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Minnesota Wild

Thoughts on the final day of Wild training camp in Grand Forks

Today I had the privilege of attending the final day of Minnesota Wild training camp in Grand Forks.  Almost the entire team’s starting line up was on the ice, save Marian Gaborik and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. 

Here is what I saw:

Brent Burns: I know we are talking about practice here (“We’re talking about practice!) but Burns makes the game look easy.  He continually makes the right decisions, uses his stick extremely well defensively and really just makes the game look easy.

Stephane Veilleux: Man, does this guy try hard.  He was hustling every single shift.  His work ethic and hustle set a terrific example for his teammates and he was pretty nifty around the net as well.

Mikko Koivu: Again, no surprise here but he is such a smooth player.  He finds the open man on the rush, has such soft hands and is always aware of where everyone is on the ice.  He is already a better player than his older brother and Saku is still pretty darn good.

Antti Miettinen: Looks like he’s been playing with the Wild for a while.  He showed some nice chemistry with fellow Finn Mikko Koivu and was adept at finding good shooting positions.

Andrew Brunette: Sets a strong example with a good work ethic on the ice.  Again, people may think that he shouldn’t be commended for competing hard at practice, but not every veteran does that.  He was hit on the hand near the end of practice but returned the next shift showing no ill-effects.  I was especially impressed with how good he looked coming off the boards and stick-handling in tight spaces. 

Owen Nolan: The veteran is probably working on getting his game ready for the regular season because he looked a bit tired on the ice.  That said, he still has a cannon of a shot and pretty soft hands.

Marek Zidlicky: Was a little grittier than I thought and was very confident with the puck on his stick.  Played with Martin Skoula for most of the practice.

Benoit Pouliot: Great hands, but could stand to put on a few more pounds. 

Jacques Lemaire: Definitely not boring.  He had the players working hard and the coaches were using some interesting drills to change the pace up at practice. 

Highlight of practice: Watching Marc-Andre Bergeron battle with Derek Boogaard for the puck along the boards.  Bergeron looked like he was 3’5, 110 pounds alongside the mammoth Boogaard.

That’s most of what I saw at practice.  If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email at or send a question to Illegal Curve’s new weekly mailbag which will be answered every Monday beginning September 29th.

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