Good morning (soon to be afternoon) from the press box overlooking a vacant sheet of ice and eerily silent arena.
I hope you got a chance to read today's Kyle Brodziak feature, which can be found here. I actually decided to write it after the Anaheim game, a game Brodziak personally took it upon himself to step up after an embarrassing performance the night before in LA. Brodziak really went after the team after the Kings game, and like all leaders do, he was accountable and sweat all over the ice the next night. There's also a Star Tribune produced video you can check out above the story.
The Wild got done with its morning skate about an hour ago and Predators coach Barry Trotz gathered his team together for an 11 a.m. meeting only. The Preds have lost a couple in a row and got trounced last night at home by the Edmonton Oilers, who are also already in Minnesota for Friday's game against the Wild.
Niklas Backstrom gets the start tonight against the Predators and right now I'm assuming the Predators come back with Pekka Rinne, Backstrom's old Karpat Oulu backup. Rinne got pulled after the first period last night though.
Marco Scandella makes his return for the Wild. He missed four games with a concussion. The Wild will go back to pre-LA game defense pairings -- Scandella with Jared Spurgeon, Nick Schultz with Clayton Stoner and Justin Falk with Nate Prosser.
Same lines as usual.
Greg Zanon and Mike Lundin both partook in today's morning skate fully and are getting closer.
Lundin concurred with the Wild's report on Houston -- very rusty in Game 1, very comfortable in Game 2. But he needs some more practices. Maybe he gets in against his old team -- Tampa Bay -- on Monday? If so, hopefully he gets a game before. Can you imagine your first NHL game since May being against Stamkos, Lecavalier and St. Louis?
Mike Yeo said with so many D around, it's important that Wild defensemen continue to perform (that's the Cliff's Notes version, at least).
Lundin will get to have his first Minnesota Thanksgiving since high school at his folks' Apple Valley home. He's excited.
Nick Schultz got a haircut.
Mikko Koivu had to be reminded by me that it's Saku's birthday (I'm creepy that way).
Not much: Wild's won five in a row and hopes to continue its winning ways. After being idle since Saturday, the Wild's still technically first in the NHL.
Talk to ya tonight.