Good afternoon from Dallas.
It's been just a crazy travel delay starting at 3:15 a.m. Then flight delays, the morning skate, errands (yes, I had errands to do in Dallas) and working ahead on a few stories, so that's the cause for the late blog.
Hopefully you follow me on Twitter so you know this already (www.twitter.com/russostrib), but Mikko Koivu will miss his 11th game tonight and Cal Clutterbuck will miss his fourth due to the injury Don Cherry says he didn't get.
This is Clutterbuck's first head injury since junior and he says he has a feeling of "helplessness" and "frustration" right now. He'd love to bandage it up and play, but that is not possible with this injury.
He did skate and shoot pucks for awhile this morning, and he said it's the best he's felt since getting hurt in the Islanders game. But it's not there yet.
Same with Koivu, who shot and passed pucks for awhile today. But he too said "it is what it is" and is extremely frustrated. But he just isn't ready to play yet.
Hopefully the Wild's still alive and kicking by the time he is.
The Wild hasn’t held a lead in Dallas in the last seven games, last leading Feb. 6, 2007, when it took a 2-0 first-period lead before falling 4-2. That was the game Mark Parrish scored to make it 3-0, but the video goal judge must have been doing a crossword or something. Then, the Stars rallied in a couple Martin Skoula gaffes, if I remember correctly
Horrible loss last night. This is a must-rebound game.
What else? Dennis Endras' signing is just a paper transaction. Remember, that two-year deal was agreed to last summer. But there were a few modifications to the qualifying offer and the contract was finally turned into the league.
Wild has Matt Hackett and will likely sign Darcy Kuemper. So that's Houston. My guess is the Wild signs an experienced backup (Jose Theodore or likely another because Theodore wants and should be a No. 1) and Endras compete for the No. 2. If Endras isn't good enough, he'd likely be loaned back to a German team. Endras, from all the people I've talked to over there, has had a poor season after a very good start.
Richards talked more about Brent Burns today. He said the Wild wouldn't be fighting for a playoff spot without him and never doubts his "want," but he's got to simplify his game.
"Right now he’s just a bit off in his game. It’s how do we get him back on top of his game," Richards said.
Staying out of the box is a big thing they're looking for him to do, but like the first goal last year, he has a tendency to stop when the other team is rushing. And then if he doesn't get the puck, it's a massive problem. They're trying to rid that from his game.
By the way, expect a lot of dumping of the puck from the Wild tonight. Dallas plays it tight in the neutral zone and the Wild need to do a better job getting the puck deep and getting a good forecheck going.