Greetings. Youngblood here. I had practice today with Michael on his way to Edmonton.
Well, this was one of the most optional skates I've seen in a while. There were four skaters -- Bouchard, Stoner, Spurgeon and Staubitz -- on the ice along with goalies Backstrom and Theodore. There were more coaches on the ice than skaters.
Here is what i gleaned afterward:
1. Theodore felt good in his first time skating in a practice since injuring his groin. He went about 85 percent for about 20 minutes and emerged unscathed. He will accompany the team on the trip, hope to get in one or two more skates with the team and hopefully be available by the end of the trip.
2. Backstrom (hip) said he's ready to go. With Theodore still on the mend, and games on back-to-back nights looming in Edmonton and Calgary, it looks like Khudobin will get another start. Coach Todd Richards said he'd make up his mind who'd get the start Tuesday in Edmonton. I'm betting Backstrom plays in Calgary.
3. Once again uneven play has forced the Wild into a must-succeed situation on the road. Richards said he's confident after seeing his team play well for six consecutive periods against Colorado and Vancouver. Granted the team lost to the Avalanche, but Richards thought his team played well in both that game and again Sunday.
4. Richards said if Marco Scandella recovers quickly from his concussion he could join the team for the back end of the upcoming trip.
5. The Wild called up forward Cody Almond from Houston to give it some insurance on the long trip. But the team is heading out with just six defensemen.
6. Wild prospect Darcy Kuemper of the Red Deer Rebels was named the WHL player of the week. The goalie posted a 3-0-0-0 road record this past week with two shutouts, stopping 85 of 86 shots for a 0.32 goals-against average and a .988 save %. Kuemper was taken in the sixth round of the 2009 draft by the Wild.