Wild coach Todd Richards and defenseman Marek Zidlicky had a long huddle on the ice during the tail end of the morning skate.
Afterward, both pronounced Zidlicky a "gametime decision" to play against the Ducks. I've got to think now that means he's in. He's bee n practicing and skating, so what could really happen in warmups to make him suddenly think he's not ready?
Zidlicky said his shot is as good as before he got hurt. Full range of motion, strength. The big question is how does he handle the first big hit? As he said, at some point he's got to find out because that's not going to happen in practice.
He's battled, he's taken contact. But Cal Clutterbuck's not about to line him up and see if his shoulder is good.
"I'm doing everything like it's a gameday," Zidlicky said. "I pushed myself hard today."
If Zidlicky plays, coach Todd Richards indicated he'd go with seven defensemen. That likely means Brad Staubitz would sit.
"That's our thought," Richards said of playing 7 D. "Just protect him. Conditioning wise, we don't where he's at. Physical-wise, we don't know where he's at. ... Who's to say he doesn't reinjure it, reaggravate it? Hopefully everything goes fine and it's nothing we have to worry about. But we have to protect ourselves."
Niklas Backstrom in the cage. Richards said he won't go chasing a matchup like many coaches do, especially Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. But he's got no qualms going top line vs. top line tonight even if Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are out there.
Richards played psychologist today. The standings are dejecting when you've played so well and find yourself three back, so he told them, "We've done some good things the games that we've lost. You can't focus on the results, just focus on the process. Process is doing the right things, and if we do the right things enough throughout a game, hopefully you get rewarded for it at the end of the game."
Reports are Tomas Kaberle deal is done. After 22 years of Kaberle to Boston rumors, it's finally done. The deal will take place, I'm sure, after Boston unloads at least one player today, which appears to be Blake Wheeler (no, not to Minnesota) Updated, Wheeler was traded to Atlanta in a package, which allowed Boston to execute Kaberle package with Toronto
As for the Wild, again, the Wild is not selling. The goal is still to make the playoffs with this group and not just dish off their potential free agents for mid-round draft picks. My guess is the only way Chuck Fletcher trades his UFA's is if he buys and sells -- i.e. gets guys back now that can help now.
But Zidlicky's coming back, maybe tonight. Guillaume Latendresse may get cleared to practice soon. He's seeing Dr. Chris Larson on Monday. GM Chuck Fletcher is banking on those guys being the big help down the stretch.
Again, the Wild is not going to pay a first-round pick for a Kris Versteeg or Mike Fisher caliber player. Just not happening. They're not at that stage. It's an inflated market right now, as it usually is as the deadline approaches.
The goal is to make the playoffs. But the options of external help is limited when you're not trading your first-rounder or 2010 first- or second-rounders and you're not looking to trade your UFA's. Remember, this is not the time you usually get what you want for guys with term left on their deals.
Those aren't the type of trades made at the trade deadline. It's usually rentals getting moved.
Added below quote
"We have nothing imminent right now. It's a very expensive marketplace to get into if you want to get into it," Fletcher said.
I'll write more about this in tomorrow's paper and my Sunday column.