Dane Mizutani / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Perhaps it's fitting that as Tyler Ennis seems to have rediscovered his game, the Wild winger's former team is in town to see firsthand what it traded away last offseason. Acquired with Marcus Foligno from the Buffalo Sabres on June 30, Ennis was viewed as a throw-in to make the salaries match, He had played only 74 games over the previous two seasons, and it was easy to forget Ennis was was three-time 20-goal scorer before injuries threatened to derail a once-promising career.
ST. PAUL — Two days after Zach Parise made his highly anticipated season debut, Nino Niederreiter is slated to return from a lower-body injury during Thursday, Jan. 4's game against the Buffalo Sabres. It will mark the first time all season the Wild are at full strength, meaning coach Bruce Boudreau has some difficult decisions to make on a nightly basis.
ST. PAUL — A couple of months ago, Wild prospect Jordan Greenway was trying his best not to think about the 2018 Winter Olympics. "I don't think I've played as well as I've wanted to here in the first few games of the season," Greenway said in early November. "I still have a couple of months to show them what I can do. I do think I could play in the Olympics, for sure."
ST. PAUL—Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise will make make his highly-anticipated season debut during the Tuesday, Jan. 2, game against the Florida Panthers. "All looks good," Parise said with a smile after Monday's practice. "I've got the green light." It will serve as a culmination for Parise, who hasn't played this season after finally deciding to bite the bullet and undergo back surgery 2 1/2 months ago.
ST. PAUL—Wild coach Bruce Boudreau preaches it constantly: "Anybody can do anything once." It's hard to imagine the coach wasn't thinking the same thing about his top line in the hours leading up to Friday's game against the Nashville Predators at the Xcel Energy Center. After all, the concoction of Eric Staal centering Tyler Ennis and Charlie Coyle worked wonders last time out in Wednesday's 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars.
ST. PAUL -- Although there’s no such thing as a must-win game in December, the importance of Friday’s game for the Wild against the first-place Nashville Predators was obvious, as a loss would drop them 10 points back of the Central Division leaders. “We realize the point differential,” coach Bruce Boudreau said before the game. “If we want to stay with the big boys, we know how important (this game) is for us. … Let’s just hope we come out with a lot of energy.”
ST. PAUL — Wild winger Zach Parise hurriedly packed his bags following Wednesday's morning skate before embarking on the 3½-hour drive to join the minor-league Iowa Wild. "I've been sent down," Parise said with a smile. Parise is scheduled to play in Thursday, Dec. 28's American Hockey League game against the Rockford IceHogs with plans to return to the Twin Cities after the game. "I'll see how it feels after that," Parise said. "That's as far as we've looked ahead right now."
ST. PAUL — A couple weeks ago the Wild were the hottest team in the NHL. An impressive 2-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 14 was their fourth win in a row, and they had the most points in the league over a five-week span. Since then, the Wild have lost four of five, including two in a row last week in Florida, leading up to a much-needed, three-day Christmas break.
TAMPA, Fla. — Simply put, the Wild look tired, mentally and physically, right now. A somber locker room following Saturday, Dec. 23's discouraging 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning — the fourth loss in five games — hammered home this all-too-obvious point. Luckily, the suddenly reeling Wild are getting a league-mandated, three-day break right when they need it most.
TAMPA, Fla. — Wild coach Bruce Boudreau had a simple message to his team before Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. "They have good players," Boudreau said. "They aren't undefeated." Yes, the Lightning have been extremely impressive this season en route to leading the league in points. That said, Boudreau didn't want his team giving them too much respect before puck drop.