I told 'em, but nobody wants to listen to the lowly old sportswriter.
Before we continue, Russo Radio back on the air tonight at 6 p.m. CST on KSTP (am1500).
The Wild arrived at the Lightning's practice facility after a 15-minute dress-and-drive -- three words all NHL players hate. It's when you dress at the arena, but because of let's say, a Smoky Robinson Tribute (not kidding) making the arena unavailable, you then have to bus to another rink for practice in full gear.
That's not the hard part.
It's the bus ride back that really STINKS because players return to the arena wearing now wet, smelly gear. Let's hope the charter bus company buys Purell by the barrel.
So, when the team arrived to the practice facility, I went up to a few players and trainers and asked, "you sure you're on this rink?" because when I attended the Lightning practice a few hours earlier, I was told the Wild would be skating on the next rink over.
"Yup," everybody told me.
Suddenly, as practice was about to begin, a youth mom came running out and screamed, "Guys, you're on the wrong ice."
The Wild, winners of four of five, cowered. One by one, the players left and walked across to the next rink. It was just a funny scene. Then, an older gentleman screamed, "That's right, you tell Minnesota who we are. That's our ice, and tell them if they need any help, we got the players."
A couple weeks ago, the Wild might have taken the guy up on the offer. Now the Wild's en fuego, confident and riding high with consecutive road wins and the cure for the world's ill (I've had too much coffee today).
Good news. Wild survived last night healthy as all travelling members of the Wild's party practiced today.
The Lightning's also been playing well, coming off a 2-1-1 road trip, 2-0-1 in its past three. However, like the Wild last week, the team is coming off the exact same lull in the schedule. Riding high after a Saturday win, then off-day, off-day, off-day, off-day, game Thursday. The Wild lost the momentum against Vancouver. Will the same thing happen to Tampa Bay against the Wild?
We will see.
No GM's at today's practices as Chuck Fletcher and Brian Lawton remained in Toronto for Day 2 of the GM's shenanigans.
Forgot to mention this, but Todd Richards talked a lot today about how good of a job Owen Nolan's been doing, and how he wants to get him out onto the ice for more important faceoffs and also give him more ice time on the penalty kill. Nolan's been the good soldier playing a lot of shifts on the fourth line the last few weeks.
Richards also talked a lot today also about his recent timeouts. As I mentioned on twitter during the Dallas game, he took an astute one there in the second period on an icing, took another last night with 13 minutes left in the third after five guys were dead tired, etc., etc. I'll toss this stuff in a notebook in the future days. Remember, the Wild scored the winner last night by taking advantage of a dead-tired Toronto defense after an icing.
Couple news and notes from Lightning practice:
-- Chatted with Stephane Veilleux and Kurtis Foster this morning, but I'll save most the stuff for my game notebook Thursday for Friday. Originally, I was going to write them for Thursday's paper, but the Wild's riding high, so I felt I should do a story on, well, the Wild.
But Foster has been in and out of the lineup. He had a solid training camp, then got hurt Opening Night in a collision with that dirty Todd White, and ever since, he's had trouble getting back in. The one area that GM Brian Lawton's really done a good job with in Tampa Bay is the blue line, and Foster's been the victim of a numbers game. He played real well in Montreal on Saturday, but stud rookie Victor Hedman, who was concussed by a Chris Neil hit recently, is on his way back into the lineup. Foster skated with Minnesotan Matt Smaby (no games this year) today, which likely means Foster will be the casualty of Hedman's return.
Ping-pong star Stephane Veilleux, who turned down a two-year deal with San Jose to sign for one in Tampa Bay, is playing on a line with star sophomore Steven Stamkos and star Martin St. Louis. They both have 17 points (Stamkos 12 goals). Veilleux hasn't scored yet, but he's on the line. He's excited about playing the Wild tomorrow, and was real good today. But like I said, I'll hold most the stuff to run Friday.
Foster and Veilleux, who live right here on Harbor Island, are going out for dinner with a bunch of Wild players, including Nick Schultz, Mikko Koivu, Brent Burns, Andrew Brunette, Owen Nolan, Cal Clutterbuck, James Sheppard, Josh Harding and I'm sure others.
They're going to party like it's 2008 at, uh, Fogo de Chau on Hennepin Ave. (Hey, not kidding, Wild players love that joint, but aren't you happy I'm back anyway?)
What else? Oh, Todd Fedoruk says, "Wuz up?"
Random thought: Lightning fans suffered, but that earned the Lightning Steven Stamkos first overall, followed by Victor Hedman second overall, proving yet again, losing's the best way to help in the long-term.
Look at Pittsburgh. Look at Chicago. Look at. Look at. Look at.
Random thought No. 2: Another Mattias Ohlund vs. Mikko Koivu game tomorrow night.
Random thought No. 3: The great Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post tweeted this morning that Alex Ovechkin is questionable against the Wild on Friday, which is an upgrade from earlier status reports. If he plays, that is not good news for el Wild.
I know I had other stuff, but I should really write for the paper now. I'll throw other stuff on Thursday's blogs.
Remember, Russo Radio tonight at 6 on KSTP.