Greetings from humid South Florida, where I returned today because of a family situation that has kept me out of town for much of May.
There literally has been nothing going on with the Wild though. I'm already ready for training camp, which begins Sept. 11.
Organizational meetings between the Wild front office, coaching staff and scouting staff begin next week, and that's when the direction of this offseason will become clearer.
But the last month has mostly been about decompressing. The next week will be about analysis. And starting the second week of June, GM Chuck Fletcher will begin going about his offseason business.
I have a few Wild items in Friday's newspaper, so check those stories out.
This week, Wild assistant GM Brent Flahr and his staff has been in Toronto for the draft combine since Sunday. Fletcher has arrived as well. All league GM's are there, so this is typically when the trade talks begin that often transpire around the draft.
In fact, if you remember at the combine in 2011, that is when I reported that the Cam Barker buyout was in the works and that is when the idea of Martin Havlat waiving his no-trade clause was first broached between Fletcher and agent Allan Walsh. It was also there when the Atlanta Thrashers staff was pretty much axed with the move to Winnipeg and when I wrote a few times that I kept spotting then-Columbus GM Scott Howson and GM Paul Holmgren meeting in the hotel restaurant. A few weeks later, the Blue Jackets acquired Jeff Carter on the eve of the draft in Minnesota.
So the combine is big for GM's as well as the scouts.
Like I said, please check out tomorrow's stories.
Playoffs have been awesome so far, and Chicago even won Game 7 twice -- much to the relief of the NHL. Here are the upcoming conference finals schedules between the last four Stanley Cup winners (56 players on these four teams have their names on Cups), as well as info for the upcoming Minnesota Wild Road Tour:
2013 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
SERIES M TIME (ET) #1 Pittsburgh vs. #4 Boston Networks
Saturday, June 1 8 p.m. Boston at Pittsburgh NBC, CBC, RDS
Monday, June 3 8 p.m. Boston at Pittsburgh NBC Sports Network, CBC, RDS
Wednesday, June 5 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at Boston NBC Sports Network, CBC, RDS
Friday, June 7 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at Boston NBC Sports Network, CBC, RDS
*Sunday, June 9 8 p.m. Boston at Pittsburgh NBC Sports Network, CBC, RDS
*Tuesday, June 11 TBD Pittsburgh at Boston NBC Sports Network. CBC, RDS
*Wednesday, June 12 TBD Boston at Pittsburgh NBC Sports Network, CBC, RDS
2013 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
SERIES N TIME (ET) #1 Chicago vs. #5 Los Angeles Networks
Saturday, June 1 5 p.m. Los Angeles at Chicago NBC Sports Network, TSN, RDS
Sunday, June 2 8 p.m. Los Angeles at Chicago NBC Sports Network, TSN, RDS
Tuesday, June 4 9 p.m. Chicago at Los Angeles NBC Sports Network, TSN, RDS
Thursday, June 6 9 p.m. Chicago at Los Angeles NBC Sports Network, CBC, RDS
*Saturday, June 8 8 p.m. Los Angeles at Chicago NBC, CBC, RDS
*Monday, June 10 9 p.m. Chicago at Los Angeles NBC Sports Network, CBC, RDS
*Wednesday, June 12 TBD Los Angeles at Chicago NBC Sports Network, CBC, RDS
CITIES ANNOUNCED FOR 2013 WELLS FARGO MINNESOTA WILD ROAD TOUR
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild today announced the stops for the 2013 Wells Fargo Minnesota Wild Road Tour, which will visit 18 cities in three states from June 24-26, leading into the Summer Bash at the John Rose OVAL in Roseville on Thursday, June 27, from 6-9 p.m. Exact locations and times will be announced soon.
Leg one will include players Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker, along with original Wild Wes Walz, and will make stops in Moorhead and Park Rapids on June 24, Wadena and Alexandria on June 25, and St. Cloud and Hutchinson on June 26.
The second leg features Josh Harding and Nate Prosser, and will make stops in Ely and Virginia on June 24, Two Harbors and Cloquet on June 25, and Brainerd and Elk River on June 26. Prosser is a native of Elk River, which is the host city for 2014 Wells Fargo Hockey Day Minnesota.
Leg three includes Clayton Stoner and Darcy Kuemper, and it will visit Eau Claire, Wisc., and La Crosse, Wisc., on June 24, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Des Moines, Iowa, on June 25, and Albert Lea and Northfield on June 26. Des Moines is the new home of the Wild’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Wild, starting in the 2013-14 season.
The first 100 fans at each location will receive a 2013 Wells Fargo Minnesota Wild Road Tour pin.
The 2013 Wells Fargo Minnesota Wild Road Tour will culminate in the Summer Bash at the John Rose OVAL in Roseville on Thursday, June 27, from 6-9 p.m. The Summer Bash will include live music, autographs from all six players on the Road Tour, interactive games, photo opportunities and more.