The Wild placed Eric Nystrom on re-entry waivers this morning, meaning he's on his way back to Minnesota.
If he clears re-entry tomorrow, the Wild must make a roster move -- barring an injury tonight. If he's claimed, the Wild is on the hook for half his $1.4 million salary and cap hit.
A lot of times in these situations, GM's know for a fact a player will be claimed and that's why they do it. At least publicly, GM Chuck Fletcher is saying he's an NHL player and will bring speed and grit to the Wild lineup. He says when Nystrom was sent to Houston the first time, it was with objective of creating flexibility up here and the intention all along would be to bring him back.
But suddenly bringing him back creates a lack thereof because you'd have to make another move, so my gut is Fletcher knows he's likely to get claimed.
Maybe I'm wrong, and something else is cooking and will be departing the Wild roster tomorrow.
I do know that after Nystrom was sent down, there were some in the Wild that was not enamored with a few of his tweet replies to followers that he got "screwed" and the "shaft." Obviously Nystrom was disappointed, and the reality is he is a good soldier that's beloved by his teammates. But that is something that may have to be addressed upon his return if he does get here.
Couple other things:
-- Late puck drop tonight at 6:50 CT, 7:50 ET because the first Ottawa team that lost 70 games will be honored.
-- Niklas Backstrom gets the start. Mike Yeo said Josh Harding is 99 percent back from his ankle injury and could play if the Wild needed him to, but it's the team's decision to come back with Backstrom.
-- Optional skate this morning. Marek Zidlicky is the only one who didn't hit the ice, so Yeo joked that'll be used against him.
-- Funny moment in press scrum today when Yeo was being peppered with Dany Heatley questions. Yeo was asked if he sensed this game meant something to him. Yeo: "You know what it's going to be like when you're coming back to an old building, you're hearing all the fans booing and everybody's giving you a hard time, but Cully's an experienced guy. I think he'll bounce back from it."
Yeo just misunderstood. Naturally he assumed he was being asked about Matt Cullen's first return to Ottawa since leaving there as a free agent to come to Minnesota.
Here's some pics of Yeo and Heatley press scrums:
I said to Yeo, "Just like Minnesota, eh?" He goes, "I actually was impressed with you guys after being in Houston, but this was "another step up."
Heatley played it cool during a two-minute scrum.
Talk to you after the game.