ANAHEIM, CALIF. - Tuesday's practice was Marian Gaborik's first on the Honda Center ice surface that sent him limping off with a strained groin Oct. 20.
Asked to describe the ice after Tuesday's practice, Gaborik bristled and yelled a four-letter word.
"Couple minutes it's good, then it gets really heavy with a lot of snow," Gaborik said. "Hopefully it'll be better [tonight]."
Gaborik, who missed 34 games because of the groin injury, said he plans to combat the problem by having his blades "less sharpened."
Equipment trainer Tony DaCosta planned to decrease the sharpness to the point Gaborik skates on a blade about as sharp as a butter knife.
Dan Craig, the NHL's facilities operations manager (i.e., ice guru), flew to Anaheim last week to get the arena geared up for the playoffs. Craig said Anaheim's ice ranked 14th in the NHL in the third quarter.
"At this time of year, we're going to have challenges," said Craig, referring to temperatures that reached in the mid-70s Tuesday. "It's important to watch weather patterns and I got the crew on their toes, ready to go."
Wild fans in places such as Duluth, Mankato, Rochester and Fargo, N.D., will be unable to watch the local telecast of at least four of the team's games in its first-round series. Those are among the markets that don't receive KSTC (Ch. 45), which will carry tonight's game, as well as Games 2, 4 and 7.
The Wild and KSTC both heard from unhappy fans during the regular season about the issue. "We've gotten a few e-mails and questions regarding this, and we tell fans we're working with the NHL and our rights-holder to solve this issue long-term," said Bill Robertson, Wild vice president of communications and broadcasting. "We would like our over-the-air games to get a broader reach."
Viewers 50 miles outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul market do have the option of purchasing the NHL Center Ice package in order to watch the games. FSN North, which will have Games 3 and 5, already is available throughout the state.
The Versus cable network will join Friday's Wild game in progress following the completion of Dallas at Vancouver, which starts at 8 p.m. Versus will carry Wild-Ducks on Sunday following the Ottawa-Pittsburgh matchup, which begins at 5 p.m. The Versus telecast of the Wild on Sunday will be blacked out locally.
Coach Jacques Lemaire delayed the captaincy decision until today.
Winger Adam Hall looks like the odd player out. He skated on a line with Matt Foy and Dominic Moore on Tuesday.