The Wild’s training camp continued Saturday with the team’s second day of on-ice work at Xcel Energy Center. Forward Zach Parise, who is dealing with a back injury, sat out again, as he did Friday. Coach Bruce Boudreau doesn’t think Parise’s injury will be a long-term issue.
“I haven’t talked to (trainer John Worley) yet,’’ Boudreau said. “But I did talk to Zach, and he said it felt better today. I’ll find out more by the end of the day.’’
Saturday, the Wild did lots of high-tempo, five-on-five work, with some emphasis on neutral-zone defense. Winger Tyler Ennis remained in Parise’s spot on a line alongside Eric Staal and Nino Niederreiter. Other line combinations among the top guys in camp were the same as Friday.
Boudreau kept intact the trio of Jason Zucker, Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund, which worked so well last season. He created a big-boy line with Marcus Foligno, Joel Eriksson Ek and Charlie Coyle, a group that skated really well together on Saturday. The fourth line consists of Daniel Winnik, Matt Cullen and Chris Stewart.
The coach was loath to single out anyone for individual praise after only two days of camp, but he likes what he’s seen so far.
“The veteran guys are all in really good shape,’’ he said. “That really makes you feel good when you see that. Collectively, I think the group played at a high pace, and it was pretty good for a second day into training camp.’’
One guy who did catch Boudreau’s eye was former St. Cloud State forward Ryan Malone, who was invited to camp on a pro tryout. Malone hasn’t played for two years, but he is hoping to at least get an AHL contract, which would allow him to try for a spot on the U.S. team for the Olympics in February. Malone played 11 NHL seasons, spending time with Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers.
“I’m very surprised—pleasantly, by the way,’’ Boudreau said of Malone, who played in a group with Ivan Lodnia, Pat Cannone and Adam Gilmour. “What I’ve liked is his enthusiasm for a 37-year-old. He’s smiling and laughing. He looks like he’s missed hockey and wants to become a player.’’
For those who might be curious about the Star Tribune’s Wild coverage in the post-Russo era: I’m handling the primary beat duties on an interim basis. Joe Christensen, who has covered the Twins and Gophers football, and Megan Ryan, the Minnesota United beat writer, will help out.
Strib management is in the process of searching for a new beat writer. There isn’t a timetable for making the hire; they will take their time as they look for the very best person. In the meantime, Joe, Megan and I will work to give you the best possible coverage.