Well tonight gives Minnesota its first of many looks at the Winnipeg Jets. Welcome to the new Central Division. This is a reallignment that should have happened many years ago. However no matter how long overdue it was, we can finally celebrate the fact that it has happened. I know I for one, am looking to far fewer 9:00pm start times. At least for Minnesota and its fans, we won't bat an eyelash when it comes to those 8:00pm start times in Denver.
Looking at tonight's roster, I'm not sure I can expect or predict better results than Tuesday night. It might be a marginally better roster, but still the team is without Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter. I know I'm glad to see Dany Heatley back in the lineup, but he definitely needs to see the ice after last season's injury. One thing was very obvious about Heatley at the scrimmage, is that he dropped some weight over the off-season. With the slimmer physique, he seemed to have a little more speed available to him. One can only hope this improves Heatley's play overall.
The one thing about pre-season, is that it gives us a look at options. Some of those options will find themselves in Iowa for much of the season. Sometimes those options become a full-time reality whether due to injuries or trade deadline moves. Personally, I'm torn about pre-season games. While it's fun to watch your proscpects in action, it's still hard to swallow the losses when they come. Sure the losses don't count, but losing is never easy. But I'd rather lose now than when a playoff spot is on the line.
Goalies Josh Harding and Darcy Kuemper are expected to split the game against the Jets.
Twelve of these 13 forwards will skate: Dany Heatley, Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, Kyle Brodziak, Torrey Mitchell, Stephane Veilleux, Zenon Konopka, Justin Fontaine, Carson McMillan, Erik Haula, Zack Phillips and Kris Foucault.
Six of these seven defensemen will skate: Clayon Stoner, Nate Prosser, Matt Dumba, Jonathon Blum, Steve Kampfer, Kyle Medvec and Jon Landry.