Just a strange night all the way around here at American Airlines Center, from the start where Marek Zidlicky is pulled from the lineup moments before a big game, to the very end of the evening where he looked to be leaving the rink with the Wild so he could fly back to Minnesota with the team that just traded him to New Jersey.
Very kind of the Wild to do that for a player that begged off.
Let’s first talk about the trade, then very briefly about a game I barely watched (by the way, sorry about the very tiny early blog and almost no tweets tonight. I had major, major, catastrophic Internet issues. I basically had to write the article without looking any stuff up).
On Feb. 15, I got word from Zidlicky’s agent that he had waived his no-trade clause to go to New Jersey.
I then texted back and forth with Kurtis Foster because I was told (and alluded on the blog that morning) that he would be coming back to Minnesota because 1) Zidlicky would take his spot; 2) The Wild would need a right-shot power-play guy back to fill Zidlicky’s role.
Minutes later, I talked to a Devils writer pal of mine and we guessed that Nick Palmieri had to be in the deal because strangely the Devils called him up and didn’t play him the night before in Buffalo. In fact, I bookmarked this article (check out if you want to read Pete DeBoer’s quotes from last month) to refer back to if it ever did happen. It outlines his troubles this season in NJ compared to last season, where he seemed to be breaking out.
Anyway, shortly after this conversation with my writer buddy, Chuck Fletcher called me up and said he had not gone to Zidlicky with anything yet because he had nothing for him to say yes or no to. If you want to go back and look at those blogs and articles, either backtrack on the page or look it up in the search field
Then, of course, all heck broke loose in the next few days. Zidlicky would be scratched the next two games and this finally came to a boil after he had originally asked to be traded Jan. 31.
My sense is a trade was supposed to happen that day. I know Fletcher denies this. But at the very, very, very least, Zidlicky thought it was supposed to because why on Earth would he let his agent publicly say he was willing to go to NJ? For some reason, it never got done, maybe because the Wild was still looking for future assets.
That’s very possible. The Wild got a considerable price back for Zidlicky considering he wanted out, had no goals and had another year left on his deal at $4 million.
It gets back Foster, Palmieri, Stephane Veilleux, Washington’s 2012 second-rounder and a conditional 2013 third. The second replaces the one the Wild traded to San Jose in the Brent Burns deal (now owned by Tampa).
But at the end of the season, it could very well be Palmieri and a second for Zidlicky because Foster and Veilleux will have to earn new contracts (they’re unrestricted) and the Wild only gets the third if New Jersey advances to the conference finals (certainly a possibility because they’re playing better than many in the East).
Right now, I think it’s a good trade. First, Zidlicky needed to go. He wasn't happy here anymore (and let me just make this clear because I know his name has been slaughtered, Zidlicky is not a bad guy). I do hear real good things about Palmieri and his potential upside. He’s 6-foot-3, has skill, is smooth-skating. Some say he can be a potential top-2 line guy. We will see. I’m not going to pretend to say I know a lot about him, but some Jersey writers think he’s a potential player, two scouts I talked to this past week like him a lot and Foster spoke glowingly.
Obviously, we know what we’re getting with Foster and Veilleux. Fletcher hopes they’re enough, along with Palmieri, to supply a boost to help this team for a playoff push.
After tonight’s loss, that’ll be tough. A Wild win, and Dallas is at 66, tied with Calgary, LA and Colorado and the Wild would be at 65.
Instead, the Wild lost 4-1, and Dallas is 8th at 68, follow at 66 by Calgary, LA and Colorado and the Wild is jammed down in 12th at 63 points.
Punch to the gut loss.
The Wild just had no urgency tonight, and a couple of their guys had real tough nights. Nate Prosser was minus-3, Marco Scandella, Erik Christensen, Dany Heatley and Kyle Brodziak were minus-2.
The only good looks at the net the Wild really had came on the power play. Yeo guessed five 5-on-5 scoring chances and said it was hard to explain why the execution was so bad. He said it wasn’t fatigue.
“I mean, our execution was really bad,” Yeo said. “You look at how many five-to-10 foot passes we couldn’t connect on. Everything just seemed to be a broken play. … We weren’t together all night.”
Could it have been Zidlicky being yanked at the last minute? Actually, Fletcher didn’t even tell Yeo why he was pulling him, other than to say to “protect the club’s interests.” Obviously, he had an idea, as did the players. It wasn’t until the first intermission that the players really found out the details of the trade.
“I don’t think you can blame this game on that trade,” Yeo said “I guess it depends on what the players want to allow it to do. Maybe it can excite you, maybe it can motivate you, maybe you can use it as an excuse. I don’t know. I don’t think that had anything to do with the way we played the game tonight or the result.”
Alarming lack of urgency though, and Yeo said he’s excited to have three NHL players walk in the locker room Sunday and create some internal competition the team lacks because of the amount of injuries.
Palmieri and Foster will definitely play the Sharks. Veilleux was assigned to Houston but should be recalled. I’m assuming Josh Harding will be able to dress Sunday, meaning Matt Hackett could be the roster move.
A loss Sunday, and we may see some more moves Monday. Maybe Harding gone? maybe Greg Zanon?
Anyway, the Zidlicky saga is over, and the Wild creates some more cap room for next year, so win-win from an organizational point of view because it gives it more flexibility this summer to go after another New Jersey player and maybe a certain Nashville defenseman.
Players were excited about the returns of Foster and Veilleux in the room – two very popular teammates.
I think most intriguing the rest of the way will be to watch Palmieri and see if this kid’s a player.
May be no blog Saturday barring news. As of now, no practice.

