Dane Mizutani / St. Paul Pioneer Press
LOS ANGELES — Yet another fresh face hit the ice for the Wild before Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center with blue line prospect Louie Belpedio signing a two-year, entry-level contract earlier in the day. Belpedio, 21, who turned pro last month after a four-year career at the University of Miami-Ohio, is scheduled to make his NHL debut Saturday against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center, giving him a couple of days to get acclimated to the next level.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Bruce Boudreau hurried home after the Wild's 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, April 2, at the Xcel Energy Center. There was still work to be done, and on this particular night, the Wild coach was the biggest Los Angeles Kings fan in the world. "I watched the whole game," Boudreau said less than 24 hours after the Wild clinched their sixth consecutive playoff berth thanks to the Kings' 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. "When it got to 2-1 I was going, 'C'mon. Let's go.' When it got to 3-1, I knew (we were in).
ST. PAUL—With No. 1 defenseman Ryan Suter out with a broken fibula, according to a source, the Wild have recalled defenseman Carson Soucy from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League. Suter went down after slamming his right foot into the back boards while jostling for the puck late in the second period of Minnesota's 4-1 loss Saturday, March 31, to the Dallas Stars. He had to be helped to the bench play and couldn't put any weight on his right foot as he made his way to the locker room.
DALLAS — As the clock ticked down in the Thursday, March 29, win over the Dallas Stars, a perturbed Daniel Winnik finally decided enough was enough, wrestling the agitating Antoine Roussel to the floor and clobbering him with a bevy of punches before the officials intervened. That came after Roussel spent the entire game doing little things to try and get under the skin of his opponents, including taking a run at a couple of guys in the final 10 seconds.
ST. PAUL — There's only five games left in the regular season, and barring a monumental collapse, the Wild looked poised to clinch a playoff berth for the sixth consecutive season. That has become nearly a formality thanks to a seven-game point streak over the past two weeks that has the Wild (43-24-10, 96 points) firmly in third place in the Central Division, five points clear of the two Western Conference wild card spots currently occupied by the St. Louis Blues (43-28-5, 91 points) and the Anaheim Ducks (39-25-13, 91 points).
ST. PAUL — As soon as Jordan Greenway returned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, David Quinn knew something was different. "He had this swagger," said Quinn, who helped develop the 21-year-old as Boston University's coach. "He really took his game to the next level. He was the best player on the ice in every game we played from that point on." In those games, the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Greenway helped lead his team to a 6-1-1 record, the only loss coming to Michigan on Sunday night, March 24, one game short of reaching the Frozen Four.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It was a bittersweet moment for Eric Staal standing in the visitor's locker room at Bridgestone Arena after the 2-1 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, March 27. Staal reached the 40-goal mark for the third time in his 14-year NHL career with a game-tying goal late in the third period, but the Wild ending up losing an important game to the Western Conference leaders.
ST. PAUL—Less than 24 hours after his collegiate season with Boston University ended, the Wild on Monday, March 26, signed hulking winger Jordan Greenway to a three-year, entry-level contract. It will start with the remainder of the 2017-18 season and the 21-year-old Greenway is expected to make his NHL debut at some point this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday's road game against the Nashville Predators.
ST. PAUL — Wild winger Nino Niederreiter strolled into the Xcel Energy Center on Saturday afternoon, March 24, with his biggest fan by his side. On this particular day, they also happened to be teammates, as the Wild signed 7-year-old Amare Hanson to a one-day contract in conjunction with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Amare was born with a rare congenital heart condition that has forced him to go through three open-heart surgeries. Although the condition is not terminal, his mother, Michelle Losh, said her son will need a new heart at some point.
ST. PAUL — As crazy as it sounds, maybe it’s a good thing the Wild haven’t locked up a playoff spot yet. At least this way, they can’t take their foot off the gas. You might remember last season, the Wild were one of the best teams in the NHL until a horrible 4-10-2 stretch in March that left them sputtering into the playoffs. While the Wild managed to right the ship with a 4-1-0 stretch in April, they bowed out in five games of a disastrous first-round series against the rival St. Louis Blues.