Happy first (pre-season) game of hockey Minnesota.
With last seasons, condensed, contracted season of hockey that went later in the year, it really feels like last season just ended. Between that and changes at my day job, I feel like summer never happened. Before I could even blink, the high school football season here began which of course then heralded the start of the school year. While I'm glad that hockey is back, and on time this year, I'm not sure I'm ready to begin focusing on another hockey season. However like most things in life, I'll adjust and adapt.
We also have to once again adapt to a pre-season roster. As in most seasons, we have to watch these first exhibition games where the front office trots out prospects and try-out contract players. Usually, pre-season is a time of low-expectations. However, looking at tonight's roster that was posted online yesterday, the front office is going with an interesting mix of veteran players and prospects.
Matt Cooke-Charlie Coyle-Nino Niederreiter
Jason Zucker-Mikael Granlund-Justin Fontaine
Stephane Veilleux-Kyle Brodziak-Torrey Mitchell
Jake Dowell-David Steckel-Carson McMillan
Keith Ballard-Matt Dumba
Marco Scandella-Nate Prosser
Brian Connelly-Jonathon Blum
Now, when I say 'veteran players' I mean players like new Wild member (and persona non grata among fans), Matt Cooke. I know I can speak for Wild fans everywhere, I hope he really has figured out how to clean up his game while still be willing to be physical. Other veteran players could be considered veterans in a nominal sense. There are players like Stephane Veilleux who have been around the Wild for a while, but let's face it, on most teams he either would be with the minor league affiliate or would be retired. Then there are "veterans" who are American League veterans like Jonathan Blum. And like most pre-season rosters on any NHL team, you have a roster peppered with players who were considered prospects on a year or two ago combined with those still considered prospects.
The only other thing I could wish for besides the team looking competitive, was that the game was televised. Of course with the sad-sack Minnesota Twins on Fox Sports North tonight, I knew that wasn't a possibility. Nor did I hope that NHL Network would show it, as since neither Minnesota or Columbus are a team in New York, Pennsylvania or Canada, they weren't going to appear on television tonight. So it's back to the powers of radio, or in my case, internet radio tonight.
So welcome back dear readers.