The Minnesota Wild took to the ice for the first time in front of their fans at Xcel Energy Center Wednesday night for an intrasquad scrimmage. Defenseman Jared Spurgeon led the way for the red squad with two goals and an assist as the red team worked a 4-1 win in regulation, added another goal in the overtime period, then won the shootout.
"When you are away for as long as we were you have to get back into your habits and routines that you go through," said Wild forward Zach Parise. "Playing a night game, playing in front of fans, it's different than what we have been doing."
The pace seemed to be where it needed to be, but the system wasn't where head coach Mike Yeo would like it to be.
"I felt like system wise we weren't as sharp tonight," said Yeo. "That's what happens, you get into a real game and that's why it was so important that we did this tonight. I thought we were decent at times, but clearly not where we want to be."
Roster decisions will need to be made in the next 24 hours and the forwards on the bubble, Matt Kassian, Stepane Veilleux, Jake Dowell and Nick Palmieri all played well during the scrimmage. Dowell and Palmieri both scored goals, and Kassian and Veilleux both played on the plus side of the plus/minus.
"I thought that they all played very well," said Yeo. "The fact that a couple of the guys that are jockeying scored goals, more importantly if they played a bad game and didn't play the type of role that they were supposed to play and they scored a goal then that's a non factor for me. What's more important is that they were going out and playing the type of game we need them to play."
Matt Dumba opens eyes:
Rookie defenseman Matt Dumba assisted on the first goal of the game as he sent a blistering shot from the point that got away from goaltender Niklas Backstrom and was tapped in by Nick Palmieri for the only power play goal of the game.
Dumba is only 18 and is the youngest player in camp. The odds of him making the roster are up in the air, but he certainly didn't do anything to hurt his cause and with Tom Gilbert injuring his groin in the first period, the door may be open more than a crack for the rookie.
"We have to go back right now and make some decisions because as quickly as possible, I'd like to get down to our core group," said Yeo about Dumba's potential to make the squad. "He's one of those guys for sure."
The fact the team doesn't have a full training camp to evaluate his game may ultimately play against Dumba in making the big squad out of the gate.
"There's a number of things always going against you," said Yeo. "The uncertainty of his game still, every time we watch him, we get a little more confidence in him for sure but there's another level coming. Saturday's going to be another level, and two weeks after that is going to be another level. We have to consider the fact that he's been playing all year and has a bit of an advantage there. "
PMB is back:
Pierre-Marc Bouchard skated in a game situation for the first time since returning from concussion issues. The 11th year forward logged a little over 16 minutes of ice time and looked good in his return.
"Not many guys can control the game like that," said Yeo. "You get the puck on your stick and you can speed it up or you can slow it down and he was in fine form again. He's had a great camp, he's looked great."
|1||6:46||PP||Red||Nick Palmieri||Matt Dumba||Ryan Suter|
|2||16:28||EV||Red||Jake Dowell||Jared Spurgeon||Carson McMillan|
|3||6:20||EV||White||Steven Kampfer||Johan Larsson||Clayton Stoner|
|3||10:43||EV||Red||Jared Spurgeon||Carson McMillan||David McIntyre|