On Thursday, from 4-4:30 p.m. at the Star Tribune booth at the State Fair, I will be there with Wild coach Mike Yeo for a Minnesota Wild Q and A with fans.
A year ago when Yeo visited the Star Tribune booth, he was wide-eyed and champing at the bit to begin his first training camp as an NHL head coach, which was only a few weeks away.
Yeo's second training camp is in jeopardy as an NHL lockout looks more and more likely, but for Yeo, it's business as usual as he and his staff prepare for a first season with newcomers Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Zenon Konopka, Torrey Mitchell, likely Mikael Granlund and possibly Jake Dowell.
The Wild made so many significant moves this offseason and have so many prospects ready to burst onto the scene, the early prediction by many is a playoff berth. The Hockey News picked the Wild fifth in the West. Last I looked, Bovada jumped the Wild to 18-1 to win the Stanley Cup.
Have a question for the Wild coach?
Be sure to stop by the Star Tribune booth at the State Fair from 4-4:30 p.m. Thursday. The booth is about 100 yards in front of the grandstand on the far side of Grandstand Ramp. It's on the north side of Carnes between Chambers and Nelson.
If you can't make the Q and A with Yeo, by all means, please leave your question for Yeo in the comment section. I will choose the best questions, ask Yeo and pass along his answers on this blog at a later date.
Today, in New York, the latest talks between the NHL and NHLPA will take place. Reportedly, the NHL may make another proposal. In the room for the NHL will be Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. In the room for the NHLPA will be Executive Director Donald Fehr and his brother, Steve.
With the NHL saying the players will be locked out if there's no agreement by Sept. 15 and the NHLPA saying, "the players aren't afraid of a lockout," the two sides aren't on the same galaxy right now in what's quickly becoming contentious negotiations.
There is nothing going on with the Wild right now. Its business is done until it sees where they're at in training camp, as GM Chuck Fletcher has said on countless occasions.
Remember, if a lockout is looming Sept. 15, there will surely be a mass exodus of reassignments on Sept. 14. Before the last lockout, all entry-level contracts and non-waiver players could be sent to the AHL, so expect the Wild to send all of its prospects to Houston except its 2012 draft picks (Matt Dumba, etc.) and possibly Jonas Brodin, whom the Wild must decide if it wants to have him play in Houston this season or return to Sweden.
Before the last lockout, you could also send any two-way contract to the minors. But if that player requires waivers to get there, you would be risking a claim by another team just as if it happened during the season. In Sept. 2004, Columbus claimed Francois Beauchemin when Montreal tried to get him to the minors. He played all year in Syracuse.
Speaking of prospects, Charlie Coyle is in Toronto today taking part in the NHLPA's Rookie Showcase.