Suspension will be hard for Wild's Hill to take

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 19, 2007 - 12:15 AM

It was a game night Tuesday, but when defenseman Sean Hill arrived at Xcel Energy Center, the Wild newcomer didn't report to the locker room to suit up.

He took the elevator up to the press box, and he will for the next two months.

The rest of Hill's 20-game suspension (19 games) for testing positive for the steroid boldenone doesn't officially begin until opening night Oct. 4, but he is essentially suspended 26 games because he's not permitted to play in any of the Wild's seven exhibition games.

"I think that's a joke," Hill said, before choosing to bite his tongue.

Hill, who isn't eligible to play until Nov. 18, has vehemently denied using steroids with the Islanders last season. He claims he passed a lie detector test with the FBI's former chief of polygraph, James Murphy, and had his blood tested at an independent lab, which he says showed no trace of the steroid.

The veteran said he will just make the best of the situation.

"It'll be my longest period of not playing," said Hill, a Duluth native. "When you're injured, that doesn't seem as bad, so it's going to be tough. But I'll try to use it as a positive. I'll be watching all the games and seeing the system in place during games and getting to know our players by watching them for 19 games.

"I'll use it to condition as well. It's been a long time since I've been able to work out in-season hard like I'll be able to."

Irmen Houston-bound?

While ex-Gophers forward Danny Irmen still has a shot to make the Wild, assistant GM Tom Lynn says it's more likely he will start in Houston of the American Hockey League.

"I wouldn't cross him off, but realistically what he's trying to do is probably like Kurtis Foster and Richard Park and other guys who have made our team during the season by demonstrating enough growth," Lynn said.

Boogaard tossed

A 1-0 Detroit lead quickly became 3-0 Tuesday after Derek Boogaard was given a five-minute major and kicked out of the game for elbowing Aaron Downey and Foster took a crosschecking penalty just as Chris Chelios scored Detroit's second goal.

Boogaard also was penalized on his first shift for kneeing Jonathan Ericsson.

"It's preseason. I think the refs are getting their cobwebs out, too," said the 6-7 Boogaard, who has maintained the past two seasons that referees target him. "It's the same old story. You've just got to deal with it."

Etc.

• The Wild trimmed its roster to 51 by assigning forwards Tyler Hirsch, Peter Olvecky and Matt Kassian and defenseman A.J. Thelen to Houston's training camp.

• Tuesday's game started 15 minutes late because Detroit's arrival in the Twin Cities was delayed due to weather. Wild GM Doug Risebrough and Red Wings GM Ken Holland didn't make it because of travel problems back from Chicago, where they attended the Board of Governors meeting.

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