(Updated): Wild hired former Blue Ricard Persson as its Swedish scout. Check out my flashback story on Persson and Mark Parrish's first NHL fight below...Funny quotes
Good morning folks. The Wild's development camp hits the ice for its first practice this afternoon at 3 p.m.
Kent Youngblood will be out there to cover the workout. Remember, open scrimmages this weekend. Saturday for the season-ticket holders, Sunday to the general public. Both scrimmages start at 11 a.m. (doors open at 10:30) and are free.
This morning, the camp was split up into two groups to work with the team's power-skating instructor. Last night they had a BBQ.
On the ice this afternoon will be first-year Houston Aeros coach Mike Yeo and maybe director of player development Brad Bombardir. Yeo also named his assistants this morning -- longtime NHL defenseman Darryl Sydor, who has officially retired as a player now, and former Aero Brian Wiseman.
Wiseman is expected in town later this week and Sydor later today. Sydor played 1,291 games for LA, Dallas, Columbus, Tampa, Pittsburgh and this past season, St. Louis. For parts of two seasons he was coached by Yeo in Pittsburgh. Wiseman, Cam Stewart's old pal, played at the University of Michigan and spent three seasons playing for Houston.
The Wild continues its search for an assistant coach to replace Mike Ramsey. I believe it's been cut down to a short list of three or four.
I've given you a lot of candidates, but the only person I am positive is on the short list is Kurt Kleinendorst, the 49-year-old Grand Rapids, Minn., native.
Kleinendorst, who was the runner-up to Yeo for the Houston job, currently coaches in the Ann Arbor USNDT Under-18 program, used to coach Lowell of the AHL and was once a New Jersey Devils assistant coach.
I mentioned the other day I believe Craig Hartsburg is on the short list. But I don't want to just guess on the others until I'm confident. I've got some ideas, but want to try to confirm. The Wild's expected to have an assistant in place by next week.
--Josh Harding remains the only unsigned Wild restricted free agent. The Wild is working on trying to get him re-signed today or tomorrow. I'd assume since he can become an unrestricted free agent next summer that he'll sign a one-year deal.
His $1.1 million qualifying offer expires Thursday. That doesn't mean a whole lot. He remains a restricted free agent and remains the Wild's property barring a trade or offer sheet (which makes no sense since he can be had for probably less than offer sheet draft pick compensation).
When a qualifying offer expires, it basically means there's no longer a starting point for negotiations. In fact, technically, a team can start offering less than the qualifying offer, which in this case is $1.1 million. So again, unless he's traded, I think he signs today or tomorrow.
--As for Mike Modano, no updates. In fact, if it's true Patrick Sharp's back on the market (and frankly, it's just speculation from reporters as of now, no sources), I'd think the Wild would jump back into that fray. But again, a lot of this will depend on what happens in the Antti Niemi negotiations.
Regardless, just the fact that the Wild's interested in Modano (unless it's a pure PR thing) tells me the Wild still sees a hole up the middle and will continue to look for some kind of addition before the season starts. If it's not Modano, maybe there's another Petr Sykora-like short-term solution prior to camp (I'm using Sykora to compare the type of signing. Obviously this signing would hopefully work out better).
There's certainly a lot of forwards still available via free agency.
I still believe the Wild will eventually sign a defenseman (Willie Mitchell perhaps?), but I also now believe another forward's in the cards.
OK, back to my time off. Guess what? I'll be sitting in with Reusse from noon-2 p.m. on 1500 ESPN on Friday, so let's make his show entirely hockey. He'll love it.
Check this out:
Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
February 11, 1999, Thursday, Broward Metro EDITION
THAT WAS WORRELL'S FIRST GOAL, PARRISH'S FIRST FIGHT.
BYLINE: MICHAEL RUSSO; Staff Writer
SECTION: SPORTS, Pg. 3C, PANTHERS
LENGTH: 707 words
DATELINE: OTTAWA, Ontario --
At 21, Peter Worrell has started to establish himself as one of the NHL's top heavyweights. Fellow rookie Mark Parrish, 22, hopes to become one of the top snipers.
