Darcy Kuemper vs. Michael Hutchinson tonight aback the Wild faces off with the Winnipeg Jets.
Wild is 5-6-4 in its accomplished 15. Jets are 9-1-4 in their accomplished 14. I’ll be on Fox Sports North tonight during the pregame appearance and aboriginal intermission.
Where to start?
1. Mikael Granlund is anniversary to anniversary with what looked like a larboard wrist injury. It is not a concussion. He landed funny aback Dustin Byfuglien airtight him into the bottle the added night like a pillow.
According to sources, Granlund will abide surgery, and that could be accident today. I’d apprehend an amend afterwards tonight’s d or tomorrow from Columbus, but I am told this could accept been abundant worse and it’ll be as little as three or four weeks to as abundant as a brace months.
Granlund underwent acknowledged anaplasty today on a burst larboard wrist and will absence about four weeks, the Wild announced.
Coach Mike Yeo said this morning, “A actual boxy abandoned for us to fill.”
On Granlund and Jonas Brodin actuality aching while actuality tossed about like rag dolls, I asked Yeo if the Wild is big enough: “We’ve got big bodies too and for the best allotment we played a appealing adamantine game, a appealing concrete d in that one. And we’re activity to charge to do added of the aforementioned tonight. We apperceive what their gameplan is and we’re activity to be accessible for that.”
Basically, this is why Stu Bickel and Brett Sutter are in tonight and why 6-foot-5 Tyler Graovac was recalled to accomplish his NHL debut.
2. Yeo said Brodin is activity abundant bigger and there’s a adventitious he’ll accommodated the aggregation in Columbus, although my assumption is the Wild will be accurate and will alone accelerate him to Columbus if he’s 100 percent. As of yesterday, Jason Zucker and Niklas Backstrom were still ailing and aback they absolutely haven’t done abundant of annihilation on the ice aback afore Christmas (Backstrom did skate Saturday morning afore abrogation the ice and amphitheatre early), I’d assumption Columbus is a no-go.
Zach Parise said he has never apparent annihilation like what the Wild has gone through affliction astute in his career. The Wild has aloof been a sick, apathetic aggregation for awhile now, although it played able-bodied Saturday and like accepted aloof begin a way to lose.
3. Matt Hackett, a Wild abstract aces that the Wild beatific to Buffalo in the Jason Pominville amalgamation is on waivers. The Wild has talked internally about whether it’s account claiming him, sources say. However, he hasn’t played hockey for a continued time because of reconstructive anaplasty to adjustment a broken ACL. So if you could get him to Iowa, it would be a breeze to affirmation him. But aback the alone way to get him there would be to in about-face put him on waivers (other than a 2-week conditioning stint, which acceptable isn’t aing to how continued he’ll charge to be able to comedy and get aback to form), claiming Hackett may accomplish little faculty alike admitting he’d anon become the Wild’s best goalie anticipation if taken.
We’ll see what happens at 11 a.m. Tuesday (I’ll be on a even fyi with no Internet, so you’ll acquisition out elsewhere). Regardless, the Wild needs bigger goaltending – apparent and simple. Aloof can’t win in the NHL with boilerplate goaltending, and the Wild’s goals adjoin and save allotment has skyrocketed the accomplished 15 amateur admitting not giving up any added shots adjoin than it did prior. I’ll bung up some specific numbers after to allegorize this.
In the aboriginal eight games, Kuemper was 6-2 with a 1.62 goals-against average, .930 save allotment and three shutouts. In the accomplished 15, he is 5-8 with a 3.35 goals-against boilerplate and .885 save percentage.
In the accomplished 18 games, the Wild’s goaltending has taken a about-face for the worse.
In the accomplished nine games, the Wild has accustomed 29 shots per game, in the nine afore that 29.1. So about exact.
However, in the accomplished nine games, the Wild’s goals adjoin is 4.11 and save allotment is .858 for a 2-4-3 record. In the nine amateur afore that, the Wild’s goals adjoin was 2.22 with a .923 save allotment and 6-2-1 record.
Kuemper is activity bigger though. He thinks he ate some bad craven and absent eight pounds.
Dany Heatley’s on waivers, too! Wild had no absorption in Nashville’s Derek Roy. It has had abounding befalling to get him afore and never bit. He’s got accomplishment but no bottom speed.
4. Graovac will accomplish his NHL admission tonight at MTS Centre, an amphitheatre in which he denticulate in during the preseason.
The 6-foot-5, 206-pound centermost leads Iowa with 12 goals, six ability comedy tallies and 86 shots and ranks angry for aboriginal on the aggregation with 24 credibility in 31 amateur this season. He will centermost Matt Cooke and Justin Fontaine on the third band tonight.
Mikko Koivu will booty Granlund’s atom on the top band amid Parise and Jason Pominville, alter Charlie Coyle will move from appropriate addition to second-line centermost with disturbing Nino Niederreiter and animated Thomas Vanek and Kyle Brodziak will centermost Sutter and Ryan Carter on the fourth line.
Erik Haula is scratched. Added on that in a sec.
Ryan Suter will be commutual with Jared Spurgeon. Marco Scandella will be commutual with Christian Folin and Nate Prosser, aching the accomplished two, will comedy on the larboard with Stu Bickel, who had his aboriginal Wild abetment and aboriginal Wild action on Saturday.
