Wild players remain ‘businesslike’ at outdoor practice in St. Louis Park
After taking Friday off to recharge the batteries, coach Dean Evason asked his players to push themselves Saturday
ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. — With hundreds of fans in attendance at the Recreation Outdoor Center in St. Louis Park on Saturday morning, the Minnesota Wild managed to entertain at their annual outdoor practice while still getting some meaningful work in ahead of the West Coast road trip.
After giving his players Friday off to recharge the batteries, coach Dean Evason asked them to push themselves on Saturday, even if the environment was atypical of a practice at TRIA Rink in downtown St. Paul. That’s exactly what he got during a spirited 30-minute practice.
“The fans create a lot of energy with the kids screaming,” Evason said. “It’s a fun day, for sure.”
Most of the practice centered on work in the offensive zone after the Wild failed to score a goal in a recent 4-0 loss to the Seattle Kraken. They are hoping to turn things around with games against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks in Southern California next week before a rematch with the Kraken in Seattle.
“We could’ve played a game at the end or something like that. We didn’t do that,” Evason said. “We wanted the guys to be businesslike and go about their work and get their legs going and their minds going. We had great energy today. We asked them to push themselves and we thought we got that out of them.”
No doubt winger Jordan Greenway was the most notable player participating in the outdoor practice.
After missing the past few games with an upper-body injury, Greenway appears to be getting close to returning to the lineup. He skated alongside Joel Eriksson Ek and Matt Boldy, and Evason said Greenway will likely make his return either on the front end or back end of the back-to-back with the Kings and Ducks.
“We’ve got to see how he feels tomorrow and then he’ll get one more skate,” Evason said. “Honestly, our thought process is maybe a back-to-back is a little much at first. We will see. If he plays the first game, then maybe. If not, he’ll play the second game hopefully.”
Asked why the Wild are going to be cautious with Greenway next week, Evason replied, “I don’t care what the injury is, it’s difficult. We don’t want to throw him too much.”
It sounds as if winger Marcus Foligno could also make the West Coast road trip. He skated by himself on Saturday morning and is getting healthier after missing the past couple of games with an upper-body injury.
“We will see how he comes out of that,” Evason said. “He possibly could be coming with us.”
As for winger Ryan Hartman and Brandon Duhaime, both out with upper body injuries, neither will travel with the team.
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