Dane Mizutani / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Jamie Trachsel was officially named the new Gophers softball coach on Monday afternoon. Now she can take a breath. "It's crazy how fast things have moved," Trachsel told the Pioneer Press on July 24. "It's only been a few days and a lot has changed in that short amount of time." Gophers athletics director Mark Coyle made good on his promise to move quickly through the hiring process, placing Trachsel six days after former softball coach Jessica Allister bolted for her alma mater Stanford.
ST. PAUL — Lifelong best friends Jared Spurgeon and Tyler Ennis were working out together at a West Edmonton, Alberta, gym a few weeks ago when a ringing cellphone interrupted them. Ennis stopped his lift and rushed over to answer. It was his agent, Eustace King, calling to say the Buffalo Sabres had traded Ennis, along with winger Marcus Foligno, to the Minnesota Wild for defenseman Marco Scandella and winger Jason Pominville. The next few seconds were a blur as Spurgeon and Ennis burst into celebration.
MINNEAPOLIS — Sydney Smith can't really explain it. She was simply ready for a change. "I felt in my heart that I wanted something else," she said. "I saw my chance and I took it." After committing to Louisiana State as a sophomore at Maple Grove High School and spending two years in Baton Rouge, the 20-year-old right-handed pitcher officially transferred to Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon. Smith will have two years of eligibility left and can play immediately under NCAA transfer rules.
ST. PAUL — Imagine this scenario. You step off the plane in a new country, barely knowing a lick of the language. You're shuttled to a hotel, where there's a brief window of time to relax before reporting to work to meet dozens of new faces. You get a couple more days to assimilate, and the next week is filled with exercises conducted in a foreign language. You're 18 years old. You're overwhelmed. You're also having an absolute blast.
ST. PAUL — Wild winger Sam Anas has no problem admitting that last season was a struggle for him — at least early on. As a rookie with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League, the 24-year-old Anas had a tough time adjusting to the professional level. His size, or lack thereof, played the biggest role, as the 5-foot-8, 165-pound Anas quickly realized that some of the things that worked when he was a star at Quinnipiac University wouldn't fly at the next level.
ST. PAUL — Ryan Edquist had flashbacks to the glory days at Lakeville North High School when he saw former teammate Jack Sadek coming right at him on Monday afternoon, July 10, at the Xcel Energy Center. As a goaltender, Edquist had seen this movie before, and knew exactly what to expect from Sadek during the third day of the Minnesota Wild's annual development camp. "He had a bomb back in high school," Edquist said. "I was ready for it."
ST. PAUL — Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve no longer thinks about the last-second, 77-76 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks in the decisive Game 5 of last year's WNBA Finals. "Other than when people bring it up," she said with a smile after practice on Wednesday, July 5 at Mayo Clinic Square in Minneapolis. "It's not at the top of my mind anymore." Reeve, however, understands why Thursday's 7 p.m. game against the Sparks at Xcel Energy Center is being billed as a rematch of last year's WNBA Finals, even if she refuses to call it that.
ST. PAUL — Wild winger Mikael Granlund has filed for arbitration, a source confirmed Wednesday afternoon. That comes a day after fellow winger Nino Niederreiter also filed for arbitration. This is standard practice for restricted free agents, like Granlund and Niederreiter, and the Wild still can negotiate toward a long-term deal up until a potential hearing in late July or early August. Granlund, 25, is coming off the best season of his five-year career, in which he led the team with 69 points, setting career highs with 26 goals and 43 assists.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Wild agreed to a two-year, $1.45 million contract with defenseman Mike Reilly on Monday afternoon. Reilly's cap hit for the upcoming season will be $725,000, mirroring the contract signed by fellow defenseman Gustav Olofsson last week. Reilly, 23, a former University of Minnesota star from Chanhassen, struggled to stick in the NHL last season, scoring one goal in 17 games. He spent most of his time with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League, leading defensemen with 30 points (5 goals, 25 assists) in 57 games.
ST. PAUL — Kyle Rau scored one of the most memorable goals in Xcel Energy Center history more than six years ago when he lifted Eden Prairie to a state championship with a diving goal in triple overtime. Now he gets to call it home. Kind of. Rau signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Wild on Saturday afternoon that pays him $700,000 in the NHL and $200,000 in the AHL. He joins five other players that signed two-way contracts on Saturday afternoon as the Wild continued to replenish their organizational depth.