It will be the last game for the Wild before the Olympic break, and the Olympic games, as you will glean from looking at these articles, are overshadowing tonight's game. But for the Wild, and the fans, the focus really needs to be on tonight's game. Los Angeles, Vancouver, Phoenix, and Dallas (a.k.a., the teams the Wild are competing for a Wild card spot with) all will have another game or two before the Olympic break, and two points against a team the Wild ought to beat are needed to keep their distance in the standings.
More thoughts to follow, on to the Walk.
Reusse: It's the Olympics, this is hockey; if Koivu can play, he should | Star Tribune- Patrick Reusse, in a weird moment for Minnesota Newspaper Columnists, actually takes the side of Mikko Koivu.
Rand: Hunt for Olympic gold a Suter family tradition | Star Tribune- Kids at Suter's school were stupid. How do you not steal a 1980 Gold Medal when it's just laying in a locker for weeks?
Ryan Suter: Golden heirloom inspires Minnesota Wild defenseman - TwinCities.com- And for that matter, what the hell was Bob Suter doing letting his kid keep his F*(K!NG OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL IN HIS LOCKER FOR WEEKS?!?!
Wild notes: Scandella's knee injury not as serious as first feared | Star Tribune- Great news for the Wild. Scandella sprained his MCL, but that is an injury that should work itself out over the next few weeks. So, basically, the Olympic Break is that cool professor that gives you crazy extensions on your final papers. Thanks, Olympic Break!
Wild: Olympic break should give Marco Scandella time to heal sprained knee - TwinCities.com- Marco Scandella is a top-4 defenseman who has great chemistry with Jared Spurgeon. To lose him for an extended period of time after getting Spurge back would have been devastating.
Wild's Yeo to rookie Erik Haula: Good game. Keep it up. - TwinCities.com- The Former Golden Gopher has done well in a defensive role.
Football-playing father finds joy in Haula's success with Wild | Star Tribune- For those who wonder what Haula's origin story is, here you go.
Tending the Fields
Minnesota Wild Makes Minor Deal With San Jose Sharks- The Wild trade Chad Rau for a minor-league PIM guy. Does he have a... PUNCHER'S?!?!- chance of making the NHL if Mike Rupp leaves the lineup?
The Team of 18,001: Chad Rau Tribute- Giles asking "What was your favorite Chad Rau moment?"
Prospect Watch: Wild's Avery Peterson up for "Mr. Hockey" Award- High School Hockey fans- what do you think of Avery Peterson? Think he's got this award?
Off the Trail
30 Thoughts: Injured NHLers reignite Olympic debate | Hockey | CBC Sports- The Minnesota Wild make an appearance in this week's column.
Report: Islanders projected to get a lot for Vanek | ProHockeyTalk- They have to. They can't lose face like getting less than they gave up for Vanek. It woudl be a supreme embarrassment.
Devils’ goalie Schneider ‘not thinking’ about contract extension | ProHockeyTalk- He's too busy thinking of ways to eliminate Martin Brodeur while making it look like an accident..
Red Wings don’t plan on trading talented youngsters | ProHockeyTalk- In case you wanted to steal Tomas Tatar.
An Open Letter to Anze Kopitar - The Hockey Writers- My Open Letter to Anze Kopitar: Dear Anze, please skate over Dustin Brown's testicles. Your friend (but only if you do that), Tony.
Justin Bieber crashes Atlanta hockey practice, skates in gold chains | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- I can't wait until the US tries to deport him to Canada, has Canada refuse, thereby forcing the US to keep Bieber. I want Bieber to be the music version of Ogie Ogelthorpe.
Sochi Watch: 2014
Claude Giroux, James Neal, Brad Marchand possible replacements for Steven Stamkos in 2014 Sochi Olympics | Home Ice - SI.com- OOOH! OOOH! PICK BOBBY RYAN! PICK BOBBY RYAN!
2014 men’s Olympic Hockey Preview: Russia | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | theScore.com- Here's the home team, whom I assume you will all be root, root, rooting for.
2014 men’s Olympic Hockey Preview: Slovakia | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | theScore.com- The Marian-Gaborik-less Team Slovakia.
Olympic odds: Canada front-runner for gold, Ovechkin front-runner for goals | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Get your gambling on. I'd take Finland on 11-1. Wouldn't mind doing the longshot Swiss team, who made the Gold Medal game in the World Championships last year.
The 10 Best NHL Olympians "- Sean MacIndoe ranks his top 10 hockey Olympians of the NHL era.
Behind Enemy Lines
For more news and analysis on the Nashville Predators, please check out our friends, the good people at On the Forecheck.
Nashville Predators are "shopping Legwand hard" per TSN's Bob McKenzie - On the Forecheck- As you can see, the Nashville Predators are already in "Wait until next year" mode.
2014 NHL Draft Profile: Haydn Fleury - On the Forecheck- And if that wasn't proof enough, here's a 2014 NHL Draft preview.