Dane Mizutani / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL—Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk has watched from afar over the years as people playing his position have almost single-handedly carried their teams to the Stanley Cup. Whether it's Jean-Sébastien Giguère with the Anaheim Ducks (2006-07), Tim Thomas with the Boston Bruins (2010-11), Jonathan Quick with the Los Angeles Kings (2011-12, 2013-14), or any of the handful of other guys that have done it over the past decade, a hot goaltender is a sure-fire way to hoist the NHL's most prestigious hardware.
About 15 minutes before practice on Monday, Jared Spurgeon emerged from the team tunnel and stepped onto the ice at the Xcel Energy Center, visibly eager to skate with his teammates for the first time in a month. Skating alone, the veteran defenseman said, "Gets a little old."
ST. PAUL — Although it sounds like Wild coach Bruce Boudreau went into Saturday's regular-season finale with an idea of how he wants his lineup to look for Game 1 of the playoffs against the Winnipeg Jets, he has something to think about after the way the game played out. "It's always great when they're making the coaches have tough decisions," Boudreau said after a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. "I thought we had a lot of good play throughout the lineup."
ST. PAUL — With the grueling 82-game regular-season schedule finally in the books, the Wild are about to wipe the slate clean. Yet another 100-point campaign has paved the way for lofty expectations in the postseason with a best-of-seven against the rival Winnipeg Jets starting up on Wednesday night, April 11, at Bell MTS Place. It marks the sixth consecutive season the Wild have clinched a playoff berth, remarkable consistency from a team that hasn't made it past the second round in that span.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — As the news started to spread on Friday afternoon about the tragic bus crash involving a junior hockey team based out of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, everything hit especially close to home for Wild assistant coach Bob Woods. He grew up on a farm about 20 minutes away from Humboldt, and members of his family still live in the small town. His youngest son, Colin, also played for the Humboldt Broncos two years ago, and knew some of the victims.
LOS ANGELES — Yet another fresh face hit the ice for the Wild before Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center with blue line prospect Louie Belpedio signing a two-year, entry-level contract earlier in the day. Belpedio, 21, who turned pro last month after a four-year career at the University of Miami-Ohio, is scheduled to make his NHL debut Saturday against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center, giving him a couple of days to get acclimated to the next level.
ST. PAUL—With No. 1 defenseman Ryan Suter out with a broken fibula, according to a source, the Wild have recalled defenseman Carson Soucy from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League. Suter went down after slamming his right foot into the back boards while jostling for the puck late in the second period of Minnesota's 4-1 loss Saturday, March 31, to the Dallas Stars. He had to be helped to the bench play and couldn't put any weight on his right foot as he made his way to the locker room.
ST. PAUL — There's only five games left in the regular season, and barring a monumental collapse, the Wild looked poised to clinch a playoff berth for the sixth consecutive season. That has become nearly a formality thanks to a seven-game point streak over the past two weeks that has the Wild (43-24-10, 96 points) firmly in third place in the Central Division, five points clear of the two Western Conference wild card spots currently occupied by the St. Louis Blues (43-28-5, 91 points) and the Anaheim Ducks (39-25-13, 91 points).
ST. PAUL — As soon as Jordan Greenway returned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, David Quinn knew something was different. "He had this swagger," said Quinn, who helped develop the 21-year-old as Boston University's coach. "He really took his game to the next level. He was the best player on the ice in every game we played from that point on." In those games, the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Greenway helped lead his team to a 6-1-1 record, the only loss coming to Michigan on Sunday night, March 24, one game short of reaching the Frozen Four.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It was a bittersweet moment for Eric Staal standing in the visitor's locker room at Bridgestone Arena after the 2-1 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, March 27. Staal reached the 40-goal mark for the third time in his 14-year NHL career with a game-tying goal late in the third period, but the Wild ending up losing an important game to the Western Conference leaders.