DETROIT – Selected to take part in his second career All-Star Game this weekend, Ryan Suter will turn the experience into a family affair.
Saturday, the Wild defenseman’s wife, Becky, will fly to Columbus with one of their boys, 4-year-old Brooks, so their oldest child can take in all the activities. Becky and Brooks attended the 2012 All-Star weekend in Ottawa when Brooks was 1½, “but he was sicker than a dog,” Ryan Suter said.
“It was miserable. He had a rash all over his face, so my wife and him sat in the hotel room the entire time and at night I was running around trying to find medicine for him. So this will be a fun experience for him. He gets it now. He loves hockey.
“I’m excited. You’re going to be around some of the greatest players of the game, so it’s always a fun atmosphere.”
In 2012, Suter assisted on a Marian Gaborik goal, blocked two shots and was minus-2 in Team Chara’s 12-9 victory over Team Alfredsson. On Friday, Suter will learn if he will play for Team Foligno (captained by Columbus’ Nick Foligno) or Team Toews (Chicago’s Jonathan Toews).
“It stinks to be a defenseman and a goalie in those games,” Suter said, laughing. “You’re just sitting there turning your head the whole time.”
Since there is no way to return from Columbus in time for the Wild’s charter Monday to Edmonton for Tuesday’s game, Suter will charter an aircraft back to Minnesota after Sunday’s game. One of the cool parts of the weekend is players are showered with gifts.
“You get big bags of stuff you can give to all your family members,” Suter said. “It’s a relaxing weekend. Columbus is a sneaky, good hockey city with lots of good fans there, so it’ll be a great time.”
After a solid start, Suter’s season has turned south since returning from the mumps last month, although he had two assists and was a plus-2 in the 5-4 shootout loss to Detroit on Tuesday night. That left him minus-21 in his past 22 games with four assists in his past 12.
Said General Manager Chuck Fletcher: “He’s very deserving of an All-Star nomination. He leads the league in ice time, so he was a logical choice. He does everything for us and it’s not very difficult to fly to Columbus. The events are not that taxing, so it’ll be a good opportunity for him to relax and recharge.”
Fedotenko gets a shot
NHL veteran Ruslan Fedotenko, who hasn’t played this year, signed a professional tryout with the AHL’s Iowa Wild with the hope of making an NHL comeback somewhere. He has a good relationship with Fletcher, so the Wild GM agreed to give him a chance.
The 36-year-old Fedotenko, who played last year in Russia, won Stanley Cups with Tampa Bay in 2004 (tied for second in the NHL with 12 playoff goals) and Pittsburgh in 2009 (Fletcher was a Penguins assistant GM, coach Mike Yeo a Penguins assistant coach). In 863 regular-season games, he has scored 173 goals and 366 points.
• Goalie Darcy Kuemper, sidelined since Jan. 6, came in to replace Devan Dubnyk and didn’t give up a goal until the shootout. Before that, the Wild had talked to Kuemper about maybe going to Iowa on a conditioning stint. “I know it’s tough with three goalies, and I’m sure they’re trying to figure out how to manage this best,” Kuemper said after the game. “I’m open to whatever, but I worked hard while I was out and I feel I was ready tonight.”
• Goalie Niklas Backstrom was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.
• Center Mikael Granlund, who had wrist surgery Dec. 29, was not cleared to return Tuesday. Yeo hopes he will be cleared by the Edmonton game.
• Defenseman Matt Dumba was reassigned to Iowa after Tuesday’s game. He is supposed to play in the AHL All-Star Game on Monday, however, if Yeo decides he wants Dumba to play in Edmonton, Dumba will bow out of the showcase and be recalled.
• The Wild will play Edmonton in a preseason game in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Sept. 26.