Want proof Marian Gaborik's groin injury isn't anything that should cause panic in the streets of Minneapolis/St. Paul?
The Wild right wing was a pile of laughs Tuesday after testing his sore groin on the ice for more than a half hour. Last year during Gaborik's 34-game groin hiatus, there might as well have been a "Keep Out!" sign on his locker-room stall.
"You know when things are not going well," Gaborik said, smiling. "This is nothing. I just want to give you a job to do. You have nothing to write about. By now, you're like trainers the way you know all about the groins and stuff."
He wanted to play in Tuesday's 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh at Xcel Energy Center, saying, "Their decision."
Assistant GM Tom Lynn said Gaborik will practice today and is possible for Thursday's home game against St. Louis.
As for the other two Wild players suffering groin injuries, left wing Pavol Demitra and goalie Niklas Backstrom could practice today, Lynn said. Center Dominic Moore, who missed his 10th game in a row because of an abdominal strain, is close to practicing, Lynn said.
Defenseman Kim Johnsson didn't return Tuesday after suffering a right leg contusion in the second period. Lynn said it is not a long-term injury.
It's home for Malone
Penguins left wing Ryan Malone, a Pittsburgh native who attended Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault for a year and St. Cloud State for four, considers himself a Minnesotan.
Tuesday was "Bugsy's" second-ever game at Xcel Energy Center, and he played on the left side of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, assisting on both of Malkin's goals. Malone, 27, left 20 tickets at will-call.
"Shattuck was a life-changing thing there, and both [Shattuck and St. Cloud State] were big influences to where I am now. That's why I come back here every summer," said Malone, the son of former NHL center Greg Malone. "Minnesota reminds me a lot of Canada where hockey is such a big deal. Here, the state high school tournament, they sell this place out. This is where I would call home now."
In fact, Malone, who spent years attending Chuck Grillo's hockey camps near Brainerd, lives down the street in Plymouth from Wild winger Mark Parrish and trains with Parrish during the offseason.
Veilleux scores a goal
One game after playing a career-high 22 minutes, 30 seconds at Colorado, Stephane Veilleux scored his first goal since March 17. Veilleux's second-period goal Tuesday night tied the score at 1-1.
On Veilleux's game Sunday against the Avalanche, Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said: "If I could, I would have played him on the power play. ... But if I put him on the power play, penalty kill and checking the top line on the other side, poor kid, he'll die."
Lemaire and Penguins coach Michel Therrien, close friends, shared a few laughs Tuesday morning. Lemaire coached Therrien in 1982-83 when Therrien was a 19-year-old defenseman for Longueuil of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. "I've got a lot of respect for him," Therrien said. "I told him he's getting older when your player ends up coaching against you. I know how he thinks about the game. We talk a lot about games. It's fun to coach against your old coach."
Pittsburgh's Adam Hall, who played 23 games for the Wild after being acquired for Pascal Dupuis last season, gave Wild rookie James Sheppard his first NHL fight. Hall was angry about being hit in the third period. Not re-signed by the Wild, Hall spent all summer waiting for an offer before accepting a tryout with the Penguins. I just worked out and kept doing what Id normally do to try to keep sane, Hall said, laughing.