Minnesota Wild

PHT Morning skate: Selanne enjoying retirement as a caddy


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Retired NHL great Teemu Selanne was at Augusta National on Wednesday caddying for Finnish golfer Mikko Ilonen at The Masters’ Par 3 contest. (Puck Daddy)

Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling has teamed up with a fellow Chicago native in artist Jason Livery for his newest mask. The mask features several Chicago landmarks and pays tribute to movies shot in the city. (InGoal Magazine)


Actor Dan Aykroyd participated in the Shoot the Puck contest at the United Center in Chicago on Tuesday. Aykroyd, who shot The Blues Brothers in Chicago, showed off his skills during the second intermission of the Wild’s 2-1 win over the Blackhawks.

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Speaking of the Wild’s 2-1 win Tuesday night, the victory earned Minnesota a berth in the playoffs for a third consecutive season. Here’s a look inside the Wild’s room following the win:

The New Jersey Devils have failed to qualify for postseason action for a third consecutive season. As a result, the club decided not to hand out its team awards this season. (The Hockey News)

The Toronto Maple Leafs concluded the road portion of their 2014-15 season with a 5-0 loss Wednesday night in Columbus. The Leafs managed to compile some impressively bad numbers on the road this season outlined here. Following the game, captain Dion Phaneuf was at a loss for words to describe the latest embarrassing loss.

Video: Dubnyk backstops Wild to victory over Blackhawks to clinch playoff spot


Three months ago, there were calls for Mike Yeo to lose his job as head coach of the Minnesota Wild.

“Everything” was wrong with the struggling Wild at that time, according to Yeo. His temper got the best of him in a tirade that got caught on video and, of course, made its way onto the Internet.

On Jan. 7, the Wild was 11th in the Western Conference, and 2-4-4 in its last 10 games at the time.

That was in January. It’s now April and the Wild is in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The catalyst for Minnesota’s change in fortune? Goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

Of all the trades made this season, the Wild’s acquisition of Dubnyk from the rebuilding Arizona Coyotes could have the greatest impact in the post-season when it’s all said and done.

In a playoff-clinching situation against the Wild’s Central Division foes, the Chicago Blackhawks, Dubnyk was sharp again, making 32 saves. Minnesota got goals from Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker, returning to the lineup from a broken clavicle, less than four minutes apart in the third period for a 2-1 victory.

That’s 11 straight road victories for the Wild.

Playing on back-to-back nights? No problem for Dubnyk.

The Wild clinch a playoff spot with the regulation win.

Zucker (broken clavicle) returns to Wild lineup, one month earlier than expected


When Jason Zucker suffered a broken clavicle that required surgery back in early February, the Wild said he’d be sidelined for three months.

Zucker made it two.

The 23-year-old drew back into the Minnesota lineup on Tuesday night for the first time since Feb. 9, marking a fairly impressive return from an injury that, originally, looked as though it’d rule him out for the remainder of the regular season.

When news broke of Zucker’s injury/surgery, team doctors gave a 12-week timetable for recovery. But he was back on ice four weeks after sustaining the break and, tonight in Chicago, will make his return in a pretty prominent role — on a line with Chris Stewart and Mikko Koivu.

It’s not surprising Minnesota wants to get Zucker right back into the mix. He was second to Zach Parise in goals at the time of his injury (18 to Parise’s 21) and was the team’s leading sniper at even strength. Wild head coach Mike Yeo praised Zucker’s maturation as a player this season, saying the 23-year-old’s progress “was so high this year.”

Devils won’t give out team awards this year, Lamoriello mum on why


It’s been an, ahem, unconventional year in New Jersey, so consider that while reading the latest from The Record’s Tom Gulitti:

Gulitti notes the Devils didn’t hand out trophies during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign either; the reason given was that it wasn’t a full season.

As for this season, it’s been both odd and disappointing. The Devils began with one head coach (Peter DeBoer) and, barring something crazy, will finish with three (Lamoriello, Adam Oates, Scott Stevens). They also missed the playoffs for the third straight year, something former captain Zach Parise said he “never would’ve predicted.”

“Just because of the way things are run,” Parise said in early March, per the Star-Ledger. “I hope they can pull off something at the end of the year, or next year, and get back in.”

Your guess is as good as any to why the Devils aren’t handing out hardware. If it’s because Lamoriello and company didn’t want to celebrate a disappointing campaign, that’s fine, but New Jersey gave out trophies last year — Jaromir Jagr won MVP, Andy Greene earned Unsung Hero and Ryan Carter took home the Players’ Player — despite the fact the Devils finished 10th in the Eastern Conference, with just 35 wins.

As is often the case in New Jersey, you can probably chalk this latest decision up to Lou being Lou.

Goalie nods: Oilers start Bachman, look to avoid another Kings blowout


All the latest from the blue paint…

Bachman returns for Oilers

Richard Bachman will return to the Edmonton net tonight when the Oilers host the playoff-hungry Kings at Rexall.

Bachman, who’s been away from the team following the death of his brother, will look to regain the form shown in his last two starts — a 29-save effort in a 4-1 win over Colorado, and a 29-save shutout in a 4-0 win over Dallas.

But it won’t be easy.

The Kings absolutely crushed the Oilers two games ago, lighting up Ben Scrivens and ECHL recall Tyler Bunz in a 8-2 victory. It marked the first time in five years L.A. scored eight goals in a game, prompting Oilers forward Jordan Eberle to lash out at his team’s performance.

“That was embarrassing,” Eberle said. “They treated us like a junior team. They pushed us around.

“You’re a professional hockey player. You have to be able to push through whatever it is, or there will be guys who will take your spot.”

No word yet on who’ll start for L.A. Jonathan Quick played last night in Vancouver and fared well, stopping 37 of 38 shots in a 2-1 shootout loss.


Rangers at Devils: Cam Talbot vs. Cory Schneider

Isles at Flyers: Jaroslav Halak vs. (No Philly starter yet)

Pens at Sens: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Andrew Hammond

‘Canes at Wings: (No Carolina starter yet) vs. Jimmy Howard

Jets at Blues: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Jake Allen

Wild at ‘Hawks: Devan Dubnyk vs. Corey Crawford

Preds at Avs: (No Nashville starter yet) vs. Semyon Varlamov

Coyotes at Flames: Mike Smith vs. Jonas Hiller