short takes

Praise for his mentor

Nick Schultz, the Wild's all-time leader with 743 games, was back in St. Paul recently after signing a one-year deal with Philadelphia last summer. The Wild's Jared Spurgeon was excited to see Schultz resurrect his career in Philly after a couple tough years in Edmonton and Columbus. By all accounts, he has been the Flyers' most consistent defenseman and leads them with a plus-8.

"To see how professional he was and how hard he worked was huge for my career," Spurgeon said. "He's just an all-around great guy, and it shows when you work as hard as he does, it'll come around."

Beginning of the end?

It can be unforgiving the way careers end, and Dany Heatley's NHL career appears close to being over.

The former Wild veteran cleared waivers and surprisingly accepted a reassignment from the Anaheim Ducks to AHL Norfolk last week.

After a solid training camp, Heatley sustained a groin injury and never really caught up. How long the 33-year-old accepts riding buses, though, is a big question. Perhaps, some have suggested, he goes to Germany to finish his career playing alongside his brother, Mark.

Since Heatley entered the NHL in 2001-02, the former two-time 50-goal, 100-point scorer ranks fifth with 372 goals and second with 143 power-play goals.

Big money for the kid

Nick Bjugstad, the kid who graduated from Blaine High School and the University of Minnesota in three years each, didn't waste time signing a six-year, $24.6 million extension with the Florida Panthers.

"I really like it down here, and the security is nice," said Bjugstad, the Panthers' leading scorer. "We have a good thing going. We're going to have some really good chances in the playoffs the next few years, and that contributed to my decision."