Graovac and Sutter bussed eight hours from Grand Rapids to Des Moines bygone and accustomed about 6 a.m. They both woke up to buzz calls from administrator of bush operations Jim Mill about 11.
Mill to Graovac: “Grao, alarm me ASAP, which was a little nerve-racking,” Graovac said.
It was too backward to fly to Winnipeg from Iowa, so they took a car to MSP and got on a 9:45 p.m. flight to Manitoba. So continued biking day: “We’ll be active on adrenaline,” Sutter said.
Sutter was captivated for his Iowa teammate, Graovac: “He was like a kid on Christmas morning yesterday. It was a fun day with him.”
Graovac said, “Lots of emotion. Aback I hit the ice, I acquainted accustomed and acquainted adequate out there. Actual agitative for sure.”
What can he bring? “Bring a little size, I accompany speed. If they charge me top-six or bottom-six, I can accompany both. Honestly. I accept a lot of aplomb in my d appropriate now. I accept had a acceptable alpha in Iowa and I’ll do what they charge me to do and I’ll do the best I can at it.”
The kid’s got a bluster about him and if you apprehend my actuality during those Octagon pre-training affected skates, he was sensational. GM Chuck Fletcher alleged him the best bigger amateur in the alignment aback he beatific him to the amateur Sept. 30 so he could comedy a top role there as adjoin to bound account there.
“He had a absolutely acceptable training affected for us,” Yeo said. “He’s becoming the befalling to appear up and appearance us what he can do. With the Granlund injury, there’s a abandoned to be abounding there. Big body, I anticipate a guy who could skate and I’m aflame to see how he comes in and performs tonight.”
Funny stuff, but aftermost year, Graovac’s aboriginal pro action was with yesterday’s biking partner, Sutter, again the captain of the Charlotte Checkers.
Sutter hit Zach Miskovic from abaft and Graovac jumped to his defenseman’s defense.
“Bad amends by Grao,” Sutter quipped. “They were activity on the ability play.”
Graovac said he won the action “obviously,” although, “I can’t feel these three teeth because of it,” Graovac said, pointing me adjoin three high chiclets. “I did hit him with one uppercut. He couldn’t booty my reach. He couldn’t go over, so he got me through with one beneath appropriate in the cheek. I can’t feel my teeth still.”
5. Bigtime bulletin actuality beatific to Haula tonight. Haula was aching in the Tuesday d afore the anniversary breach adjoin Philadelphia, again alternate Saturday adjoin Winnipeg, didn’t comedy able-bodied and will be aching tonight.
To be benched in a d area the Wild is after its No. 1 center, this is a wakeup alarm if there anytime was one. The Wild isn’t blessed with him offensively (three goals, one assist, minus-5 in 30 games), but it’s his aegis and abridgement of skating that Yeo says is the basis of the problem.
Yeo said the two had a continued allocution today and watched video with the coaches.
“It’s affectionate of an odd time to blemish him with the actuality that we’re accident Granny, but what it comes bottomward to, we charge the amateur that we apperceive that he can be and we charge him added than ever,” Yeo said. “There’s been a lot of conversations and a lot of things that we’ve approved to do to get him to comedy at the akin that we apperceive he’s able of.
“We fabricated it actual bright as far as some of the things that he needs to accompany and the way that he needs to comedy in adjustment to be able and we’ve got to get him aback that way.”
Yeo basically accepted that he messed up arena him in Montreal aftermost month. That d put him over the abandonment threshold. And aback there is no adventitious Haula gets through waivers, the Wild is ashore accepting him acquisition his d actuality rather than go to Iowa.
“It’s not a aplomb thing,” Yeo said. “It’s an compassionate of how he has to comedy the d and a alertness to do it. He’s a adolescent kid that had an abominable lot of success and a lot of absorption put on him aftermost year, so sometimes you charge a bit of a admonition and abominably sometimes those reminders are a little bit cruel.”
6. Chatted with above Gopher Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd, etc., about the Jets today and may address about how acceptable they’ve been and why in aing Sunday’s column.
Wheeler was accessible to action Koivu on Saturday.
“He took a acceptable bash at my stick. If he capital to [fight], I was accessible for him,” Wheeler said, smiling.
Koivu wasn’t accommodating though.
On arena the Wild, Wheeler said, “That architecture has brought out the best of me in my career. I adulation activity aback there, I adulation aggressive adjoin that team. They’ve been boxy to comedy against. It’s consistently been a acceptable claiming for our accumulation and acceptable claiming for me alone to see how we assemblage up adjoin those guys.”
Wheeler said the Jets would adulation to abstracted themselves added from Minnesota, which is nine aback of them. “It’s never too aboriginal to alpha cerebration like that.”
Ladd took eight stitches from a high-stick from Cooke Saturday on the appropriate ancillary of the adenoids and beneath the eye. He said he acquainted it was unintentional.
Evander Kane is out until February with lower-body injury, Jets drillmaster Paul Maurice said. Kane blocked a attempt in that game, so that’s apparently it.
Seeya on tube and on Twitter tonight and the cardboard tomorrow.
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