Postseason disappointments led to a departure from Boston. Now, veteran Brian Rolston will try to regain his scoring touch for the Wild.
Brian Rolston has not been out of the first round of the NHL playoffs in a decade. His most recent postseason experiences were not good ones with the Boston Bruins.
Rolston signed with the Wild on July 8, 2004. It was the early stage of a Bruins purge following another playoff flop.
On the day he signed, Rolston said of his stay in Boston: "Two of the past three seasons, we had 100 points and didn't get out of the first round. It was disappointing to the organization, to me."
This was before the lockout, before shootout points were being handed out, and when 100 points still was the mark of a tremendous season.
Boston was the No. 1 seed in the East in 2002 and lost to Montreal in six games. Two years later, the Bruins were the No. 2 seed and lost to Montreal in seven games.
Rolston had one goal and no assists in that series. He joined Mike Knuble and Michael Nylander as veterans allowed to leave as free agents. The Bruins waited until after the lockout to complete the purge, sending Joe Thornton to San Jose on Nov. 30, 2005.
The Bruins have gone backward. Thornton has regained his superstar status in San Jose. And after three years, Rolston has returned to the playoffs in Minnesota.
Rolston's first year here was spent waiting out the lockout. Last season, he reached career highs in goals (34) and assists (45) but did so in a year when the Wild's front office was committed to avoiding the playoffs.
The reinforcements arrived last summer. There was a fast start for both the team and Rolston. He had nine goals in October. Those personal bests from the 2005-06 season seemed destined to fall.
Rolston missed three games in early February because of a virus. There was a 13-game stretch in and around the illness when he scored one goal.
He went from a team MVP candidate to a 34-year-old looking for some late-season momentum. The Wild insiders have been suggesting that Rolston, more than anyone, has to pick up his game from its recent standard for this opening series with Anaheim.
"I had a little bit of a setback with the flu," he said. "I feel like I found my game again toward the end of the season. I'm healthy. I feel great. Let's get started."
Rolston won a Stanley Cup in 1995 as a rookie with the New Jersey Devils. He played in six playoff games and was productive with two goals and an assist.
"I might not have been a big part of that team, but I know what it's like to win a Stanley Cup," Rolston said. "It's why we all play the game -- to get in the playoffs and make a run."
Jacques Lemaire was Rolston's coach in 1995, as he has been in Minnesota.
"Early in your career, there are times when Jacques is pointing out things, and you wonder, 'Does this guy really know what he's talking about?' " Rolston said. "But when you're a veteran, when you've been around the NHL, it all makes sense.
"It's a definite advantage to have Jacques on the bench. He knows what it takes to win. And if we do what he says, we can win, even though Anaheim is an excellent hockey club."
Defensemen Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer will be the main obstacles for the Wild's top two lines: Demitra-Walz-Gaborik and Bouchard-White-Rolston.
