Dane Mizutani / St. Paul Pioneer Press
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."
ST. PAUL — Things are looking up for the Wild. In addition to entering Tuesday night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Xcel Energy Center on a two-game winning streak, the team moved one step closer to getting big forward Charlie Coyle back in the lineup. A slap shot from Jared Spurgeon on Oct. 12 at Chicago broke Coyle's right leg, and Tuesday's morning skate marked the first time he was on the ice with his teammates since the injury.
ST. PAUL — Wild coach Bruce Boudreau hasn't been afraid to rip his team during a less-than-impressive start to the season. Still, he has never appeared panicked despite the fact the Wild (7-7-2, 16 points) currently sit last in the Central Division more than a month into the 2017-18 campaign. Truth is, Boudreau has been down this road before, so he knows there's no reason to freak out with more than 60 games left to play.
ST. PAUL — After each game over the past week or so, Wild winger Jason Zucker has been almost too nervous to open Twitter. While he's been on his nearly unprecedented hot streak — six goals, seven points in three games — his wife, Carly, has been on Twitter fueling the the fire on a joke that has spread around the Twin Cities like wildfire. "He would call me after (a game) and be like, 'What do you tweet tonight?'" Carly Zucker said with a laugh. "It's honestly been hilarious."
PHILADELPHIA—Contrary to what it felt like a few days ago, no, the sky isn't falling on the Minnesota Wild. After a putrid effort in a 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins at the beginning of the week, the Wild have rattled off three consecutive solid efforts. They return home to the Twin Cities on a two-game winning streak for only the second time this season. It started with coach Bruce Boudreau putting his team through a lengthy 45-minute skate during their Tuesday, Nov. 7, practice that featured players gasping for air by the end of it.
PHILADELPHIA—Marcus Foligno came off the bench like a bat out of hell on his opening shift of the Minnesota Wild's 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, Nov. 9. Foligno skated around, searching for a way to give his team a spark. He proceeded to lay his 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame into an opposing player on three separate occasions before skating back to the bench. "I think it lifts the guys up when I'm out there trying to set the tone," said Foligno, who finished with eight hits. "I think the guys like that and hopefully it gives the team a little spark."