This afternoon at Xcel Energy Center, the Wild will hold the first in three consecutive days of half-ice, 3-on-3 prospect tournaments designed by hockey geniuses Andrew Brunette and Brad Bombardir.
They are free and open to the general mass of Wild fans. Today’s sessions have been moved up. The first tournament goes from 2:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m. The second goes from 4 p.m.-5:15 p.m. Gate One opens at 2.
As of now, Friday and Saturday begins at 2:45 p.m. If there are schedule changes, I will tweet them. None of the sessions are streamed online, so if you want to see the prospects, you have to get to down to the X stat.
Some of the prospects who have caught my eye: Tyler Graovac looks real good. Same with Erik Haula, whom I will write about for Saturday, and Matt Dumba. Gustav Olofsson, the Wild’s second-round pick June 30, clearly can play, too, but he’s not expected to participate in the 3-on-3 tourneys because of wrist surgery after last season. He wants to, but the Wild has asked him not because he's two weeks from being medically cleared.
Also, Brett Bulmer can't participate because of a lingering injury.
Photo courtesy of Mike Leddy
--The Stanley Cup will be in Minnesota today and tomorrow. Nick Leddy, 22, the Wild’s 2009 first-round pick who was once traded to Chicago for some guy, gets his day with the Cup after winning it with the Chicago Blackhawks last month. Leddy is the 30th Minnesota native to have his name etched on the Cup.
Leddy, the Eden Prairie native and former Minnesota Mr. Hockey, gets the Cup today and will be doing family and close friend stuff. There are three public appearances. The Cup will be at Maynards's in Excelsior at 4-4:30 p.m., Brits Pub in Minneapolis from 8:30-10 p.m. and SEVEN in Minneapolis from 10-11:30 p.m.
I'm certain there will be a closed-to-the-public after party for the Cup that's seen and done everything.
On Friday afternoon from 12-2 p.m., Leddy and the Cup will be appearing at the Eden Prairie Ice Arena at 16700 Valley View Road. It is an open event to the public and fans can get autographs from Leddy and take pictures with the Cup.
Afterward, Leddy will take the Cup to a local children’s hospital. From 4-5 p.m., Leddy will bring the Cup to the Bierman Building at the University of Minnesota before Lord Stanley Cup departs on a commercial flight aimed for Toronto.
I was just talking to Don Lucia for my Haula story. He was real good. On Leddy, he said, "It's amazing when you think about it, he's still so young he would be a senior in college right now."
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Wild coach Mike Yeo, whose team faces Washington on Thursday, knows the pressure is on and he's been spending a lot of time meeting with general manager Chuck Fletcher. "That's the life of a coach in the NHL," Yeo said.
Thomas Vanek's overtime mistake proved costly as the Wild fell for a sixth straight game and 11th time in 12 games.
The two skilled forwards, scratched Saturday in St. Louis, return against the Dallas Stars. Darcy Kuemper is in goal.