Atlanta Thrashers (1-0-1) vs. Minnesota Wild (1-0-0)
Philips Arena @ 7:00 CDT
Listen live on WCCO.com, or locally at 830 AM
For the Boston perspective, check out Thrashers Blog
Brunette - Koivu - Gaborik
Schultz - Burns
Ilya Kovalchuk - Todd White - Bryan Little
Tobias Enstrom - Niclas Havelid
News on Gabby
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports a source claims Marian Gaborik is seeking a ten-year, $100 million contract from the Minnesota Wild. “Good luck to you, young man. Enjoy your time in Russia”, write Brooks.
Belanger off to hot start again. From the Game Preview at Wild.com
In Minnesota's 4-3 season-opening win over Boston on Saturday, all four players who made their Wild debuts - Bergeron, Nolan, rookie Colton Gillies and Antti Miettinen - had points.
Bergeron and Miettinen each had a goal, while eight-year veteran Eric Belanger scored twice.
Minnesota also had solid play from its special teams, as it went 2-for-3 on the power play and killed all four of the Bruins' chances with the man advantage, including a four-minute power play in the third period.
"It's great to win, but you have to know there's certain things you have to do in the future if you want to keep winning," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "I have to see more. I like the potential that we have. Now we've got to play to that."
Lemaire also would like to see Belanger continue to score goals for an entire season, and he plans on keeping him on the ice more for offensive purposes.
Belanger had 12 goals and 20 assists in his first 45 games in 2007-08, but was held to one goal and four assists in his final 30 games when he moved to a checking line and had fewer opportunities to score.
"I'm definitely capable of doing that, and hopefully I can do that all year," Belanger said. "If they want me to check the other top line I can do that also, but this is a team game."
From Russo's Rants
The only news out of practice [Monday] was the absence of Owen Nolan. I wrote yesterday that Nolan left practice a little early and Jacques Lemaire said he was fine. Nolan wasn’t there at all today, and again Jacques said it was nothing. He passed it off as the 36-year-old forward just needing a little bit of rest. He’s expected to be in the lineup for this trip.
In Nolan’s place, Colton Gillies skated Monday with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Eric Belanger.
The coaches held a lengthy team meeting at center ice at the beginning of practice. Jacques said the talk was about Saturday’s game and how "we don’t want to play it again."
Coach Jacques Lemaire said that Craig Weller would probably make his Wild debut tonight after being a healthy scratch opening night. Lemaire said the coaching staff has tried to convince Weller to keep his shifts short, and that will be a must. Lemaire then talked a lot about how rookie Colton Gillies needs to do the same.
He joked in junior, Gillies played three shifts, the first period, second period and third. That can’t happen in the NHL, Lemaire said. So a betting man would say Gillies will be scratched for Weller tonight, but Lemaire’s fooled me all week (Koivu captaincy, Opening Night scratch), so don’t bet on it.
Questions to Answer
- Will Marian Gaborik step it up tonight?
- Can the special teams continue their good play?
- Which Martin Skoula shows up?
- Will the lines stay static into the second period?
- Can anyone stop Kovalchuk?
Speaking of lines, from Russo's Rants:
After practice, Lemaire was again asked about line combination changes - or the lack of them.
“I’ve been thinking deeply about switching certain guys,” he said. “But I don’t know if we’re going to do it yet.”