Get used to the Vancouver Canucks, the Wild's old Northwest Division rival. The Wild, after not seeing Vancouver yet this season, plays the Canucks in three of its next eight games.
The Wild visits for a noon matinee (2 p.m. CT) Sunday and may be without its No. 1 defenseman.
Ryan Suter, who got banged up Tuesday in Edmonton, missed his second practice this week Saturday and coach Mike Yeo indicated that he's questionable to play against the Canucks. Suter, who has been visibly limping ever since the Oilers game and didn't take part in the Wild's off-ice workout at its hotel Friday, may not be the one to decide if he plays.
Yeo said if the Wild feels this is an injury that is going to nag him for three weeks, the team will be careful with him and hold him out against the Canucks. It would be a big loss as he's been one of the team's best defensemen the past three games.
If Suter doesn't play (would be his first non-mumps, non-suspension related Wild absence), Christian Folin will draw back into the lineup and be paired with Jonas Brodin.
Also, Justin Fontaine is sidelined with a groin injury, and with groins, it's unknown right now if it'll be a short-term thing or this may linger for awhile. Erik Haula, scratched the past two, will center Matt Cooke with Kyle Brodziak moving to right wing. The other three lines remain the same.
The big thing the Wild wants better from Haula is board play and puck protection. He has been working on that after practices all week with assistant coach Darby Hendrickson.
If you didn't see, this is my story today on the potential of Devan Dubnyk returning to the Wild next season and how that affects Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom.
This is the 12th time in franchise history the Wild has played Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver on the same road trip. After winning at Edmonton and Calgary, this will be the Wild’s second chance to sweep. It accomplished that only once – March 13-17, 2007. In fact, this is only the third time in 12 three-game western Canadiens trips that the Wild has won two games on the three-game swing.
The Wild has won two in a row in Vancouver after a stretch in which it went 0-9-2 there. The Canucks have lost two of their past three and are 4-5 in their past nine. Minnesota has allowed one goal total in its past two victories.
The Wild will miss Sunday's Super Bowl. It'll be in the air for most the game. The team tried to get a charter with satellite TV, but Delta doesn't have any available.
That's it for now. Assistant coach Darryl Sydor will get to watch the junior team he partially owns, WHL Kamloops (Devan Dubnyk's old team), play the Vancouver Giants tonight. Kamloops, who is coached by former NHL and Giants coach and North Stars draft pick Don Hay, is owned by Sydor, Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan, Mark Recchi and Stars owner Tom Gaglardi.