Good afternoon from high above the X, where I picked the wrong day to spend all day indoors. Just went with Jim Souhan to lunch, and what a day!
As I alluded to yesterday, most Wild players will be growing mustache's this month during Movember (check out movember.com).
Defenseman Nick Schultz came up with the idea to raise awareness for cancer and to honor his friend's father, Hugh, who has prostate cancer. Since players began growing the stache's last week, the Wild's won two games.
Schultz went onto movember.com yesterday, registered the Wild, calling the team the Minnesota Mo-Bros, and made a sizeable donation in the name of the Wild.
There are strict rules for Movember in the Wild's changing room.
"There is to be no joining of the Mo to sideburns. That's a beard"
"There is to be no joining of the handlebars. That's a goatee"
"A small complimentary growth under the bottom lip IS allowed." In other words, a Brian Rolston-like, Mark Parrish-like soul patch is permitted.
There's even a style guide in the changing room demonstrating different stache's, like the "Trucker," the "Rock Star," the Abracadabra," etc., etc., and some less politically correct ones taken off movember.com's web site.
So far Brent Burns has the coolest as you'll see tonight. Greg Zanon and Cal Clutterbuck have great ones. Nick Schultz is a little upset because players cheated and started early. You were supposed to start clean-shaven on Nov. 1, so that's why Schultz's is kind of light and thin. In fact, Schultz has such blondish facial hair, he's thinking of dying his stache so people can see his.
I'll write more about this tomorrow. Some funny lines around.
Tonight's scratch for the Wild is unknown. Everybody came off at the same time. Benoit Pouliot's been the scratch the last two games since Derek Boogaard returned from illness.
Henrik Sedin (ankle) is in for the Canuckleheads. Shane O'Brien is suspended for trying to gut Sean Avery from the Vancouver bench Tuesday. O'Brien was only on the bench at the time because he was ... benched.
Real quick, funny story:
So, you all know about how Marian Gaborik pal Tobin Wright was banned from the bowels of the Wild arena last season for what the previous regime said were many reasons, but most notably because he backed out of testifying on behalf of the Wild in the Willie Mitchell arbitration hearing. (The Wild won that grievance by the way and didn't have to pay Mitchell's his salary, plus interest, from the lockout. Mitchell claimed he was injured from the previous season, which meant he should have been paid).
What I don't think I ever told you at the time was there was actually at least one other person banned from the arena for allegedly testifying on Mitchell's behalf. I knew about it at the time, but that banned person begged me to keep him out of the paper. As a newspaper, we decided to respect his wishes because Tobin Wright's banishment was on the record from fellow agent Ron Salcer, Wright and the team, but the other person wasn't on the record, and like I said, he wanted to keep his anonymity.
Well, it's a new regime now, so this morning, the anonymous banned individual, we'll call him, "Mr. X," made his first return to the below hallway today to say hi to all the Wild personnel -- and because Mitchell's in town. We had balloons, streamers and served cake. It was a beautiful moment.
Here's the funny part of this long story. So I'm chatting with "Mr. X" for awhile and somebody came by with a personalized, autographed hockey stick for "Mr. X" left for him by NHLer Dean McAmmond.
Here's the kicker: McAmmond left the stick for "Mr. X" TWO years ago. But since "Mr. X," as he joked, "couldn't come down to get it," there it sat in the Wild's back room collecting dust for months.
Talk to you tonight.