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Wilderness Walk: Rest and Relaxation

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Sometimes we love the NHL schedulers, sometimes we hate them. We'll love them for now for a bit of a respite, but we'll hate them later for too many games in too few days

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In a move that is somewhat unnatural to Minnesota sports fans, the Wild will find themselves well represented at this year's NHL All-Star game.  Joining coach Bruce Boudreau will be Devan Dubnyk and Ryan Suter, with discussions surrounding Mikko Koivu or Eric Staal being a potential replacement for the injured Patrik Laine.  The NHL will carry over last year's 3-on-3 format with each division competing in a round robin tournament for the title.  Division teams will also compete in the skills competition.  Wild fans are used to the team scraping together a representative to send to the weekend, but this year, it's harder to pick players who don't deserve to go.

The Wild are now set to do battle with Montreal Canadiens, who find themselves in a similar place in the standings in the East as the Wild.  The Wild were afforded a bit of rest heading into their 2nd of three consecutive Saturday/Sunday back-to-backs, with this weekend being a featured event as Sunday will be the first season game against the Central Division leading Chicago Blackhawks.  The Blackhawks lead is a bit illusionary, as the Wild are just 2 points back with 4 games in hand and could well be in first place by Sunday.  But the Wild still have to get through Montreal tomorrow and Dallas on Saturday, so it will be no easy feat.  We're all looking forward to a very exciting weekend of hockey.

Here's one of my favorite EDM tunes that has been un-EDM'd for your listening pleasure.  Great take on a good track.

Wild News

Wild's Dubnyk, Suter chosen for NHL All-Star Game - StarTribune.com
The league named 44 players to the All-Star Game, which has a 3-on-3 format featuring four 11-man teams. Bruce Boudreau will coach the Central Division team and three other players with Minnesota connections were chosen.

Boudreau will coach Central Division team in NHL All-Star Game - StarTribune.com
Because the Wild is assured of the best points percentage in the Central Division through Tuesday's NHL action, Bruce Boudreau will return to Los Angeles to coach the Central during All-Star Weekend from Jan. 27-29.

Halfway through season, Wild showing it can win the tough games - StarTribune.com
Nearing the halfway point of the season, the Wild continues to show it's a very different team that it has been in recent years.

Tending The Fields

Iowa Wild Hockey: HOGGAN BRINGS EXPERIENCE AND LEADERSHIP TO YOUNG IOWA LOCKER ROOM
A new face is helping organize the youth movement in Iowa

On Frozen Pond

Backyard hockey rink with LED lights in ice is just hypnotic (Video)
Backyard hockey rinks are a labor of love, from their concept to their construction to the ways puckheads try to personalize them with various bells and whistles.

Off The Trail

Down Goes Brown: Handing out NHL mid-season awards - Sportsnet.ca
We've reached the midway point of the NHL season, and that means it's time to prematurely hand out some awards. Let's get started.

Many fun possibilities in NHL's All-Star 3-on-3 tournament - Sportsnet.ca
With the NHL releasing the all-star rosters for each of the four divisions, we should expect full attendance from all of the best healthy stars, which makes for some compelling 3-on-3 matchups.

Rumor Roundup: Looking ahead to landing spots for Kevin Shattenkirk | The Hockey News
Even if Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk isn't traded before the deadline, he's still set to become a free agent on July 1. The Bruins, Rangers, and Flyers could be suitors.

Waiver Watch: Maple Leafs claim Curtis McElhinney - Sportsnet.ca
Backup goalie Curtis McElhinney was claimed by the Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday, while two others cleared.

Kuznetsov submits early nomination for 'goal of the year' (Video)
After a difficult start to the season, Evgeny Kuzentsov is finally back to the form we saw him in last year when he ended up tenth in NHL scoring.