And without further ado, I did a fun exercise on Twitter today at www.twitter.com/russostrib and asked followers to fill in the blank: Last time the Wild won in Dallas, _____________

I got bombarded. Here are some of the good ones:

My entry: The last time the Wild won in Dallas, a silver-haired Sid Hartman was the beat writer.
My editor's: last time the Wild won in Dallas Russo's Sunday notebook wasn't 75 lines overset?
Last tie the Wild won in Dallas Mike Yeo had a full head of hair.
Last time the Wild won in Dallas, the Wild travelled by charter horse-drawn carriage.
Last time the Wild won in Dallas, the Petrified Forest was considered "A bunch of old logs"

Last time the Wild won in Dallas, the Grand Canyon was a minor valley.

Last time the Wild won in Dallas, "Ocean's Eleven" was an old Sinatra flick.

Last time the Wild won in Dallas, the Statue of Liberty hadn't yet turned green.

Last time Wild won in Dallas, Norm Green was more popular than Jerry Jones.

Last time the wild won in Dallas I was excited about becoming a home owner

Last time the WIld won in Dallas, Brent Burns only had one snake.

last time the wild won in dallas, the Thrashers were a thriving franchise.

Mike Yeo was taking his last HS psych test

"I cheered so hard I fell off my dinosaur

Fox was still broadcasting NHL Games with the "glow puck" and HD meant Heavy Duty!

Last time the Wild won in Dallas, Bartman could still live at home in anonymity.

Tom Reid still had dark hair.

I could fill my gas tank for $20... (It cost me $74 today...)

last time the Wild won in Dallas the metrodome was state of the art

wild had no first round busts drafted

Jerry Jones' face had feeling.

Matt Kassian was fighting in diapers...and winning!!!

Last time the Wild won in Dallas, wait, we've won in Dallas before?

Chris Simon was a viable trade deadline pick-up.

An errant slapshot flew off the grassy knoll to disastrous consequences.

Last time Wild won in Dallas, Wild fans had no idea who the Fla. Panthers were.

Last time the Wild won in Dallas, the Russo clan had just come from the Old Country to Long Island.

Last time the Wild won in Dallas, Russo didn't mention Florida in his blog

The national debt was only $10,547,778,943,202.50

We used to say Zid-licky. It wasn't Zidlitschkey.

the ice was cleaned by Frank Zamboni himself using his first prototype machine.

Clutterbuck couldn't grow a beard yet.

Last time the Wild won in Dallas, hockey skates were whale bones tied to your shoes

Last time the Wild won in Dallas, it was reported in the MInneapolis Tribune AND the Minneapolis Star.