When star winger Kirill Kaprizov and goaltender Cam Talbot were representing Wilde at the NHL All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas, their teammates took a few days to decompress themselves.
“It was like everyone was doing something with a teammate,” said captain Jared Spurgeon. “That was fun. Some people got a little hot. Some people got a little cold. Now we’re excited to be back again.”
Not surprisingly, after a few days in the sun, or wherever the players ended up, Monday’s practice at the TRIA Rink in downtown St. Paul was initially a bit sloppy.
“We got better,” said coach Dean Evans, smiling. “That’s awesome thinking. We’ll be better off here today and get a light skate tomorrow to get some touch up. Everyone’s in the same boat, so we’ll see how we get on.”
There’s no time to waste with next Tuesday’s game against the Jets Up in Winnipeg.
This signals the start of a busy second half for Wilde (28-10-3, 59 points). They will play 40 matches over 77 days, starting with Saturday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The good news for Wilde is that he will get winger Marcus Foligno back for Tuesday’s game against the Jets (18-17-7, 43 points). He missed the last few games with an upper body injury after slipping across the board during a January 28 game against the New York Rangers.
“I’m 100 percent now,” Foligno said. “It was something that I was able to play the rest of the game, then it was hard to walk the next morning. It just needed some time after that bump. Obviously it was a good time with the breaks. I was able to rest, and I’m ready to get it back now.”
As are his companions.
“I think everyone is excited to know that it’s a sprint to the end,” Foligno said. “We just have to get a Smart Road win tomorrow. We have to make sure we’re not cutting corners. Just continue what we’ve been doing since January 1st.”
As for Talbot, while he didn’t get much rest during All Star Weekend, he wouldn’t be exchanging experience for the world. He mentioned how his twins Landon and Sloane had an explosion in Las Vegas.
“The first day we came in, we went straight to the sugar factory to hop on sugar for the whole trip,” Talbot said with a smile. “It was a blast. Just a great experience. Something that I will definitely remember for the rest of my life, that I will be able to share with my family.”
In the hours before Monday’s practice, Wild kept Matt Dumb (upper body) and nick bjugstad (upper body) On injured reserve. He called the defensemen to fill the roster kevin cuzquezman and winger Michelle Chaffee From the Iowa Wilds of the American Hockey League. Neither player is expected to suit up against the Jets.