Wild, Oilers rivals in line for more sparring next week

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 26, 2011 - 8:54 AM

The Wild plays in Edmonton on Wednesday, and there could be fireworks if Brad Staubitz and Darcy Hordichuk are in their respective lineups.

Staubitz, 27, the Wild's fourth-year fourth-liner, averages six minutes a game, but in the first period of Minnesota's 5-2 loss to the Oilers on Friday, he was baited into eight minutes of penalties -- interference, roughing, roughing and cross-checking -- by Hordichuk, an 11th-year NHLer.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored on one of the power plays.

Early in the first, Hordichuk, 31, took a run at Staubitz, who cut his left cheek.

Later in the shift, Hordichuk hit Staubitz again. Staubitz went back after Hordichuk, who fell quite easily before a frustrated Staubitz jumped on him.

"He would never let up," Hordichuk said. "I was at the end of my shift."

On their next shift, Hordichuk "chased Staubitz around the ice for 30 seconds" trying to fight him. Staubitz wouldn't accept, then cross-checked Hordichuk and punched him on the ice.

"After the first incident, I said, 'OK, he's going to do that, now I'm going to call him out in front of the whole building and say, OK, here's your chance,' " Hordichuk said. "I understand I didn't drop the gloves the first time, but the second time, I said, 'You're not at end of your shift, I'm not at the end of mine, Let's do it up.'

"Obviously he thought I had my chance, but my chance is not at the end of a shift. I made that mistake early in my career, and I'll never do it again."

Staubitz was apologetic after the game that he was goaded into four minors.

"The first [incident], he dove. The second [incident], I was undisciplined and got selfish there and let the emotions get the best of me. Put my team in a tough spot," Staubitz said. "The penalty killers worked hard for me, but I can't be doing that. You just have to be smarter about it."

Coach Mike Yeo wasn't happy, but just like in Vancouver last month when Staubitz took costly penalties on consecutive shifts, Yeo kept playing him. Staubitz drew a hooking minor from Hordichuk in the third period.

"We talked about it with Stauby," Yeo said. "We like to deal with those things internally, and nobody felt worse than him."

Regarding Wednesday's rematch, Hordichuk said: "The nice thing is we play each other again and we'll get a chance to settle it. We've never crossed paths. Today was the first time he went out of the way to actually fight me.

"It'll be different next time. If I know first shift we're going to go, then I'm going to pace myself. I'm not going to run around, hammer 10 guys and then have him try to fight me."

Bothersome commentary

Yeo said he wasn't pleased with an Edmonton Sun column that took potshots at the best defensive team in the NHL.

The article said the Wild was "horrible to watch" and "bad for the game."

"I don't think that a lot of people that have come to watch the Minnesota Wild, especially people that are fans of our team, would say that we're boring," Yeo said.


• Edmonton ended a 17-game losing streak in Minnesota. The NHL's longest active home winning streak now belongs to the Stars, who have beaten the Wild 14 consecutive times in Dallas.

• Equipment manager Tony DaCosta took stitches to the forehead after a puck struck him in the third period. "There goes my modeling career," he said.

• The Wild had its first sellout since opening night.

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    Saturday November 26, 2011

    The Xcel Energy Center hex was no more after Edmonton, with its stable of gifted high draft picks, ended its 17-game losing streak in St. Paul.

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