VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - The Wild has three Swedish prospects who will play in Thursday's gold medal game against Russia at the world junior championships, but most of the talk in the Wild's locker room Wednesday was on the bronze medal game -- Canada vs. Finland.
Some of the Wild's Canadians were making a wager with the Wild's Finnish captain, Mikko Koivu.
"Well, potentially. He's a little cheap," said defenseman Nick Schultz, a native of Strasbourg, Saskatchewan.
"He's not very brave making bets," added Cal Clutterbuck of Welland, Ontario. "He's just a little bit chicken. But he's a proud Finn, man, there's no question about that."
Koivu was not amused.
"Not surprised those two would go to the media," Koivu said, grinning.
Because the tournament's in Calgary, the Wild will practice Thursday and Friday in the ski resort town of Banff, 90 minutes west of Calgary. During a post-practice team function, you can bet Koivu and the Canadians will seek out a TV to watch the consolation game.
"You want to see the Finns in the final, but they have a lot of talent," said Koivu, who played in the 2001 and 2001 world juniors and won gold at the 2011 world championships. "They've had a good tournament so far. It's a shame the last game ended in a shootout because anything can happen in a shootout."
In that game, Wild prospect Mikael Granlund (2010 first-round pick) lost the puck, sending Sweden to the gold medal game. That catapulted Wild Swedish prospects Johan Larsson (2010 second-rounder), Jonas Brodin (2011 first-rounder) and Johan Gustafsson (2010 sixth-rounder) into the final.
"Even the American team with [Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle], it's amazing how the Wild's got so many of the best players in their age group playing in the best tournament possible," said Schultz, who played in the 2001 world juniors. "They're doing a great job drafting and acquiring good prospects.
"The way the system is now, you've got to build with young players and draft picks. That's huge that we have this many guys coming up with this much potential."Heavy 'D'
During the Wild's seven-game win streak, it used the same six defensemen -- Schultz, Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon, Clayton Stoner, Greg Zanon and Mike Lundin.
But once Marek Zidlicky and Justin Falk got healthy, it called for nightly decisions for coach Mike Yeo and his staff on which defensemen would be scratched.
Typically, it's been Zanon and Lundin -- the case again Wednesday at Vancouver.
Now with Nate Prosser up from the minors, the Wild is carrying nine defensemen (including Stoner, who's on injured reserve).
The team has struggled with so many defensemen. Yeo said he's trying to not make the defensemen feel "that any mistake will take them out of the lineup."
But there's a sense something has to give soon with so many blueliners. GM Chuck Fletcher is in active trade talks, and it's believed Zanon and Lundin are being dangled.Setoguchi returns
After missing 12 games because of a knee injury, Devin Setoguchi returned Wednesday, as did Casey Wellman, who missed nine games with a wrist injury. Setoguchi returned to his first-line spot with Koivu and Dany Heatley, while Wellman played the fourth line with Colton Gillies and Warren Peters.
Yeo monitored each player's conditioning during the game, but they've been "Kirktified," -- a reference to working their way back with strength and conditioning coach Kirk Olson.Prospects rewarded
It's been a good few days for the Wild's deep goalie prospects corps.
The Houston Aeros' Matt Hackett was named to the AHL All-Star Game on Wednesday -- one day after Darcy Kuemper was named AHL Rookie of the Month and Gustafsson backstopped Sweden into Thursday's world junior championship game.
Aeros leading scorer Jon DiSalvatore was also named to the AHL All-Star Game.Cullen succeeds Matt Cullen scored on a penalty shot Saturday against Phoenix, saying his only thought was "to hang on to [the puck]." The joke referred to the fact that he lost the puck in a shootout two games before in Nashville. In all seriousness, Cullen had one goal in 20 games before scoring and said there was relief, "especially when you're a guy that's supposed to provide some of the offense, and that's been considerably lacking."
