It's good to be back!
The Minnesota Wild are going to be hosting the Winnipeg Jets tonight in the Wild's third pre-season game of this season. The two teams met earlier in the week, with the Jets prevailing over the Wild 2-1. The Wild mostly played young players, while the Jets played with close to their full lineup.
This time, the Wild are playing mostly regulars, with the notable exception of Thomas Vanek, who is presumably still sitting out as a precaution for (what we understand) is a bruise. Keith Ballard and Jason Zucker, both of whom played the first two pre-season games, are out tonight as well. Kyle Brodziak is playing tonight in his first game action of the season.
Winnipeg isn't putting their full team on the ice, either. While there are plenty of regulars, stars like Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien (The Winnipeg media might enjoy this game!), and Jacob Trouba won't be on the ice tonight. A shame, as I'd love to see a Dumba-Trouba matchup. Oh, well.
So, yeah, we're back. Talk about the game, be cool to each other, post a lot of GIFs, and have fun!
Minnesota Wild Lineup (via the Star Tribune):
Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Charlie Coyle
Nino Niederreiter - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville
Matt Cooke - Erik Haula - Justin Fontaine
Michael Keränen - Kyle Brodziak - Joel Rechlicz
Defensemen (Pairings Assumed)
Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin
Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon
Gustav Olofsson - Mathew Dumba
Niklas Backstrom - Darcy Kuemper
Winnipeg Jets Lineup (via the Star Tribune):
Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Nikolaj Ehlers
Adam Lowry - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler
Carl Klingberg - Nicolas Petan - Matt Halischuk
Chris Thorburn - Jim Slater - J.C. Lipon
Tobias Enstrom - Zach Bogosian
Adam Pardy - Keaton Ellerby (or possibly Grant Clitsome)
Ben Chiarot - Julien Brouillette
Terrible Ondrej Pavelec
1. Gustav Olofsson and Mathew Dumba will be playing tonight's game. Will either of them see major ice time?
2. Michael Keränen will get a look on the Power Play. Will he impress enough for a bigger role as the game goes on?
3. Nino Niederreiter will be skating with Pominville and Koivu to start the night, effectively an audition for a Top-6 role. How will that combination look?
4. Is Niklas Backstrom's play tonight going to put an end to Bryzgalov's tryout? (He will likely play the whole game.)
5. Tonight's Winnipeg Jet to watch is Nikolaj Ehlers, the 9th overall pick in last year's draft. "The Dancing Dane" is slight- his 6'0" frame only has 176 lbs on it- but he is absolutely explosive, with great speed, puck skills, and shooting. Will he do any damage to the Wild tonight?
Bonus Question: Seriously, why Joel Rechlicz?! What on earth does he offer this team?