Colton Gillies was a go-to guy for Mike Yeo during the Houston Aeros' run through the Calder Cup playoffs last season, but Gillies will have to get used to a different role initially in Minnesota.
Instead of 18 minutes a game, Gillies began the 2011-12 season as the Wild's fourth-line left winger in a 4-2 victory over Columbus on Saturday.
He logged 6 minutes, 5 seconds.
"It is going to be an adjustment," Gillies said. "I'm not satisfied with just being here. I think it's good for me to be here, but I'm going to push myself every day to move up. But I know the coach has a plan, and if the plan is to leave me on the fourth line, I'll be the best fourth-line player."
Gillies, 22, was a fourth-line winger as a 19-year-old rookie for the Wild in 2008-09, and he's learning all over again that it's a constant battle to stay engaged in the game when you can sit on the bench four, five, six minutes at a time.
Yeo still expects Gillies to help bring momentum, physicality and shifts in the offensive zone.
"It's really tough," he said. "When you're not moving your legs around, your lactic acid just sits there. So when you get on the ice, your legs burn as opposed to your legs feeling fresh if you're getting a lot of ice time because your blood is always circulating.
"I'm going to have to find a way, though."A challenge on paper
Cal Clutterbuck is flabbergasted some Blue Jackets players have blamed him for James Wisniewski elbowing him in the face during a preseason game, an infraction that cost the repeat offender an eight-game suspension.
Last week, Columbus' Derek Dorsett shredded Clutterbuck to the Columbus Dispatch, saying in part: "He has some of the latest hits that are worthy of suspension. He throws some of the most gutless hits, and he doesn't respond. He flops all over the ice, all the time. A guy like that you don't have to give very much respect to."
Saturday morning, Clutterbuck said: "If guys are that fired up that they go to the paper with things like that, it brings a smile to my face. I mean, really, you're that upset? They think it's my fault he elbowed me in the face when I wasn't expecting it. It's like a parent whose kid is always getting in trouble, but it's never the kid's fault.
"It's hilarious. If I embellished it, I would have thrown my gloves in the air and pretended I was unconscious."Big stage debut
Nineteen-year-old Brett Bulmer logged 11:06 in his NHL debut on the right side of Clutterbuck and Kyle Brodziak. Bulmer's parents, Lance and Sharon, attended the game, flying in from their hometown of Prince George, British Columbia.
"They're the happiest parents in the crowd tonight," Bulmer said. "It's pretty special for them to be here for this because they've done more work than I have for me to be here."Angry at Bouchard's swing
Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel was spitting mad over Pierre-Marc Bouchard's high-sticking double minor on Columbus forward Matt Calvert.
Arniel said of Bouchard, who has 156 penalty minutes in 486 games: "It's definitely an attempt to injure. Our whole bench saw it. Their whole bench saw it. We want to talk about getting hits from behind and shots to the head, but we allow a guy to stay in the game after taking a baseball swing at a guy's face? That's a joke."Etc.
• On a 60-second pregame video and and on a dasher in front of the bench, former Wild players Derek Boogaard and Pavol Demitra were honored. Both players died in the offseason.
• After a tryout with the Houston Aeros, Aaron Boogaard, Derek's youngest brother, signed a two-way American Hockey League deal.
|East Tenn St||64||FINAL|
|Fla Gulf Coast||69|
|Sam Houston St||71|
|UC Santa Barbara||86|
|New Mexico St||81|
|Stephen F Austin||83|
|SE Missouri St||76||FINAL|
|Cal State Fullerton||44|
|Long Beach State||83||FINAL|
|Sam Houston St||93|
|Stephen F Austin||72|
|East Tenn St||74||FINAL|
|(13) North Carolina||69|
|New Mexico St||56||FINAL|
|Long Beach St||49|
|Cal State Fullerton||72||FINAL|
|UC Santa Barbara||60||FINAL|