So when Worrell scored and Parrish dropped the gloves in Monday night's 5-4 loss to St. Louis, it was Worrell's first NHL goal and Parrish's first NHL fight.
"I can't let Peter have all the fun," Parrish said. "It was exciting, something different. I don't think anybody on the team expected anything like that."
Especially Parrish's roommate on the road, Worrell, who was playing in his first game since being sent to the minors last month.
"It was a shock," Worrell said. "He always talks about how he's going to give me a beating, but I never actually thought I'd see him drop the gloves in this lifetime."
At tonight's game at Ottawa it's likely they'll revert to their normal roles.
Parrish got into a few scraps last year in juniors, but the outcomes were not nearly as good as his manhandling of Swedish defenseman Ricard Persson, who's not a fighter either.
"I came home and I had a message from my mom," Parrish said. "All it said was, 'What the hell was that?'''
St. Louis clearly sent Persson out to go after Parrish, hoping to goad the Panthers' leading goal scorer (tied with Ray Whitney) into sitting in the penalty box. It wasn't a coincidence that the fight took place 47 seconds after the Blues took a 5-4 lead.
"Off the faceoff, he kicked the feet out from under me, which made me angry)," Parrish said.
"Then in front of the net, I went to hit him when he had the puck, and he cross-checked me in the side of the head. Tempers just flared. It happens every now and then, I guess."
So does Worrell scoring goals. His only other NHL goal came during an exhibition game last season.
As Bill Lindsay picked off the puck in the neutral zone, Worrell hopped over the boards, skated into the offensive zone, called for the puck and blasted Lindsay's drop pass upstairs on goalie Rich Parent midway through the first period.
"I was pumped," Parrish said. "Pete came over to the bench and the first thing I said was, 'I haven't roofed one like that all year.'''
But Worrell, who scored two goals in his first two games in the minors, seemed to have no reaction after the goal.
"I always said whenever I score my first one, I wouldn't holler like it was the greatest goal in the history of the world," he said. "Instead I'd just pretend like I was cool, like it was something I do often. I had no reaction on that one, but if I get a couple more, maybe I'll bring the old Quebec League celebration out."
Worrell admitted he was praying that nobody would step in front of him to block the shot by the time he got it off. He also said he figured the puck would go five-hole, not upstairs, on Parent, whom he knows from home near Montreal.
"I owe that guy a beer at the end of the summer," Worrell said. "I looked in the corner of my eye after the goal, and I thought I saw Chris Wells') head hit off the ceiling."
Worrell said the milestone puck will go to his father, Earl.
"He has the first one from every other league, so I'll give the old man something else," Worrell said. "He'll be happy."
Worrell and Wells, who said he was nervous playing his first game since abdominal problems ended his season last year in March, arrived at the arena an hour before the game because of a late flight into Fort Lauderdale.
Worrell said this time he knew being late wasn't his fault.
"Peter went down with the right approach," coach Terry Murray said. "He was basically being punished for being late to practice, but he knew he messed up, and he paid his dues. If he's going to score goals like that, I have to figure out a way to use him more."
And Worrell would like to score more of them.
" Parrish) did a great job in his fight, and I was able to chip in with a goal," Worrell said. "Hopefully it helps my confidence a little, and I can do that more often.
"I know I have to work harder. That's what got me here, and that's what's going to keep me here. Any type of slacking on my part, I know I can be right back down to the minors, maybe for a longer visit. And that's what I definitely don't want."
ORGANIZATION: NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (93%);
COUNTRY: UNITED STATES (69%); CANADA (55%);
STATE: FLORIDA, USA (69%); ONTARIO, CANADA (55%);
COMPANY: NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (93%);
SUBJECT: SPORTS & RECREATION (90%); ICE HOCKEY (89%);
LOAD-DATE: February 11, 1999
GRAPHIC: PHOTO, Staff file photo/ROBERT DUYOS; This is more what you'd expect. Peter Worrell's good hands are best when his gloves are off.
Copyright 1999 Sun-Sentinel Company
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