Dane Mizutani / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Give coach Bruce Boudreau credit. He was was able to get through Monday Nov. 27's postgame news conference in Winnipeg, Man., without blowing a gasket. In a similar situation in March, the Wild coach cut his comments short after a 5-4 loss to the Jets that started with a 4-0 first-period deficit. After one question, Boudreau declared, "That's all, I'm done."
ST. PAUL — It's been a little more than seven months since the Wild had their playoff hopes dashed by the St. Louis Blues in the first round, and no, they haven't forgotten about it. "We have had that game circled on the calendar," Chris Stewart said. "I know the boys are going to be excited about it." While revenge will more than likely be on the minds of some players, the Saturday, Nov. 25, game between the two teams at the Scottrade Center is about a lot more than what happened last season.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings coach Mike Zimmer wasn't satisfied with the subpar special teams performance in Thursday's victory at Detroit, and while kicker Kai Forbath seems like the obvious guy to absorb blame, he was absolved of guilt on Friday, Nov. 24. Forbath had a PAT blocked in the first quarter and a 53-yard field goal deflected in the third quarter of a 30-23 victory over the Lions at Ford Field, but coach Mike Zimmer was looking elsewhere. "I don't think it was really the kicker," he said. "He didn't really get an opportunity."
MINNEAPOLIS — It seems Case Keenum has finally done enough to get coach Mike Zimmer to completely change his tune. While the Vikings' coach still won't flat-out name Keenum the No. 1 quarterback for the rest of the season, he has named him the starter for next Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons. Asked during the Friday, Nov. 24, news conference whether Keenum has solidified himself as the starter moving forward, Zimmer responded, "He will be the starter next week."
ST. PAUL — After another subpar performance in Monday's 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils at the Xcel Energy Cetner, the Wild sent slumping rookies Joel Eriksson Ek and Luke Kunin to the minors before practice on Tuesday, Nov. 21. "We just think those guys need a little bit of confidence," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You know, get a chance to play the power play, get a chance to play 22 or 23 minutes a night."
ST. PAUL — After spending their entire careers with the Buffalo Sabres, both Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis were ecstatic to learn they were being traded to the Minnesota Wild this offseason. They were tired of losing. As a part of a massive rebuild with the Sabres, Foligno and Ennis were subjected to competing with substandard teams. It netted the Sabres a cornerstone piece in the form of star winger Jack Eichel, but the process was hard for players to stomach.
ST. PAUL — Wild winger Jason Zucker joked that he wanted to go broke this season. He's well on his way. As a part of the seasonlong #Give16 campaign, which encourages people to donate to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital in variations of 16 ($16, $160, $16,000) as a nod to his No. 16 jersey, Zucker has pledged $1,600 for every goal he scores this season. Zucker has 11 goals so far, which means as of Sunday night, he and his wife, Carly, are already down $17,600.
ST. PAUL — Chuck Fletcher isn't one to boast. The Wild general manager would rather keep a low profile and let his team do the talking. Still, it's hard to imagine Fletcher wasn't smiling to himself Tuesday, Nov. 14, at Xcel Energy Center as Devan Dubnyk recorded his third straight shutout in a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Fletcher brought Dubnyk to the Twin Cities two and a half years ago in a mid-season trade that not only saved the 2014-15 campaign, it gave the Wild one of the NHL's best goaltenders.
ST. PAUL — Wild defenseman Gustav Olofsson admitted earlier this season that it was tough to stay positive when he wasn't getting consistent playing time. "I tend to get in my head a little bit," he explained. "I try to stay focused and not worry and not think too much." Olofsson, 22, has been rewarded of late, playing in four straight games, and looking like he belongs as the Wild have rattled off three consecutive shutouts heading into the Thursday, Nov. 16, matchup against the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center.
ST. PAUL — July 27, 2009, will always remain seared into Marcus Foligno's memory. That was the day he lost his mother, Janis, to a six-year battle with breast cancer. "It's been eight years now," Foligno said before pausing to compose himself. "It still feels like it was yesterday." Janis Foligno was 47 years old. "There's not a day that I don't wake up and think about her," Foligno said. "She was a huge part of my life. I think it hits me even more now that I'm trying to start a family and I think about how nice it'd be to have her still around."