By Brian Stensaas
The Wild held a short practice this morning down at the Xcel Energy Center, most of which was conducted with the team split into two groups working drills on half a sheet of ice. Translation: not the toughest skate in the world. Easy for me to say, I sat and watched from the comfort of my cushy green chair about 10 rows up
Biggest news to come out of today regards travel. Chuck Kobasew, who injured his knee last night against the Blues, was to have an MRI today and there's little optimism going around about what the results might reveal. Kobasew, obviously, will not be with the team in LA and coach Todd Richards was pretty glum about Kobasew's status going forward.
"In talking with the doctors last night, I'm anticipating it's not going to be great news," Richards said today. "The things he provided our team are going to be really missed. His speed, his energy, going into corners. He's a guy that plays with a lot of courage on the ice."
A Wild communications staffer said he does not expect to have an update on Kobasew until tomorrow. The team has a 2:00 p.m. flight to Los Angeles (Hey, Russo: it's in the 60s today, I'm told) and Kobasew will not be on the flight.
"It's sad to see him go," Eric Belanger said. "He's a valuable player. In the meantime, someone's going to have to step up in his spot and provide for us."
In a bit of uplifting news, Petr Sykora will travel with the team to Southern California, but he will not play. He has yet to be cleared for game competition, still recovering from a concussion sustained Nov. 7. But he can take some contact in practices now, so Richards wanted to bring Sykora along not only to get him back around the team more but so he can participate in drills.
One last funny bit before I get back to finishing up my story for tomorrow's paper about a (somewhat) local kid playing for the Kings:
After rookie Clayton Stoner came off the ice today, he put all of his equipment into his bag then wondered aloud where he should carry it so it would make it onto the plane.
"Don't worry," Nick Schultz said from one locker stall over, "we have guys who do that for you here."
Stoner said in AHL Houston, there are trainers who carry equipment on travel days. But as a courtesy, players often just lug it for them.
Oh - one more thing: if you're upset that Kim Johnsson was left of of Team Sweden's Olympic hockey roster, don't be. After Johnsson was left off the roster , which was announced today, I asked him his feelings. Somewhat baffled, he informed me that he told Sweden's officials this past summer that if they selected him, he'd decline. So there you have it.
OK - off I go. Russo is back with you starting tomorrow and will have the back-to-back with LA and Anaheim covered beautifully.
You haven't heard the last from me, though - I'll be around on here again after the New Year.
Until then, ciao!