My second favorite day of training camp is the first. My favorite day is the last. Everything else in between feels like, yuck, work.
Well folks, training camp is officially over, and the 2011-12 season is officially upon us!
The Wild put in a final up-tempo practice this morning down at the X, and the Columbus Blue Jackets should arrive into town around 11 p.m. for Saturday night's opener after hosting Nashville tonight.
Good thing that game's in Columbus, otherwise the Jackets would have no shot. Nothing's more a given than a Columbus loss in Nashville. Well, maybe a Wild loss in Dallas. But other than that, nothing.
I'll be on Fox 9 Sports Primetime tonight at 10:15 p.m. I'll also be on KFAN Saturday at 5:45 p.m. live from the front of the X, and I'll be on the Fox Sports North pregame show right inside of Gate 1 entry at 6:30 p.m.
Hopefully you checked out today's Dany Heatley profile. If not, go to startribune.com/wild
Couple housekeeping items:
--Eric Nystrom cleared waivers and was reassigned to Houston. He'll be in the Aeros' Sunday lineup against the Texas Stars for their opener -- barring a trade or maybe a claim on re-entry waivers if the Wild ever decides to go that route. If the Wild really, really wants to get out of the contract, taking a contract back via trade or trying to entice another team to take Nystrom at half his $1.4 million salary via re-entry would be the best ways to do it.
-- Nick Schultz will be a full-time alternate captain this season, while Matt Cullen and Dany Heatley will share the other 'A." Cullen will wear the A at home in the first half, Heatley on the road. In the second half, that'll flip.
-- Looks like Matt Kassian will be taken off IR Saturday and he'd play depending on the toughness of Columbus' lineup, it sounds like.
-- Edmonton injured defenseman Taylor Fedun was aiming to get out of the hospital today in St. Paul and return to his hometown of Edmonton. He's in good spirits, said GM Chuck Fletcher, who has visited Fedun along with owner Craig Leipold, fellow Princeton alums Darroll Powe and Brent Flahr and Tom Reid.
-- No update on Mike Lundin, but he's apparently getting better from his back injury.
-- Todd Richards comes to town Saturday as Columbus' assistant for his first return to Minnesota.
Lines for tomorrow:
One of four guys
Based feels after today
Yeo on Saturday:
"I expect us to play the system very well tomorrow. I expect us to, like in every game, you're going to have ups and downs and there probably will be a breakdown here or there, but I'm confident that the guys have a very good grasp of what it is we’re trying to do and the way we have to play the game. Now where the questions need to be answered is how do we respond when the pressure's on, or how do we respond when there’s adversity in the game or how do we respond when you maybe get up a couple goals, and the tendency is to drop your urgency level? Are we able to keep our focus, keep our execiution level at a 10 in those moments?"
When the Wild is playing well, expect the Wild to do the majority of the forechecking, of getting pucks behind the D, of the defensemen keeping the play in front of them and not joining the attack a ton.
The core of the Wild's game is very similar to Pittsburgh's, at least that's what Minnesota hopes.
Watch the Pens, it's the same system. Listen to coach Dan Bylsma speak, Yeo says virtually the same stuff. After all, they worked together in Pittsburgh.
Yeo said he hopes that some of the Wild players watched Pittsburgh's game vs. Vancouver last night to see the way their D were executing, the way they get the puck up ice quickly, the way the team as a whole has a mentality of getting to the offensive zone and playing there.
That was at least in the first half of the game before the Canucks rally.
OK, that's it. I have a ton of work to do. Catch you Saturday after the morning skates.