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Risebrough on Walz: 'This is in Wes' hands'

  • Article by: Michael Russo
  • Star Tribune
  • November 14, 2007 - 9:24 PM

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - Wild General Manager Doug Risebrough, back from a scouting trip to Europe, said Wednesday that center Wes Walz will remain on an indefinite leave of absence -- indefinitely.

"This is in Wes' hands. We are not spending any time contacting Wes," Risebrough said. "I am not pursuing any information. I understand your need to know, but you're asking the wrong person because I'm not trying to find out.

"That's what needs to be to solve the problem, and I'm comfortable with that."

Walz has not talked publicly since leaving the Wild after an Oct. 31 practice. The Wild is 2-3 since he presumably began contemplating retirement.

Walz's absence has left the Wild severely shorthanded at center, especially since coach Jacques Lemaire seems to have little faith in Dominic Moore, who is playing less than eight minutes a night on the fourth line.

Asked if he needs to have answers from Walz in order to react as a GM and possibly remedy the center position, Risebrough said: "You're looking at a GM that rolls with the punches. ... I might react, but I don't have to know."

No worries

Asked if he's concerned about the Wild's 2-6-1 stretch, Risebrough said no.

Risebrough brought up Kristian Huselius' winning goal in the final minute of the Wild's 3-2 loss at Calgary on Tuesday night, saying, "Nik [Backstrom], who's been so strong for us, probably lets the worst goal I've seen in since he's been with the Wild. Do I expect that to happen again? I do think the team's a little fragile right now. ... We're finding ways to lose games. We just have to persevere."

Etc.

• Defenseman Andre Lakos, signed out of Austria to a one-year deal in June, was assigned to Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League. "He came over with the idea he'd get a shot at the NHL level," said Risebrough, adding Lakos' play with Houston in the American Hockey League showed he wasn't motivated to stay here.

• Left wing Pavol Demitra (groin) was scheduled to skate in the Twin Cities on Wednesday. Said Risebrough: "It's getting on the ice. I wouldn't categorize it as skating."

• Left wing Stephane Veilleux (broken cheekbone) will return tonight after two games out.

Michael Russo • mrusso@startribune.com

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