The Minnesota Wild entered the season amid high expectations thanks to their off-season acquisitions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. They also attracted plenty of skeptics who wondered if they had the depth or chemistry to excel in their first season with their newest superstars.
Nothing has been decided yet, but Minnesota fans have plenty to be happy about after starting the season with a 2-0-0 record.
Suter and Parise have certainly done their part early on. Parise provided the lone goal in Minnesota’s 1-0 victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday and had a pair of assists in the season opener. Suter is still searching for his first point, but he’s already logged a staggering 50:12 minutes with the Wild.
Still, it would be a gross exaggeration to suggest that they are the sole reason the Wild are off to a hot start. Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu have found success early with Parise, rookie Mikael Granlund has already netted his first goal, and the Wild’s goaltenders have done their part.
The question now is if they can build off of their early success and how they will handle themselves when they face more highly regarded teams like the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 27. There’s no question that they still have a lot of work ahead of them, but they couldn’t have asked for any more this weekend.
With training camp and the preseason now in full swing, it appears the Bruins are bringing in a veteran blue liner — at least on a professional tryout.
On Friday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that unrestricted free agent blue liner Christian Ehrhoff is about to join Boston on a PTO following his showing at the World Cup of Hockey.
In six games with Team Europe, Ehrhoff had three assists — all at even strength — and nine shots on goal.
Ehrhoff is now 34 years old, and the Bruins already have a pair of seasoned defenders in Zdeno Chara (39 years old) and John-Michael Liles (35 years old) on their roster. Adam McQuaid turns 30 years old in October.
He was most productive during two seasons in Vancouver, a puck-moving defenseman that could effectively skate the puck out of trouble and move the attack that way if need be. But that was from 2009 to 2011. His production has dipped, especially over the last three years.
He was also pivotal to Vancouver’s power play, especially in 2011 when the Canucks won the Presidents’ Trophy and made it to the Stanley Cup Final — against Boston.
Again, that was five years ago.
Lehner (forearm contusion) to miss preseason game versus Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. But No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews won’t be in the lineup, according to multiple reports.
“Sooner or later, he’s going to get in, but not tonight,” said assistant coach Jim Hiller, as per the Toronto Sun.
“The lineups are day by day. They (World Cup players such as Matthews, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyk) went through a solid three weeks. It’s a little break, a little down time. There are tons of games coming. They’ll get a lot of ice time. They’ll get in shortly.”
(The report also notes that Matthews is not dealing with a health issue, which is obviously good news for the Leafs.)
Matthews played for Team North America at the World Cup held in Toronto. He had two goals and three points in three round robin games, but the young North American team was unable to advance to the semifinal round.
The Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at home on Sunday.
McLellan: Maroon’s lower-body injury not considered serious
It appears Patrick Maroon‘s injury from Wednesday’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks looked worse than it is.
The Edmonton Oilers forward was in obvious pain immediately after he went hard into the boards from an awkward hit delivered by James Sheppard just past the midway point of the third period. Maroon needed help to the bench and was unable to put much, if any, pressure on his left leg.