WASHINGTON – Jordyn Leopold, the 10-year-old daughter of defenseman and Golden Valley native Jordan Leopold and author of the now-famous letter that implored the Wild to trade for her dad, will do the “Let’s Play Hockey” announcement before Sunday’s game against Colorado.
Jordyn is shy, so the Leopolds asked family friend Paul Allen, KFAN’s 9-to-noon host who helped the letter go viral Monday, to help Jordyn out.
“I was so touched,” Allen said. “No way I could say, ‘No.’ ”
Leopold became friends with Allen and former co-host Jeff Dubay 13 years ago when Leopold and former Gophers teammate Johnny Pohl did a weekly show during their senior year.
“It was great fun, we had a bunch of laughs and as we had success, things ramped up,” Leopold said, referring to an eventual national championship in 2002. “I have no aspirations to do TV [after I retire], but who knows, I have a face for radio, so maybe I’ll do radio. I’m not going to write, I promise you that.”
Leopold’s wife, Jamie, and the Wild have been inundated with dozens of national media requests since Jordyn’s letter. The family has decided to do one sit-down national interview, and that will be revealed soon.
“We’re humble, private people, so this is tough,” Jordan Leopold said. “I am very old school as far as technology. When everybody got BlackBerrys, I still had the old [flip] phone.
“Quite honestly, I don’t know how big it really is because I’m not on Twitter, not on Facebook, not on all the sites. The only thing I see is what’s on [the Star Tribune] and the TV. The response has been tremendous. My daughter has become somewhat of a folk hero or whatever you want to call it.”
Leopold knows when the Wild gets healthy on the back end, he is probably going to be in and out of the lineup.
But “whatever my role is here, I’m happy with it. This is home. This is where I always wanted to be. I can’t think of a better time to be here. Most likely I will end my career in this jersey. My family isn’t going to move again.”
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon missed his seventh game because of a concussion Thursday, but the defenseman is closing in on a return. Whether that comes Friday at Carolina might depend on the health of the lineup.
“It’s tough. Not a lot of practice time, so you use these pregame skates like practices,” Spurgeon said. “But it’s tough because with what I had, you can’t do much, so you lose it pretty fast when guys are playing every other day. I’m just trying to get back in shape as fast as possible.”
Spurgeon’s defense partner, Marco Scandella, missed his second game with what is believed to be an oblique injury. Coach Mike Yeo expects Scandella back in a week.
Too sick to continue
Defenseman Nate Prosser was back in the lineup after missing the second and third periods Tuesday against Ottawa because of food poisoning.
Prosser went for his normal pregame lunch and thinks he ate some bad chicken. He immediately knew something was wrong and, after a 90-minute nap, he woke up sick. He rushed to Xcel Energy Center for fluids, but he “violently” threw up 15 to 20 times.
Prosser gave the Wild seven first-period shifts before getting sick again during the first intermission.
“We only had five D, and I just thought I should try to help the guys out and try to get in as many minutes as I could,” Prosser said. “But it came to the point I couldn’t play.”
• Nino Niederreiter, the Wild’s second-leading goal scorer with 21, missed Thursday’s game because of a lower-body injury. He did skate Thursday morning and in pregame warmups. Jordan Schroeder replaced him in the lineup.