To our readers: Thank you for taking part in our Wild Mailbag this week. Please join us before tonight's game for a Wild pregame show on StribSports Live. It will be available here starting at 1 p.m.
Q: Does Boldy's rapid development take Greenway out of the long-term plan? — @steviemcfeely
Matt Boldy's season is off to a great start. After a strong debut with Boston College, Boldy had an impressive tournament at the IIHF World Junior Championship that culminated in him and Team USA winning gold. But his growth probably won't impact Jordan Greenway. Each player has a different style; while Boldy is more of a finesse winger, Greenway is a power forward – a big body who can be a handful to contain on the ice, as he demonstrated on the team's recent road trip where he racked up three assists. Boldy's addition to a lineup that includes Greenway is likely to make the team more well-rounded.
Q: The three defensemen on the second power play unit isn't going to become a regular thing, is it? — @timmyjo11
The Wild didn't go back to that look Wednesday in its 3-2 win over Anaheim after running it in Monday's 1-0 loss to the Ducks. But that's not to say the Wild doesn't try the setup again in the future. Coach Dean Evason has made it clear the Wild will change up its personnel on the power play when facing the same team in consecutive games, so it's possible the Wild utilizes defenseman Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin and Ryan Suter on the same unit again. The team introduced another tweak Wednesday, adding Joel Eriksson Ek to the mix. Consistent success might cut down on the turnover, same with more practice time. But being versatile is the Wild's aim.
Q: What is the daily schedule like for the taxi squad?How often can they practice?Can Kahkonen practice with them to try and stay sharp? – Bob via e-mail.
The schedule is similar to the routine for players on the active roster. Although its sessions are usually separate from the main group's, the taxi squad still practices and participates in a morning skate before the game. Backup goalie Kaapo Kahkonen practices with the Wild, but players who are scratched do tend to stay on the ice late and work extra reps.
Q:How weird is it still being in an empty arena covering the team? – Zach via e-mail.
After covering the Wild during the bubble playoffs in Edmonton, I'm starting to get used to the quieter setup. What's unique now is hearing how each arena uses the piped-in crowd noise; in Game 1 at Staples Center, the volume was at a constant roar before getting toned down in Game 2. At Honda Center in Anaheim, the fan feedback was reactive to what was happening on the ice. What also stood out in Anaheim was the Honda vehicles adjacent to the ice where fans would usually be sitting. Not a typical sight at a hockey game!