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Wilderness Walk: A Bruce Boudreau Guarantee

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Oh, what a 24 hours it’s been for the Minnesota Wild...

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friyay Wilderness!

The Minnesota Wild are back in action tonight after a disappointing 5-4 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. Tonight, the Wild play in their second game of four in a row at the Xcel Energy Center, welcoming the New Jersey Devils to town. Puck drop is at 7:30 P.M. CST.

In recent news, there are two stories that should be interesting to keep an eye on; the first, is head coach Bruce Boudreau’s playoff guarantee and the second, Eric Staal’s no-trade clause.

“I can tell you right now; I’m not Joe Namath, but we are going to make the playoffs,” the Wild coach told host Paul Allen during an interview with KFAN in Minneapolis on Thursday. “And we’re going to be somebody hard to deal with ... I’m making that prediction right now.” That’s a lofty statement by Boudreau after the team has only one win since the bye week and have lost 13 of their past 21 home games dating back to November.

Wild center Eric Staal has been circling the trade market prior to the February 25th NHL trade deadline. He has recently been linked to Central Division rival, Winnipeg Jets. The Winnipeg Jets are expected to pursue big names such as Mark Stone and Matt Duchene ahead of the trade deadline, but on Wednesday insider Pierre LeBrun wrote an article in The Athletic, stating he believes the Jets may pursue Staal to boost their playoff push if other efforts fail.

Friyay Fun Fact: In one of the most lopsided trades in NHL history, on June 23rd, 2001 the New York Islanders traded Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt, and a first round pick—which became the first overall pick (Jason Spezza)—to the Ottawa Senators for Alexei Yashin. Chara played 299 games and produced 146 points for the Senators. We all know Jason Spezza and the career he had in Ottawa. He played 440 games in a Sense sweater while registering near a point per game with 430 points. Muckalt only played one season in Ottawa, playing 70 games and registering 8 points. On the other side of the trade, Yashin spent parts of five seasons in an Islanders uniform, playing in 346 games and registering 290 points.

Taking us through the Walk this morning is Californication, by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Wild News

Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. New Jersey
The Wild is making the playoffs this season. That's the belief of coach Bruce Boudreau, who shrugged off comparisons to Joe Namath. But there he was, both on the radio and in front of a host of television cameras following practice at TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center on Thursday.

Paul Fenton has green light to make trades, even if it costs Wild a playoff spot – The Athletic
"We're not in this to set the record for making the playoffs 20 years in a row," says one source. "We're in it to win the Stanley Cup."

About to turn 36, Mikko Koivu ‘totally confident’ he’ll return from major injury – The Athletic
"I think it's about your effort, the way you take care of yourself on and off the ice," Koivu says as he looks ahead to rehabbing his torn ACL.

Boudreau's guarantee: Wild will make playoffs despite recent failures - StarTribune.com
The Wild has struggled since the All-Star Break and is in the final Western Conference playoff position going into Friday's game.

Wild 'are going to make the playoffs,' Boudreau says
Bruce Boudreau guaranteed the Minnesota Wild will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Dumba aims to help billet family knock out blood cancers
Matt Dumba's desire to make a difference in the fight against cancer is, like so many others, a personal venture. The Wild defenseman, on the shelf since December following a surgical procedure on his right pectoralis muscle, hasn't allowed the injury to slow down his desire to do good in the community.

On Frozen Pond

Gophers Hit the Road for Ohio State Series - University of Minnesota Athletics
The Gopher Hockey program closes out a four-game road trip with a two-game series at No. 2/3 Ohio State this weekend in Columbus, Ohio. Both games in the Friday/Saturday

Notes: Final month stretch drive begins at WMU - University of North Dakota Athletics
North Dakota comes out of the open week with some big games on the docket in the final month of the season. It starts this weekend in Kalamazoo, Mich., against the ninth-ranked Western Michigan Broncos at Lawson Arena.

Former university hockey coach wins additional damage award | Minnesota | lacrossetribune.com
DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — A discrimination and retaliation award for former women's hockey coach Shannon Miller who sued the University of Minnesota Duluth is growing.

