After missing Saturday's scoreless scrimmage, I was able to catch the second morning scrimmage today. In an attempt to be on the ball, I even took notes! Unfortunately, those notes ended up being ruined after a bike ride back through rain so this is all by memory. Apparently that's just karma as a grown man standing in the back writing down information on other grown men can be seen as creepy in some circumstances.
Not that creepy though
Mostly Accurate* Line Combinations:
Setoguchi - Koivu - Heatley
Nystrom - McMillan - Staubitz
Foucault - Wellman - Bulmer (first half only)
Schultz - Lundin
Scandella - Genoway
Stoner - Spurgeon
Latendresse - Cullen - Bouchard
Taffe - Brodziak - Clutterbuck
Palmer - McIntyre - Kassian
Falk - Zidlicky
Zanon - Prosser
Obviously with there being a 56 man training camp, the two teams rolled more than 3 or 4 lines; these are just lines which feature players destined for St. Paul. Sorry Kris Fredheim fans. Some lines were switched throughout the two halves (there were two sessions of 20 minutes) although the the top combinations (Seto-Koivu-Heatley and Latendresse-Cullen-Bouchard) stayed together.
The only goal in today's scrimmage, and the weekend, was by the player Wild fans are expecting to light the lamp, Dany Heatley. Heatley scored the only goal on a penalty shot (there were no power plays) and the first line did a good job moving the puck and forcing Kyle Brodziak to take a penalty.
However at other times it was apparent that despite some chemistry the first line is still a work in progress. While there was a difference between the top-six and everyone else, the pace and flow was sloppy. Other than a few occasions, neither team was able to control the zone for a period of time. Hopefully Saturday went a little better but the fact that the goalies weren't challenged is a little disturbing, inter-team scrimmage or not. It's not like our defense is great or anything.
Again, it's tough to take away too much or put much stock into an inter-team scrimmage - it's the preseason of preseason and First Round Bust is not ESPN in August - but one player who stood out to me was Matt Cullen. He played well centering Guillaume Latendresse and Pierre-Marc Bouchard and almost scored on a tip-in which ringed off the inside of the post. I don't know if he'll end up being the second line center as it will be interesting to see how Brodziak looks but there are encouraging signs for the Moorhead native. Or if we're using over-exaggerated preseason talk, "will Matt Cullen score 50 points?"
Other quick thoughts:
-Niklas Backstrom had the day off and looks to be brought back slowly as he's not playing Tuesday in Edmonton.
-There was a crowd of over 2000 in attendance but honestly it sounded like 200. Maybe the lack of goals or the fact that it was 10 AM and the X didn't serve coffee had something to do with it.
-I asked Nordy what he/she/it was but the mascot continued his wall of silence before later stealing some popcorn from a child. The search goes on...
-Casey Wellman was an enigma of sorts. At certain points he would be strongly leading a line which would look great in Houston (well if Brett Bulmer could be sent to Houston) and others he would make bad decisions and give the puck away in the defensive zone.
-Speaking of Bulmer, there is more that meets the eye than the scoresheet. He's not afraid to throw his weight around Clutterbuck-style and in fact looks as if he could be a Clutterbuck in the making.
-Mike Lundin is an interesting player to watch and focus on for an entire shift. He played well with his D partner which a good sign for a player signed to eat minutes.
-Speaking of ESPN, Scott Burnside was at the X.
-It's amazing how much the Heatley trade took the sails out of former Gopher Jeff Taffe being signed as the 14th forward. I almost forgot the Wild signed him.
That's all for today. For those who attended either day or watched online, what did you think about the scrimmages?
*Consider this a preemptive apology for any and all errors.