Good morning from chilly Edmonton, where my frosty walk around the parking lot barely lasted 20 minutes. I didn't dress for the occasion.
First, here are the links to today's stories:
Here's Wild fan James Engquist talking about getting unknowingly cast into the public limelight when Rick Rypien shockingly grabbed him Tuesday night.
Here's the actual Wild story on wanting to follow up Tuesday's big win with a big two-game road trip.
Last night, Vancouver Sun's Brad Ziemer emailed me reaction from the Canucks to Rypien's suspension. Rypien was unavailable understandably and will be in New York on Friday for a hearing with Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL executive Colin Campbell. Reportedly, GM Mike Gillis and assistant GM, the great Lorne Henning, will accompany Rypien, as well as representatitives from the NHLPA.
Here's some reaction from Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault courtesy of the Vancouver Sun:
-- Gillis on threat of legal action by fan: ""I have no reaction to that. If that's the case we'll deal with it. I wouldn't comment on it anyway if it had begun, because it's a legal matter."
-- Asked if the fan deserves an apology from the Canuck organization: "I know you guys expect things to happen in meteoric fashion, but we are still digesting what occurred, how it occurred and the events leading up to it. We are going to go through that process and we'll act appropriately."
-- On Rypien's state of mind today: "He was reluctant to talk about things, he was trying to consider what had happened and I'm not sure the full impact had been felt yet. He's coming along, we spent a lot of time with him today. Obviously, he regrets what has occurred. But again, it was an unexpected event for everybody so I think until we deal with the league and deal with how they view things, we'll just have to keep our comments to a minimum."
"I can speak for the whole organization, teammates and management and coaches, he is a great young man, has got great principles and values and we are really happy to have him on board with us," Vigneault said of Rypien.
But Vigneault, who has been one of Rypien's staunchest supporters during an up-and-down NHL career, would not comment specifically on the incident or a meeting he and Gillis had with Rypien earlier in the day.
"I think at this time I am going to save my comments until after the league has done their investigation and have come up with a decision," Vigneault said. "Obviously, Mike and I have talked to Ryp this afternoon and we're going to let things unfold. In my case I will comment once this thing is cleared up by the NHL."
Also, if you were following me on Twitter yesterday morning or read today's Wild article, you may know how Ottawa GM Bryan Murray dropped Wild GM Chuck Fletcher's name to reporters in Canada's capital regarding GM's he's talking trade with.
Nothing gigantic is up here, I'm told by many. This is just one of many conversations Fletcher has daily with GM's, and as of right now, I'm told by many people nothing big is brewing with the Wild. Murray is looking for a rugged defenseman.
I corresponded via email with Murray yesterday a few times. Here's a funny line from Murray, who if you knew him you'd know he's dripping with sarcasm: He said he had a friendly conversation with Chuck and is simply "calling around because our team has not played to the level expected. Chuck gave me some advice."
Murray was the longtime GM in Florida and Fletcher was his assistant.
Remember, at this time of year, it is awfully difficult to make a significant trade unless it's for similar money. Many teams are just too close to the cap, so don't expect anything big from the Wild this early. Even last October, when the Wild took on more than $2 million in Chuck Kobasew's salary while giving up no salary in return (pick and a prospect), the Wild simply doesn't have that ability this early (at least for a player that expensive).
If the Wild's taking on significant salary, it'll have to wait until later in the season when the money is more prorated than it is now. Again, this is unless it's a similar cap hit for similar cap hit deal, or exact like last year's Benoit Pouliot for Guillaume Latendresse trade.
Talk to you after the morning skates.