|Buffalo||17||3rd Qtr 15:00|
|San Diego||7||3rd Qtr|
|NY Jets||14||3rd Qtr|
|Chicago||3||3rd Qtr 14:53|
|Philadelphia||14||2nd Qtr 0:12|
|New Orleans||7||3rd Qtr|
|St. Louis||3:25 PM|
|TBA||1/3/15 2:00 AM|
|TBA||1/3/15 2:00 AM|
|TBA||1/4/15 2:00 AM|
|TBA||1/4/15 2:00 AM|
|Oklahoma City||6:30 PM|
|New York||8:00 PM|
|Central Conn St||30||2nd Half 10:34|
|Iona||68||2nd Half 7:54|
|Concordia (MI)||36||2nd Half 5:48|
|Harvard||21||1st Half 4:56|
|Longwood||16||1st Half 7:51|
|Sacred Heart||26||1st Half 41:|
|Colgate||23||1st Half 5:45|
|MD-Eastern Shore||43||1st Half 3:21|
|UNC Greensboro||20||1st Half 5:26|
|Marist||10||1st Half 7:52|
|NJIT||14||1st Half 7:45|
|Cincinnati Christian||17||1st Half 6:25|
|Morgan State||9||1st Half 8:17|
|Campbell||13||1st Half 6:18|
|Bucknell||26||1st Half 6:13|
|Long Beach State||19||1st Half 10:20|
|Coppin State||21||1st Half 6:50|
|UMKC||11||1st Half 7:51|
|Hofstra||5||1st Half 17:46|
|Coast Guard||2:00 PM|
|Thomas (GA)||2:00 PM|
|Texas Southern||2:00 PM|
|NC Wesleyan||2:00 PM|
|South Dakota St||2:00 PM|
|Central Penn College||2:00 PM|
|Bowling Green||2:00 PM|
|SE Missouri St|
|Robert Morris-IL||2:00 PM|
|Northland College||2:00 PM|
|North Dakota St|
|Northwestern St||2:30 PM|
|Saint Peters||3:00 PM|
|St Katherine||3:00 PM|
|Wake Forest||3:00 PM|
|Fla Gulf Coast||3:00 PM|
|SD Christian||3:05 PM|
|Miss Valley St||4:00 PM|
|Delaware State||4:00 PM|
|NW Christian||5:00 PM|
|UC Davis||5:00 PM|
|Abilene Christian||5:00 PM|
|Stony Brook||7:00 PM|
|(15) Arizona State||36||FINAL|
|Texas A&M||12/29/14 1:00 PM|
|Oklahoma||12/29/14 4:30 PM|
|Arkansas||12/29/14 8:00 PM|
|Notre Dame||12/30/14 2:00 PM|
|(13) Georgia||12/30/14 5:45 PM|
|Maryland||12/30/14 9:00 PM|
|(9) Ole Miss||12/31/14 11:30 AM|
|(21) Boise State||12/31/14 3:00 PM|
|(8) Miss State||12/31/14 7:00 PM|
|(10) Georgia Tech|
|(19) Auburn||1/1/15 11:00 AM|
|(7) Michigan State||1/1/15 11:30 AM|
|(16) Missouri||1/1/15 12:00 PM|
|(2) Florida State||1/1/15 4:00 PM|
|(5) Ohio State||1/1/15 7:30 PM|
|Houston||1/2/15 11:00 AM|
|Iowa||1/2/15 2:20 PM|
|(11) Kansas State||1/2/15 5:45 PM|
|Washington||1/2/15 9:15 PM|
|East Carolina||1/3/15 11:00 AM|
|Toledo||1/4/15 8:00 PM|
|(10) Oregon State||50||2nd Half 9:08|
|Providence||49||2nd Half 7:35|
|Florida A&M||35||2nd Half 11:27|
|Oakland||59||2nd Half 4:24|
|Chattanooga||52||2nd Half 6:25|
|Fairfield||57||2nd Half 1:27|
|St Francis-PA||19||1st Half 7:04|
|Milwaukee||23||1st Half 5:47|
|Gardner-Webb||13||1st Half 7:55|
|New Hampshire||13||1st Half 6:57|
|Bucknell||23||1st Half 7:39|
|Northeastern||20||1st Half 5:00|
|George Mason||21||1st Half 7:08|
|Richmond||11||1st Half 8:21|
|William & Mary||20|
|Tulane||20||1st Half 5:46|
|North Florida||16||1st Half 8:22|
|(14) Georgia||11||1st Half 8:06|
|Tennessee St||20||1st Half 9:10|
|American Univ||24||1st Half 3:17|
|Massachusetts||25||1st Half 9:40|
|Quinnipiac||17||1st Half 10:24|
|Lafayette||12||1st Half 6:59|
|Northwestern||20||1st Half 5:32|
|(20) Michigan State||16|
|Duquesne||24||1st Half 7:01|
|George Washington||31||1st Half 6:18|
|(17) Rutgers||8||1st Half 11:21|
|(24) Green Bay||25||1st Half 7:16|
|Western Mich||1:30 PM|
|UNC Greensboro||2:00 PM|
|VA Commonwealth||2:00 PM|
|Miss Valley St||2:00 PM|
|Saint Louis||2:00 PM|
|Middle Tennessee||2:00 PM|
|Penn State||2:00 PM|
|Sam Houston St||2:05 PM|
|South Dakota||2:30 PM|
|(4) Notre Dame||3:00 PM|
|Coll of Charleston||3:00 PM|
|Alcorn State||3:00 PM|
|Fla Gulf Coast||3:00 PM|
|(25) Arizona State|
|UC Santa Barbara||4:00 PM|
|Long Island||4:00 PM|
|Long Beach St|
|Jackson State||4:00 PM|