Trade deadline at 2 p.m. Monday, so be sure to follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/russostrib and of course www.startribune.com.
Heck of a fun game to cover for me and I’m sure for you to watch tonight as the Wild to beat San Jose for the third time this season, 4-3.
Didn’t start out that way as before folks had a chance to even warm their seats, the Wild was down 2-0 on goals by Tommy Wingels and Joe Thornton.
But, coach Mike Yeo felt the Wild went from either being in awe or respecting the Sharks too much or standing around and watching them or just waiting to see what the Sharks brought to being assertive, aggressive and initiating.
That was especially the case in the second period when the Wild outshot the Sharks 13-2 and got one goal – a Nick Schultz power-play goal. Schultz has been flirting a lot lately, getting some glorious point-blank chances only to be robbed. This one deflected off Patrick Marleau and redirected for his first goal in 101 games (Jan. 2, 2011).
More on Schultz in a sec. Cal Clutterbuck got the rally started in the first period when he went end to end and scored off a bad angle shot that deflected off a skate. Clutterbuck said it was his first end-to-end rush since last year’s pre-training camp in St. Louis Park. “No comment” if he scored on that one.
In the third, old pal Brent Burns scored a power-play goal for a 3-2 lead with 11:15 left, but heating-up Matt Cullen scored his third goal in four games by tipping Marco Scandella’s point shot. It came off a great shift by newcomer Nick Palmieri. Scandella, by the way, was on the ice for all four Wild goals.
Lately, Jed Ortmeyer, whose last goal came March 28, 2010, when he was wearing a Sharks’ sweater, deflected Jared Spurgeon’s point shot for the winning goal – the 22nd of his career and third winner. It was a cool moment for the veteran journeyman who has suffered a ton of injuries and medical issues since his days at Michigan.
He has played four real good games in a row.
In all, that was three goals off point shots for the Wild. The Wild got real good shifts from Ortmeyer, Stephane Veilleux and Warren Peters (save for his penalty). Scandella and Spurgeon were great. Palmieri was real impressive, as was Cullen and Clutterbuck.
Schultz had his best game in a long time.
“He was competing and battling and jumping on loose pucks and executing well,” Yeo said. “For a guy like Schultzty to score a goal in a game like that, it tips the hat to everything else he’s done along the way.”
As you should know by now, Monday at 2 p.m. is the trade deadline. As I mentioned on Sunday morning’s blog, the Wild shouldn’t be fooled by the standings. The playoffs are, in reality, an improbability.
It’s not only five points out with 20 games to go. It has to leapfrog four teams, teams that will play three-point games, teams that will play each other. Let’s say the Wild needs 95 to get in, it must win 15 of its final 20.
So as I wrote in the gamer, it’ll be interesting to see how Chuck Fletcher reacts tomorrow. Does he sell?
Greg Zanon is the type of defenseman that a playoff contender usually covets, so I can easily see him going. Teams have kicked tires on Josh Harding. Philadelphia and Toronto has at least inquired. I’m still not convinced it leads to anywhere, but we’ll see. Toronto is the one team that has been very vocal about needing a goalie and Ben Bishop was dealt to Ottawa today.
The big name I keep hearing is Schultz. He has two years left at a $3.5 million cap ($3.6 annually in real money). He’s played 743 games, and I have heard teams have at least called to see if he’s available. That doesn’t mean he’ll be traded. But I have heard that it’s a possibility.
You can read his quotes in my gamer. This is not an easy decision for the organization because he is one of the most popular teammates I’ve ever covered. As respected as can be, especially by the captain, Mikko Koivu. Teams that may need a dman? San Jose keeps giving up goals left and right, Doug Murray is hurt and we know Fletcher and Doug Wilson loves making trades together. Vancouver's lost Keith Ballard, Boston lost Johnny Boychuk, Detroit's lost Jonathan Ericsson and Chicago is also looking.
From there, not sure there’s much else selling Fletcher can do other than little bit pieces
Mike Lundin will not be traded. I found out today he has a hernia and at this point, it’s unknown if he’ll even be able to play again this season. He has taken a steroid shot and will know in a week if he can play. Tough year for the defenseman.
I have trouble buying that Fletcher would move Devin Setoguchi so soon into his Wild career. You know Clutterbuck could be traded in a snap of the fingers, but I can’t see Fletcher doing that.
And no, enough with the Koivu questions. The mystery around his injury has nothing to do with a trade.
By the way, in other news, Nate Prosser was a healthy scratch tonight.
In nine games since signing a two-year extension he has one goal, two assists and is minus-9.
“I just want him to get his game back, have a chance to sit up top and have a day to think about things and get his game back,” Yeo said. “When he was playing his best, before he signed, every time he was on the ice, he was just going out there to prove himself.
“I think maybe he’s going out and trying not to make that mistake, and there’s a difference in his play because of that.”
Read the notebook for reporting on the scary incident with Todd McLellan, the Sharks' coach, being inadvertantly hit by Scandella's stick tonight and a pretty cool Stephane Veilleux quote.The Sharks were in Day 16 of 16-day trip and got stuck in Minnesota because of mechanical problems on their aircraft. They'll fly home tomorrow, lose their day off and have the Flyers sitting there waiting. They're in trouble right now.
Brad Staubitz was up here in the press box tonight. If he clears re-entry waivers at 11 a.m., he’ll be back on the roster. No 23-man roster after the trade deadline.
That’s it for me. I will be on KFAN at 9:35 a.m.