Yesterday, Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said he expected today to be better than the previous two days of camp.
Today is the third day, traditionally known as “mush day” and it shows. Players were skating at half-speed, and the drills along the boards weren't anything special.
When Lemaire was asked again, he said, “I'll be even happier tomorrow.” That doesn't bode terribly well for today's performance.
Although Fargo native Danny Irmen looked good in scrimmage yesterday, in one-on-one drills today he seemed exhausted. He battled well to take the puck away, but he couldn't seem to defend it when he had possession. Irmen is in his third Wild camp, and looked better than he has the past two years, according to Risebrough.
The afternoon scrimmage was between Team Honesty and Team Preparation (great names huh?). Team Honesty won 6-3. It was mostly a half-hearted effort, but there were some great plays and a little teasing. Colton Gillies was awarded a penalty shot in the scrimmage and after a save by Backstrom, one of the other players called out, “Welcome to the NHL.”
Mikko Koivu was looking very sharp on the ice, making plays and demonstrating a great sense of position. It appears he has a greater level of confidence in himself compared to last season. When I asked him after the scrimmage if he was feeling pressure to produce more this season, his answer was a quick no.
Nolan appeared to be right at home with his new team, though in the scrimmage he didn't make a whole lot of effort until he wanted, and then he made some pretty plays.
Petr Kalus, a much-touted draft pick acquired from Boston in the Manny Fernandez trade, says he's worked hard in the offseason and feels optimistic about making the team this year. It showed today as well, as he played feistily in the scrimmage—and even got a little physical.
The team heads home tomorrow afternoon to prepare for their first preseason game.