Wild at Edmonton Oilers tonight at the Rex, which isn’t as cool as the X, but they do sell Starbucks in the concessions area here and have the best press box sightlines in the NHL.
Good day from Edmonton, where I’m a little sore from my curling match last night. I was on captain Anthony Lapanta’s team, and we lost by one to captain Mike Greenlay’s team after Greenhorn himself hit an amazing final shot to knock us out of the house.
This may shock you, but I was the worst curler, and the most embarrassing-looking one. And probably the sorest one today. I have a new appreciation of the curling, that’s for sure. It’s not just shuffleboard on ice.
I’ll be on KFAN with Dan the Man Barreiro at 3:55 p.m. CT.
Tonight’s Wild game is on FSN++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++, so don’t ask again.
Devan Dubnyk vs. Ben Scrivens tonight, so don’t ask again.
With defenseman Jared Spurgeon day-to-day with what I believe are concussion-like symptoms (Yeo confirmed to me there was no broken jaw as some feared), rookie defenseman Christian Folin was recalled from AHL Iowa. He’ll play on the right of Nate Prosser (see feature I wrote on Prosser and his propensity to get demolished in games here) tonight and rookie Matt Dumba, who had elevated responsibilities when Spurgeon went down and responded by having what coach Mike Yeo called his best game as a pro in Calgary) will move up and play with Marco Scandella.
Folin was sent to Iowa on Feb. 12 because he was going to be scratched for a seventh consecutive game. With few practices because of the suddenly condensed schedule, the Wild felt it was important for him to go down and play after playing once in three weeks (including the All-Star break).
Folin was admittedly rusty in Iowa and was minus-8 in four games for lousy Iowa. His last NHL game was at Edmonton on Jan. 27, a game that precipitated his healthy scratch two days later in Calgary and the subsequent string of scratches because the Wild got on a tear.
“It was a long break for me, especially with the All-Star break, too,” Folin said. “Not playing for six games is tough. In the back of my head, I wanted to play games and it was good I could go down there and play some games. It was helpful. The first game wasn’t great, but I think I kept building my game up to where it was before I got scratched a few times.”
Stu Bickel was reassigned to make room for Folin.
On Dumba’s elevation, Yeo said, “For young players coming off a real good game, I think sometimes that’s the challenge for these guys. How do you respond to that? Are you able to come back and remember the things that you did to make you play well or do you just come back into the game with an assumption that it’s going to go the same way? So that’ll be a good test for him. I think he should be excited for the opportunity, a little bit more ice time, a little bit more role and responsibility. If he handles it the right way in terms of managing the game and looking for those opportunities to make those great games that like he scored that goal [in Calgary] but also an understanding that every play doesn’t have to be a home run, then he should be fine.”
Yeo reminds me of a school teacher these days that has to teach the same lesson from period to period. He has gotten real good at answering questions about Devan Dubnyk and the talking points are the same yet evolve. We’re on kind of the Devan Dubnyk tour for the second time in three weeks. He played junior hockey in BC, he’s a Calgary native and he played in Edmonton, so he has been front-page material in every city and in the national papers in Canada.
He’ll be front-page material in Sunday’s Star Tribune as I profile him again.
Kyle Brodziak will play his 600th game tonight against the franchise that it all started for him. Quite an accomplishment if you do the math because this is really his eighth full season. In six years with the Wild, he has missed three games due to injury (one) or illness (two).
Brodziak is in the final year of his contract. He knows he could be trade bait by the March 2 deadline, although with the Wild fighting for a playoff spot, GM Chuck Fletcher may not want to trade a penalty killer and centerman (he has been mostly playing wing though the past few weeks).
“Every day you think about it,” Brodziak said. “I don’t know really what’s going to happen. I’ve had a long time to think about it. Whatever happens, I just have to be ready for it. If nothing happens, then I’ll be ready to stay here and help out as much as I can.”
Last year, the Wild came to Edmonton and not long after acquired Ilya Bryzgalov. The Wild needs a defenseman and rental Jeff Petry is on the block. He’s out tonight with a rib problem, but he’s having a decent season. Fletcher was seen chatting with Oilers GM Craig MacTavish this morning.
Problem with Petry is he’s a right-shot D and the Wild’s biggest need is left-shot, although Prosser has been doing a solid job at left D the past 11 games (9-1-1, even or plus in all 11 games).
Talk to ya later.