All Things Trade Deadline

Insider Trading: Sens, Jets possible trade partners? Kapanen, Leafs to talk extension - TSN.ca
VIDEO: With no certainty as to the future of Matt Duchene and Mark Stone yet, Pierre Dorion and his staff are taking in the Jets game. Could the Sens and Jets be natural trading partners in the event neither Sens UFA re-signs with the club? As well, all the latest on Cam Talbot, Wayne Simmonds, and the situation in Minnesota.

NHL Trade Buzz: Wild could move core players before Deadline
Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are 11 days remaining until the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. ET, and the buzz is picking up. What is going on with the Minnesota Wild?

Oilers, Flyers discussing potential Talbot deal - TSN.ca
The Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers are in discussions on a potential Cam Talbot trade according to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger.

Countdown to TradeCentre: Kekalainen tells teams to 'make an offer' on UFAs - TSN.ca
"No," Kekalainen told NHL.com on if he had a set price. "Make an offer if you're interested."

Kings' Hagelin on deadline: 'I know I’m a UFA' - TSN.ca
Los Angeles Kings forward Carl Hagelin has already been traded once this season and he's well aware that he could be on the move again.

Examining the goaltending market as Calgary considers upgrade - TSN.ca
The Flames have allowed 21 goals over their last five games. David Rittich has just an .810 save percentage in his last three starts; Mike Smith has not provided a security blanket at .890 since the All-Star break.

31 Thoughts: All eyes on Senators as trade deadline nears - Sportsnet.ca
The Senators have a glut of forwards nearing free agency, but will they trade them or sign them? Elliotte Friedman weighs in with his 31 Thoughts.

Sellers’ guide to NHL trade deadline: Which prospects are contenders likely to move? – The Athletic
Everyone knows the NHL players the buyers are targeting. Corey Pronman identifies the prospects the sellers should ask for in return.

Off The Trail

Black History Month spotlight: Iginla stars on, off ice
As part of the NHL's celebration of Black History Month, NHL.com will highlight great moments and important figures in black hockey history each day throughout February. Pioneers like Willie O'Ree, Angela James and Grant Fuhr will be featured.Today we look at Jarome Iginla, the first black player to surpass 1,000 points in the NHL.

How schedule strength affects each NHL team going down the stretch – The Athletic
We’re in the home stretch of the 2018-19 NHL season and as the season progresses strength of schedule becomes more and more important.

Norris or not, Flames' Mark Giordano on pace for historic campaign - TheHockeyNews
The mid-season favorite to win the Norris Trophy was the Calgary captain, but even if Giordano comes up short, his production level at an advanced age is reaching into historic territory and he's showing no signs of slowing down.

With Gibson falling out of contention, who are the five frontrunners for the Vezina Trophy? - TheHockeyNews
John Gibson was considered the Vezina Trophy favorite at mid-season, but the Ducks' woes, his recent slide and a trip to the injured reserve put the brakes on that. With the Anaheim starter out of the way, which five goaltenders are the new favorites for the hardware?

Why the Vegas Golden Knights need to start resting Marc-Andre Fleury - Sportsnet.ca
Marc-Andre Fleury has been a horse for the Vegas Golden Knights so far with 50 starts that is four more than any other NHL netminder. But as they try and get home-ice advantage the rest of the way, the better long-term play may be to rest Fleury far more often down the stretch.

Kane extends point streak to 16 in Blackhawks win against Devils
Patrick Kane had one goal and two assists for the Chicago Blackhawks to extend his point streak to 16 games and his assist streak to 15 games in a 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils at United Center on Thursday.

Boyle scores first goal for Predators in win against Canadiens
NASHVILLE -- Brian Boyle scored his first goal for the Nashville Predators to break a tie in the third period of a 3-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

Avalanche top Jets, end eight-game losing streak
WINNIPEG -- The Colorado Avalanche ended a season-long eight-game losing streak with a 4-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Thursday.

Colorado could win the first two picks in the 2019 draft - TheHockeyNews
Thanks to a deft trade and a drop in the standings, the Avalanche could very well pull off something that hasn't happened since 1969. What would Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko do to a core of forwards that is already pretty dynamic at the top end?