The Wild will look to snap a three-game home winless streak tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs lost 6-1 last night but have been playing tight hockey for the most part and have points in 10 of their past 15 games.
Devan Dubnyk (12-7-2 with a 2.47 GAA and .912 SV%) vs. James Reimer (7-3-4 with a 2.07 GAA and .934 SV%) tonight.
Not much new around the Wild.
As you know, Mike Reilly was recalled, and if you read between the lines today, it largely had to do with getting him out of the toxic situation in Iowa temporarily (Baby Wild has lost 13 in a row and he’s a league-worst minus-23, which had to be weighing on him) and have him take some deep breaths, reset, work with Rick Wilson and Darryl Sydor and taste the NHL.
The team’s performance and the team’s health will determine if he plays. He won’t necessarily even be going on the road trip, especially because the Wild is millimeters from the cap ceiling and he’s got a big cap hit, especially when you take into consideration his potential bonuses.
I talked to assistant GM Brent Flahr a lot this morning about Reilly and I’ll write about that for tomorrow’s paper. Coach Mike Yeo said this isn’t a “sympathy callup,” and both Yeo and Flahr talked about how important Reilly is to the future of the organization.
“There’s been a learning curve, but he’s been significantly better lately,” Flahr, also Iowa’s GM, said. “We’ve changed some things in his game, but here it’s a refresher to just come up. We’ll see if he gets in a game, we’ll see, but as far as just learning and getting comfortable, this should help. He’ll go back there [to Iowa] at some point here, but at the same time, [Christian] Folin can go down and play games, too.”
Flahr said “it’s been a grind” for Reilly in Iowa. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a defenseman, if you’re playing that much down there, it’s hard to be a plus player right now the way the team’s going. For him, this will be a learning experience and should be a positive and then when he gets back there, he’ll continue his growth.”
I’ll have more on Reilly in tomorrow’s paper.
Today is 30 days from Tyler Graovac’s abdominal surgery. The protocol to return to play is six weeks, and if the Wild’s healthy, Flahr said his guess is Graovac will need a few games in Iowa to get up to speed. “He has missed a lot of time,” Flahr said.
Graovac will begin taking contact in a few days.
Graovac said he could barely walk the first week after surgery to repair two abdominal tears and to reattach his right groin. He could barely get out of bed.
“My first game back, professionals will say you can’t get too high, you can’t get too low, but I’m going to really enjoy it,” Graovac said. “I’m counting down the days. It feels like forever. Four weeks in, I never thought I’d be skating this well.”
Graovac played only the season opener in Colorado, but he said he didn’t really get hurt that game. It was wear and tear from training this summer, and I’ve reported numerous times, he had to stop training and skating at one point this summer because he was hurt.
He said, “I have no problems going down to Iowa. I would play anywhere as long as I’m healthy. … If I’m down in Iowa, I’ll work my way back up.”
Dubnyk’s wife is due with their second son tomorrow.
“I’m hoping he’ll come after the game tonight. It’d be perfect,” Dubnyk said. “But he can come whenever as long as he’s healthy.”
He definitely hopes his boy comes before the team leaves for Colorado on Sunday. He said it was a nerve-wracking few days in Chicago, “so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he decides to come before then.”
A bunch of us were trying to guess the boy’s name this morning. He wouldn’t give us the scoop.
I suggested Duby, but he said the Mrs. wouldn’t go for that. “How about Roose?” he said referring to my nickname.
I think that has a ring to it.
By the way, a lot of Wild fans lately have asked me if Oilers fans doooooooooooo’ed after he made saves there. I asked Dubnyk this morning: “Kinda. You never knew which one it was though. Some fans used a D in front, some a B.”
That’s it for moi.
Last chance for tonight’s Star Tribune Fans Night Out ticket package. It includes a lower-level ticket, a pregame Chalk Talk with myself and Mark Parrish and a bunch more. To buy tickets, go to wild.com/fansnightout.
Also, I’ll be on Fox Sports North tonight during Wild Live at 6:45 p.m. and the first intermission.
Saturday at 4 p.m., the next Russo-Souhan Show podcast will be taped at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub. Come on by.