Good day from beautiful Minneapolis. Unfortunately, in seven hours, the Wild 2009-10 season will be kaput.
"It [stinks] when you know when the season ends," said goalie Niklas Backstrom.
Five injured regulars will miss a final chance to play in front of the home crowd -- Owen Nolan (who may have played his final game in a Wild uniform), Martin Havlat, Guillaume Latendresse, Marek Zidlicky and James Sheppard. Also, Andrew Ebbett, Josh Harding, P-M Bouchard and Clayton Stoner, bringing the season man-game lost to injury total to a franchise-record 342.
Rookie Nate Prosser will play his first home game in front of family and friends. He's from Elk River and is the eighth Minnesota native in history to wear a Wild sweater. Petr Kalus will also play.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, owner Craig Leipold and St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman will announce at a 6 p.m. presser tonight that the Wild will host the 2011 NHL Draft.
Mike Modano, maybe the great American hockey player in history, might be playing his final game tonight. If you didn't read Rachel Blount's story today, go to www.startribune.com/wild.
Modano was being followed by cameras today as the Dallas Stars document his every move.
Modano will be honored by the Wild during a video tribute during the second TV timeout (first non-icing or goal stoppage after the 10-minute mark of the first period). It's his call, but it appears as if at some point tonight Modano will slip on a North Stars sweater. It's unknown if that will be in warmups, during a stoppage or after the game. He said maybe "during the game," but I emailed Bill Daly and he says that request hasn't been asked yet or considered.
I don't see how he'd be allowed to wear it during the game (he wore seven or so Stars sweaters during his home finale the other day), if for no other reasons than Reebok sponsors NHL jerseys.
Modano reunited with former North Stars/Stars teammate Neal Broten this morning during a hilarious conversion that took place for about 25 minutes with us media and others contributing. Some great lines.
Broten on left, CCM rep center, Modano right
Broten told Modano he should still play because he only plays two minutes a game. Asked if he could still play, Broten said, "I can still play two minutes a game and I'll take half of whatever he's making."
Here's Modano in his own words:
On reunion with Neal Broten: “I didn’t even know he was alive still. I didn’t know where he was hiding. It was good to see him. I haven’t seen him in a long time. He still acts and looks the same. Now he’s a grandpa.”