will be evaluated by doctors when the Wild returns to Minnesota.
Clayton Stoner, who missed five games with a groin injury, will return. So will Greg Zanon, who was scratched last game for the fifth time in 10 games, will return. Justin Falk, who struggled last game with now-demoted Nate Prosser, will be scratched, along with sudden press-box fixture Mike Lundin for the seventh time in eight games.
Niklas Backstrom will start. He's 5-0 in his last six starts in Calgary with a 0.52 goals against average and .984 save percentage. He hasn't been scored on in Calgary in 125 minutes, 17 seconds.
Jarome Iginla is one goal from 500 and is glad it didn't happen in the 9-0 loss at Boston. He was affable as always and funny about not scoring in that game, saying how unfortunate it would have been if he had to hold up the No. 500 puck with a fake half-smile after that beatdown. He's scored 33 times against the Wild, including his milestone 300th.
So get ready. I talked to Iginla this morning about his drive toward 500, so that'll be in Sunday's paper.
I spent the morning talking to players about the realignment kibosh, so I'll have that reaction in Sunday's paper. I also sat down yesterday with GM Chuck Fletcher about his team's struggles of late, so I'll have some comments from him. I talked to him about whether or not he's in the market to make a trade.
I also spent the morning chirping Matt Cullen for my Minnetonka Skippers beating his alma mater, Moorhead, last night.
Cullen finally told Kevin Gorg that "Russo's being a little cocky."
"Oh, the big, bad Skippers beat up the Spuds. Wow. No. 3 in the state. Big vs. litte. David vs. Goliath. Beating up on a small town like that. I mean, how many imports do they have?" Cullen said, sarcastically and laughing.
Darby Hendrickson joined me in the Tonka chirping. Speaking of Cullen, 1,000th game Tuesday. I'm hosting for PA on KFAN on Monday from 9-noon, and one of my guests will be Cullen, where we'll talk about his long career, his Cup championship, Tonka's win over the Spuds.
Actually, I should be nice to Cullen. Even though my cousin, Michael Prochno, plays for Tonka, Michael's brother, Andrew, plays for Cullen's second love, his alma mater, St. Cloud State.
Hopefully you checked out the large midseason package in today's paper.
The Wild opens the second half tonight five points behind Northwest Division- and Western Conference-leading Vancouver (seven if the Canucks hold on to beat the Bruins) and TWO points up on 9th-place place Nashville.
As a supplement to today's midseason package in the paper and on www.startribune.com/wild, here’s a look at some first-half numbers:
Record: 21-14-6 (6th in the West, 4 teams tied with 47 points)
1-Goal Games: 12-4-6
2-goal Games: 6-4
3+-goal Games: 3-6
Scoring First: 8-4-3
Opponent Scoring First: 13-10-3
Leading after 1: 8-1-3
Trailing after 1: 9-8
Leading after 2: 13-0-3
Trailing after 2: 3-11-1
OT record: 5-6
Shootout record: 4-4
Outshooting opponent: 5-5-1
Shots tied: 1-4
vs. Northeast 0-0-1
vs. Atlantic: 1-2-1
vs. Southeast: 1-1
vs. Central: 7-0-3
vs. Pacific: 5-4
vs. Northwest: 7-7-1
Goals per game: 2.22 (29th overall; tied-25th at home, 24th on the road)
Goals against: 2.29 (6th overall; 11th at home, tied-5th on the road)
Power play: 14.8 percent (21st overall; 21st at home; 22nd on the road)
Penalty kill: 84.8 percent (8th overall; 5th at home; tied-17th on the road)
Penalty minutes: 11.9 a game (17th)
5-on-5 for: 58 (29th)
5-on-5 against: 63 (6th)
Goals: Dany Heatley 12, Kyle Brodziak 11, Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Cullen 10
Assists: Mikko Koivu 23, Heatley 15, Cullen, Jared Spurgeon and Pierre-Marc Bouchard 13
Points: Koivu 32, Heatley 27, Cullen 23, Bouchard 22
Plus-Minus: Koivu +10, Clayton Stoner +7
Penalty minutes: Brad Staubitz 66, Clutterbuck 42
Power-play goals: Heatley and Brodziak 4, Devin Setoguchi 3
Power-play assists: Koivu 11, Spurgeon 7
Power-play points: Koivu 12, Heatley 10
Shorthanded goals: Clutterbuck 4, Koivu 1
Even-strength points: Cullen 19, Heatley 17
Game-winning goals: Heatley and Bouchard 3
Shots: Heatley 121, Cullen 89, Koivu and Clutterbuck 88
Faceoff winning pct.: Warren Peters .583, Cullen .544, Koivu .530
Shooting pct.: Guillaume Latendresse .139, Brodziak .131, Setoguchi .123
Time on ice per game: Koivu 21:13, Spurgeon 21:02, Marek Zidlicky 20:59
Games: Niklas Backstrom 27, Josh Harding 16
Wins: Backstrom 12, Harding 7
Shots against: Backstrom 778, Harding 444
Saves: Backstrom 718, Harding 415
Goals allowed: Backstrom 60, Harding 29
Goals against average: Harding 2.03, Backstrom 2.37
Save percentage: Harding .935, Backstrom .923
Minutes: Backstrom 1522:24, Harding 855:54
Unique stat team leaders
Hits: Clutterbuck 154, Darroll Powe 72, Colton Gillies 70
Missed net w/ shot: Heatley 55, Clutterbuck 37
Blocked shots: Nick Schultz 75, Spurgeon and Marco Scandella 56
Points at home: Koivu 18, Cullen and Heatley 13
Points on road: Koivu and Heatley 14
Points vs. division: Heatley 11
Points vs. outside division: Koivu 24, Cullen 17
Shootout goals: Cullen 4 for 8, Koivu 2 for 5
Shifts per game: Schultz 27.9, Mike Lundin 27.8
Fights: Staubitz 8, Matt Kassian and Stoner 3
Minor penalties: Staubitz 12, Clutterbuck and Brodziak 11
Cut deficit to 1: Cullen 4
Tied games: Koivu 6, Heatley 3
1-goal lead: Brodziak and Bouchard 6
2-goal lead: Clutterbuck 3