Good afternoon after an optional practice down at the arena. Fifteen players practiced, with the assistants running practice. Coach Todd Richards felt the team might need a little break from him after hearing him a lot the last seven or eight days.

"Sometimes it's good to get a little break," said Richards, looking like a completely different person than the one from training camp. His face after recent losses in Chicago and last night to Nashville illustrates the burden he's under.

Here's one for ya: The Wild has gone 12 games to the start the season without a regulation win. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Wild is the first NHL team to do that since the 1999-2000 Calgary Flames, when they set the record at 19 games (including five OT wins).

Wild is 3-9, with three OT or shootout wins.

Regarding scratching Petr Sykora last night, Richards said he was trying to put the best team on the ice. Still, he benched Sykora for Derek Boogaard, who only got five shifts.

On Sykora: "He is a proven scorer, but there’s so much more that goes to playing the game of hockey than just finishing."

He said the coaches went over those areas with Sykora. But Sykora told us after the coaches haven't told him anything. Richards said he expects Sykora "to be a professional" since this isn't the first time he's been scratched (a lot last second half with Pittsburgh) and "have the attitude of sticking it to the coach." But Richards said the coaches haven't made up their mind if Sykora will play tomorrow against the Rangers.

Speaking of the Rangers, Marian Gaborik missed practice again today with a lower body injury and hasn't skated since being injured Monday. He apparently will try to skate in the morning, but it certainly sounds doubtful that he'll be playing. Hopefully I'll have more later because I'll be seeing him tonight. He is currently on the Rangers' charter.

Josh Harding said he had a couple MRI's and things look pretty good. He said he doesn't expected to be "too, too long."

The Wild announced a working agreement with the ECHL Johnstown Chiefs this morning.

There will be costume contests at tomorrow's game:

The Minnesota Wild today announced a lineup of activities to celebrate Halloween at the Friday, Oct. 30, game against the New York Rangers

All fans in attendance will receive a Wild goalie mask, presented by AT&T. Prior to the game, kids 14 and under can trick-or-treat at the Community Relations booth at Section 124. There will be a costume contest for kids, with judging at the Community Relations booth before the game. An adult costume contest will take place at Iron Range grill, beginning at 5 p.m. The winner will be chosen to do “Let’s Play Hockey.” In addition, the Wild will provide special Halloween themed intermission activities.

That's it for now. I may update blog tonight after we meet with Gaborik. There's also one other thing I may put up here once we report it out a little more.

Update: OK, here's that one more thing:

The St. Paul police department is investigating an email threat directed at some Wild players and management during Wednesday’s game vs. Nashville, police spokeswoman Janet Dunnom confirmed.

Police are not saying what was written, but Dunnom said, “It’s very vulgar. Threatening.”

There was nothing to explain why it was written, what the writer planned to do and what would be the means by which the suspect would do it.

Wild Vice President of Communications Bill Robertson said, “The Minnesota Wild take any safety issue very seriously. We are aware of this matter and have alerted the proper authorities.”

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(UPDATED) Brunette gametime decision tonight; Gaborik still questionable for Friday; Almond to have wrist surgery

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Tortorella: Gaborik out