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Wilderness Walk: Game Day Edition

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The Wild head down to Tampa to face off against last year's Eastern Conference Champions.

Minnesota will get to see former UM-Duluth Bulldog J.T. Brown tonight (and some guys named "Stamkos" and "Hedman", too).
Minnesota will get to see former UM-Duluth Bulldog J.T. Brown tonight (and some guys named "Stamkos" and "Hedman", too).
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Parise's initial knee injury occurred on November 5th. Almost two months later, we have another #PariseWatch.

Parise ret urned on November 27th, and actually was decently productive scoring 4 goals and adding 9 assists in 13 games. But despite the scoring, the wear-and-tear on his knee eventually caught up to him, and it forced him out of the lineup at St. Louis. It might hold him out today against the Lightning. It might not. He might come back tomorrow against the Panthers. He might not. But this is the second time in three years that Parise re-aggravated an injury after perhaps rushing back from the initial incident.

To the Wild's credit, they were more cautious with Parise this year than they were in 2013-14, when Parise returned from a broken foot after one day. But still, three weeks was an aggressive timetable for a 4-6 week injury, and it appears the Wild would've benefitted from holding Parise out just a bit longer.

Anyway, we've got a game tonight, and it was a busy day. Let's get to the Walk.

Wild News

New Year, New Team - Articles - Articles - Homepage - Wild Xtra- Friend of the blog Ben Remington compares this year's Wild to last year's model.Surprisingly, goaltending factors in there. Just a little bit.

Minnesota Wild: Zach Parise being cautious about balky knee - TwinCities.com

Wild forward Zach Parise admits right knee keeping him out again - StarTribune.com

Wild: Mikko Koivu adds offensive punch to well-rounded game - TwinCities.com- There's talk in here about a potential Selke (best defensive forward) nomination, and I'm not so sure. Koivu's an elite defensive forward, for sure, but it's such a reputation-based award. Koivu's going to have to really do something to make him stand out in the minds of voters to prevail over, say, Patrice Bergeron. But still, that's no shot against Koivu, who is enjoying perhaps the best season of his career so far.

Porter proves his value on Wild penalty kill - StarTribune.com- Porter indeed has been an amazing penalty killer, ranking 8th in the NHL in terms of limiting shot attempts while short-handed.

Tending the Fields

Standout Russians In WJC Round Robin- 2015 Wild draft pick Kirill Kaprizov gets a mention in here.

Off the Trail

Best and worst of the 2016 NHL Winter Classic | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Montreal prevailed over Boston yesterday.

Mike Condon completes his hometown anti-hero Winter Classic story | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Not who the NHL envisioned in net for Montreal at this big event, but Mike Condon continued his good season in relief of Carey Price.

P.K. Subban designed Winter Classic skates, looked retro awesome (Video) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Again, P.K. Subban is awesome.

Briefly, We Took It Outside: Boston Pride vs. Les Canadiennes- The NHL game wasn't the only big event in Boston. There was a big NWHL vs. CWHL match-up, too!

Toronto Maple Leafs front-runner to host 2017 Winter Classic - Cross Checks Blog- ESPN- They'll be celebrating their 100th year of existence, and first year with Steven Stamkos.

Florida Panthers announce multi-year extension with GM Dale Tallon | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Florida is in the running for the top of the Atlantic Division, mostly on the back of Tallon draft picks. Well-earned.

NHL: Panthers slowly reaping benefits of Aleksander Barkov pick - Craig Custance Blog- ESPN- Behind a paywall, but this shows how the decision to draft Barkov over Seth Jones turned out well for Florida.

Johnny Boychuk injury could change Islanders' plans with defense | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Don't underestimate Boychuk's loss. The Islanders turned from a lottery team to a contender in the East with the Boychuk and Nick Leddy trades.

NHL - Morning 3-on-3 -- Are the Anaheim Ducks finally poised for a turnaround?- Caution: You will see, in reference to the Anaheim Ducks, the sentence "If the Ducks do crawl back into playoff position and hold it, GM Bob Murray will have provided a blueprint for how to handle adversity", and it doesn't end with "Be in maybe the worst division ever."

Hockey, in memoriam: Al Arbour, Steve Montador and who we lost in 2015 | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports

Know Thy Enemy

For more updates and analysis of the Lightning, check out our sister site, Raw Charge.

Checking in on the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2011 Draft Class - Raw Charge- If anything should give the Wild hope in the 2016 Draft, it's this. Without a third and fourth-round pick, Tampa Bay cleaned up in the 2011 Draft, selecting Vladislav Namestnikov in the first, Nikita Kucherov in the second, and Ondrej Palat in the seventh. The Wild should figure out how they managed to do that, because they're without their second, third, and fifth-rounders next year.