Wild: Power play getting off to a hot start

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 26, 2007 - 11:24 PM

Other than on the road, it's not like the Wild's power play was bad by any stretch last season.

In fact, it ranked second at home and sixth overall -- during the regular season.

However, after scoring just two power-play goals in 27 chances during the playoffs, the Wild was looking to build chemistry with the man advantage this preseason.

Well, five games in, and the Wild has scored 11 power-play goals, including four during a 7-0 win over St. Louis on Wednesday.

"I hope we can keep going all year like that," said Mark Parrish, who scored two power-play goals. "That ratio would be nice."

Despite being the preseason, pointman Brian Rolston, who scored a Wild-record 34 power-play points last season, said, "We can build from this, there's no question. You have to take confidence from these things and we were really zipping it around tonight.

"I think [coach] Jacques [Lemaire] is going to have a hard time picking who he's going to put on the power plays. That's a good problem to have."

In fact, like last season, Lemaire said No. 1 defenseman Kim Johnsson, who was phenomenal on the power play Wednesday with two assists, probably won't see much power-play time if defensemen Kurtis Foster and Petteri Nummelin are healthy.

Hill still can't play

Wild defenseman Sean Hill is not permitted to play in the preseason as part of his 20-game regular-season suspension (19 left) for testing positive for steroids.

However, the NHL has permitted Islanders forward Chris Simon to play despite having five games left on his 25-game suspension for swinging his stick at Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg's head in March.

Asked why Simon can play and Hill cannot, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail to the Star Tribune, "Terms of suspensions are case specific. Sean Hill's does not allow him to play."

Walz battles injury

Center Wes Walz has been staying off the ice with what assistant GM Tom Lynn said were "muscle spasms."I'm dealing with a little bit of an issue with my leg," Walz said. "It's nothing serious. I just want to make sure, with the coaching staff and training staff, that when the regular season starts, I hit the ice running and am ready to go."

Lakos to start in minors

Defenseman Andre Lakos (broken vertebrae in his back) has resumed practicing but will start the season in the minors, Lemaire said.

"He's late on all the other guys," Lemaire said. "I don't have time. It's OK he practices. He doesn't really affect noone. But in games, if I have someone else, which we have [John] Scott, we have [Shawn] Belle, [Erik] Reitz, we want to know more about these guys."

Boogaard back in lineup

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