For the first time in nine games defenseman Jared Spurgeon will suit up for the Wild tonight when the team hosts Colorado at Xcel Energy Center. Out eight games with a head injury, Spurgeon will return, which means Christian Folin will sit. Wild coach Mike Yeo said pre-game that Spurgeon and recently-acquired Jordan Leopold – whose daughter will make the “Lets’s play hockey’’ chant tonight – will see a lot of time together on the ice.
Meanwhile, Thomas Vanek will return after missing one game with the flu.
This is the final game between these two teams this season, and the bad blood that has been building between them have many thinking tonight’s game could be an eventful one. Listening to the two coaches tonight, pregame, I have a slightly different opinion.
Yeo, of course, said all the right things about controlling emotions. “I think a lot of these things are hyped up and built up more than what they end up being,” he said. “I know for them, it’s a pivotal game. Critical. So I would expect them to come out and focus on their game.’’
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy, meanwhile, went off on a strange tangent, taking issue with a locally-written report suggesting there was no love lost between the two teams. Roy went so far as to depict Cody McLeod as a noble warrior whose good name is being questioned. Bottom line, though, is that Roy suggested that playing hockey was more important than anything else. We’ll see in about an hour.