Good afternoon from hot and humid Minneapolis, where I think the rain is a comin' judging by the thunder. And the black clouds.
You can't get one past me, I'm telling you.
I'll be on 1500 ESPN at 5:05 p.m., by the way, with Howard Stern Jr. -- aka Star Tribune sports columnist extraordinaire Jim Souhan.
Just got back from Xcel Energy Center, where there was a scrimmage of Wild prospects who put on a show for some season-ticket holders. Green beat white 5-4. Huge upset, wouldn't you say?
Sunday at 11 a.m. (doors open at 10:30), the general public is welcome for a second free scrimmage as the white team, which blew a late 4-3 lead, looks to redeem itself and leave development camp with their heads held high.
Just an fyi, I-94 is closed for a portion going eastbound at around 35-W. Go to the MNdot website to get full details, but if you're coming from Minneapolis or the western burbs, take 35W to 36 to 35E. If you're coming from anywhere else, get yourself a darn map. I'm from Florida.
As for the goals today:
Green makes it 1-0. Johan Larsson (2nd round, 2010) from invitee J.T. Barnett, the son of former power agent and Phoenix Coyotes GM Mike Barnett. If Mike was here today, he would have been proud. His kid looked awesome.
White makes it 1-1. Invitee Justin Fontaine (UMD) from Casey Wellman and Colton Gillies
Green makes it 2-1. Kris Foucault (4th round, 2009) on a breakaway
Green makes it 3-1. Cody Almond (5th round, 2007) on a penalty shot
Whites cuts it to 3-2. Justin Fontaine, who looked like Pat LaLaLaLaLaFontaine today, from Gillies and Erik "Holla!!!" Haula (incoming Gopher).
White ties it at 3. Invitee Brandon Buck from Matt Read and Josh Caron
White makes it 4-3. Maxim Noreau on a penalty shot
Green ties it at 4. Almond from Justin Falk
Green makes it 5-4. With 22.4 seconds left, Jason Zucker (2nd round, 2010, first Nevada-trained player ever drafted), settles a beautiful Nate Prosser pass from behind the net at his stick and one-times it home past Dennis Endras for the winner.
Fun shootout to finish things off for the fans. Like last year, Jarod Palmer scored maybe the nicest one. Great move.
Last year's second-round picks Larsson, Bulmer and Zucker were all good. Fontaine impressed, as did Prosser. Like last year, Gillies showed off often, making an outstanding play to the net on one of the Fontaine goals and playing with a mean streak (and he's not even mean!). Tyler Cuma looks much improved from last year's camp, I was very impressed by Foucault and Wellman looked awesome. Wellman's also gained about 10 pounds of muscle, which he needs, and Kent Youngblood wrote a real good story on him for Sunday's paper.
Marco Scandella, the 2008 second-rounder, didn't scrimmage because of an injury. I'm better it was an upper body one. Or maybe lower.
What's that North Star-looking emblem, you may ask? That's the logo for a youth hockey team from Bremerhaven, Germany -- i.e. Haven hockey. Why North Stars?
The assistant coach of Dusseldorf of the German Elite League is New Brighton's Tray Tuomie, who played in two state tournaments for Hill Murray and won an NCAA championship with Wisconsin in 1990.
For the fourth year in a row, Tuomie, who is from a huge Minnesota hockey family (especially coaches), brought over a bunch of German youth for a hockey camp and tournament. Last year, the 14-18-year-old's played in the USA Cup. Currently, they're playing a 3-on-3 tournament at Blaine's Super Rink.
Today, Tuomie brought the kids over to Xcel Energy Center to watch the scrimmage. The kids were mostly enthralled with and taking pictures of German goalie star Dennis Endras, who carried his team, Augsburger, to the DEL championship series last year and was the MVP of the most recent World Championships.
He was wearing his black, red and yellow national team pads today, and his DEL team pads are "white, red and green, the same as Minnesota Wild colors," said Tray's son, Parker.
That would be convenient then if he makes the Wild in a few years. By the way, I've been meaning to tell you this for some time, but there's a chance Endras could be the third goalie when the Wild goes to Helsinki. I think the Wild will try to make that happen since he'll be overseas anyway.
Regardless, now that Tuomie got the inside access to scout Endras today, Dusseldorf better go 4-0 against Augsburger this year.
Afterward, Tuomie's team took a tour of the arena. They saw all the high school jerseys, saw jerseys from St. Cloud State and Wisconsin (the two colleges Coach Tuomie played for; he played for Herb Brooks at SC), got autographs from Wellman, Almond and Noreau and even got to see an old-school sports cover on one of the arena pillars that showed a young Hill Murray lad named Tray Tuomie driving the net in a 1986 state tournament game.
So it was a fun experience for the kids.
I mentioned how Tuomie is from a large hockey family, especially coaches. Uncle Ric Schafer, who I've mentioned on this blog a few times before, used to coach Alaska-Fairbanks and Notre Dame, and three family members are currently coaching high school, college and pros. Tray is the pro coach in Germany, brother-in-law Andy Slaggert is an assistant at Notre Dame (Wild prospect Sean Lorenz's coach) and Tray's brother, Tadd, is the new coach at Irondale High.
Oh, and their father, Jack, looks like Bobby Orr. Not kidding. If you saw him in a grocery store, you'd say, "Holy &%^#, there's Bobby Orr!"
He's such a dead ringer, I told Bobby Orr, "I know your doppelganger," during breakfast at the Ottawa Westin a few years ago.
Couple other things: So best I can tell, some finalists for the assistant coach job include Rick Wilson, Kurt Kleinendorst and perhaps, and I don't know this for a fact, Wesley Walz. I heard Walzie had some sort of job interview at the X last week, and I don't think it was for media relations intern.
Lastly (there's always a lastly), follow former Gopher and Bloomington native Erik Johnson on Twitter at www.twitter.com/erikjohnson6. OK, I know he doesn't play for the Wild, but he might as well play for the Wild for the amount of times I write about the future star St. Louis Blues defenseman.
Good day, keep dry and keep cool. Hope you make it out to the Wild's scrimmage Sunday. It's honestly a real good time. What's better than hockey in July?