|Chicago Cubs||6||Bottom 6th Inning|
|Los Angeles||3||Bottom 6th Inning|
|Cleveland||3||Top 7th Inning|
|Kansas City||3||Top 6th Inning|
|Seattle||9||Top 7th Inning|
|Arizona||5||Top 7th Inning|
|Arizona||4||Top 9th Inning|
|Oakland||4||Bottom 7th Inning|
|New York||6:30 PM|
|Ottawa||5||3rd Prd 15:35|
|St. Louis||2||3rd Prd 2:06|
|Mount St Marys||77||FINAL|
|Seattle||53||2nd Half 0:30|
|Army||67||2nd Half 1:55|
|Arkansas||31||2nd Half 13:13|
|Pittsburgh||41||2nd Half 11:48|
|South Carolina||61||2nd Half 7:50|
|Oral Roberts||60||2nd Half 9:21|
|Arizona||38||2nd Half 15:44|
|Missouri||29||2nd Half 12:46|
|Auburn||50||2nd Half 8:47|
|Oklahoma||78||2nd Half 8:50|
|Texas||33||2nd Half 12:43|
|Colorado State||36||2nd Half 16:40|
|Seton Hall||30||2nd Half|
|George Washington||31||2nd Half|
|Ball State||27||2nd Half|
|Arizona State||28||1st Half 0:03|
|Incarnate Word||24||2nd Half|
|New Orleans||12||1st Half 8:39|
|Sam Houston St||18|
|Georgia||21||1st Half 7:49|
|Montana||9||1st Half 7:40|
|Weber State||7||1st Half 14:24|
|Holy Cross||4:30 PM|
|Loyola Marymount||4:30 PM|
|Southern Ill||2||1st Half 16:45|
|Jackson State||5:00 PM|
|Ga Southern||5:00 PM|
|James Madison||5:00 PM|
|Saint Peters||5:30 PM|
|Texas Southern||5:30 PM|
|Grambling St||6:00 PM|
|Eastern Ky||6:00 PM|
|Wright State||6:00 PM|
|SE Louisiana||6:00 PM|
|UC Riverside||6:00 PM|
|Long Beach State|
|Northern Colorado||6:00 PM|
|St Bonaventure||6:00 PM|
|UC Davis||6:30 PM|
|Central Arkansas||6:30 PM|
|Stephen F Austin|
|Grand Canyon||7:00 PM|
|Prairie View||7:30 PM|
|Miss Valley St||7:30 PM|
|Texas State||7:30 PM|
|Coll of Charleston||7:30 PM|
|William & Mary|
|McNeese State||7:30 PM|
|North Carolina||8:00 PM|
|Santa Clara||8:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara||9:00 PM|
|Fresno State||9:00 PM|
|San Jose St|
|Idaho State||9:05 PM|
|Montana State||9:05 PM|
|New Mexico||9:05 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Cal State Fullerton||10:59 PM|
|Sporting Kansas City||0||FINAL|
|Red Bull New York||6:30 PM|
|New England||7:30 PM|
|Real Salt Lake||9:30 PM|
|(5) South Carolina||58|
|(18) Oklahoma St||67|
|East Tenn St||50||FINAL|
|Fla Gulf Coast||74||FINAL|
|(15) Texas A&M||77||FINAL|
|Sam Houston St||87|
|No Dakota State||64||FINAL|
|Ohio State||73||2nd Half 1:32|
|Eastern Washington||53||2nd Half 9:45|
|Portland State||60||2nd Half 1:01|
|Northern Ariz||49||2nd Half 11:49|
|Sacramento St||41||2nd Half 11:37|
|Utah Valley U||41||2nd Half 7:57|
|TX-Pan American||42||2nd Half 12:27|
|McNeese State||62||2nd Half 5:47|
|Jackson State||47||2nd Half 7:51|
|Prairie View||29||2nd Half 12:45|
|Texas Southern||44||2nd Half 12:17|
|Louisiana||36||2nd Half 6:03|
|Western Carolina||28||2nd Half 19:14|
|Cal-Irvine||10||1st Half 12:28|
|(14) NC State||6||1st Half 9:50|
|(2) Notre Dame||20|
|UMKC||12||1st Half 12:04|
|Central Arkansas||10||1st Half 10:58|
|Stephen F Austin||23|
|SE Louisiana||20||1st Half 8:55|
|Cal Poly||19||1st Half 8:23|
|UC Santa Barbara||21|
|Grambling||18||1st Half 9:58|
|Providence||14||1st Half 7:17|
|(16) Nebraska||4:55 PM|
|(19) Michigan State|
|Miss Valley St||5:00 PM|
|Texas State||5:15 PM|
|Chicago State||6:00 PM|
|(7) West Virginia|
|(13) North Carolina||6:30 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton|
|Northern Colorado||8:30 PM|
|Long Beach St||9:00 PM|
|Washington St||10:30 PM|
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