With the Jan. 14 season opener at Los Angeles less than a week away, the Wild will hold the first of two rehearsals on Friday at Xcel Energy Center. The team's 2020 first-round draft pick, Marco Rossi, won't be able to participate in the intrasquad scrimmage, coach Dean Evason said.
Evason said Rossi, who played for Austria in the World Junior Championship, won't be cleared from COVID-19 testing and quarantine in time for Friday's scrimmage. The coach was uncertain if the center would be available to participate in Sunday's second scrimmage.
"I don't expect anything at this point,'' Evason said after Thursday's training camp practices. "I don't know when he's going to be back. I just know he won't be available tomorrow.''
Rossi, the ninth overall pick the draft, is expected to compete for a roster spot. Evason said earlier in the week that he wants to ease Rossi into the training camp routine.
"We'll try to not throw him into the fire, obviously, into really high-paced drills and stuff,'' he said. "We'll probably start with some individual stuff and then move him into the team structure.''
Time to play
Evason is looking forward to the scrimmages, which will be 7 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Sunday. They will be streamed on the Wild's YouTube channel and broadcast on KFXN Radio (100.3-FM).
The plan is to play three 15-minute periods. After the first period and at the start of the third, the game will switch to about eight to 10 minutes of power-play action with each squad getting on the advantage four or five times. Players will remain in the same groups they've worked with this week.
"We'll still have a competitive game," Evason said. "We'll still have all of that for the competition of the 5-on-5, but we want to really work — as you've probably seen already through the first day — we're going to work on the power play every single day."
Just getting back in the arena for a game-type situation for the first time since March will be a highlight for the coach.
"We've put in a new coat of paint, some new signage,'' he said of the locker room areas. "We've tried to change some stuff, obviously, to freshen things up and to put our stamp on things visually. The guys will be excited. I know we're excited.''
Kirill killin' it
Russian winger Kirill Kaprizov continued to impress with a couple of highlights from Thursday's morning session.
During power play drills, Kaprizov sent a cross-ice saucer pass through traffic to Kevin Fiala, who promptly tapped the puck into the open net, drawing hoots and hollers from teammates.
Later during penalty shot practice, Kaprizov's quick hands were on display during a successful backhander into the upper right corner.