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Deal's OK means real work; Wild opens with homestand

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO
  • Star Tribune
  • January 13, 2013 - 8:06 AM

The lockout is officially over after 119 days.

More than 98 percent of the players voted to ratify the collective bargaining agreement Saturday, and hours later, the NHL and NHL Players' Association signed off on the Memorandum of Understanding, a legally binding document that will suffice while the collective bargaining agreement is written.

The NHL is back in business.

Training camps will open across the NHL on Sunday -- the Wild, with coach Mike Yeo on the ice for the first time, takes the ice at Xcel Energy Center at 10:30 a.m. Transactions can occur -- the Wild signed restricted free agent Nick Palmieri. And each team's 48-game schedule was released.

The Wild opens with a three-game homestand Saturday against Colorado, next Sunday against Dallas and Jan. 22 against Nashville. That will be defenseman Ryan Suter's first game against his old team. Suter visits Nashville on March 9.

The Wild plays Northwest Division foes Vancouver and Edmonton four times each and Colorado and Calgary five times each. The Avalanche visits St. Paul three times, while the Wild travels to Calgary three times.

The Wild plays the 10 other Western Conference teams three times each, with Chicago, Columbus, Los Angeles, Nashville and St. Louis coming twice to Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild, which plays 14 games in 27 days in April, plays three of its final four games at home, ending April 27 at Colorado. It has nine back-to-backs and three-game homestands three times and three-game road trips three times.

Bring on ... Houston?

The Houston Aeros will take a charter flight to Minnesota to scrimmage the Wild on Monday and Wednesday nights, sources said. The 7 p.m. Wednesday scrimmage is free and open to the public. It also will be televised on Fox Sports North with a pregame show at 6:30 and broadcast on KFAN (100.3-FM).

The Wild is offering fans a number of perks Wednesday (50 percent off merchandise at Hockey Lodge locations, concession vouchers, etc.). Also, single-game tickets go on sale at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Xcel Energy Center and at noon at Ticketmaster outlets.

Palmieri on roster

Palmieri, who held out last summer but eventually signed an AHL deal to play for the Aeros, accepted his one-year, two-way qualifying offer, sources said.

He has been added to the 26-player training camp roster.

"It was a difficult situation at the beginning of the year," Palmieri said, "but maybe it was for the best in the end. I got to go down to Houston and play and be on the ice for the three months that these other guys missed."

With defenseman Marco Scandella expected to miss camp because of a groin injury, Steven Kampfer, back a week for Houston after missing seven games because of a concussion, has been added to the roster.

Rookie arrives for work

Defenseman Matt Dumba, the Wild's 2012 first-round draft pick, arrived in Minnesota on Saturday from Saskatoon, where his WHL Red Deer Rebels won 3-1 on Friday night.

Dumba, 18, is excited and hopes to take advantage of the opportunity.

"I just want to relax and play my game and just observe as much as I can and learn from the older guys," Dumba said. "I'll just work hard and show them what I got on the ice and be competitive each day."

Dumba, who was cut from Canada's world junior camp, said his season has been full of "ups and downs, but the last month for sure I've been really solid and found that consistency."

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