SUN Hockey Pool

Wildly frustrating

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

MINNESOTA -- The Minnesota Wild are not the team you want to see when you need a win.

Not if you're the Edmonton Oilers, who've been Wild whipping boys for two years now.

Edmonton used to beat Minnesota for fun, but times have changed in the Northwest Division, where the Wild are 12-4 against Edmonton over the last two seasons.

After a shoddy loss in Detroit, head coach Craig MacTavish is eager to see how the team bounces back.

"I want to see a raised level of urgency. Coming off a loss you have to dial in your focus. We'll see what effect that has on our performance. You don't want to lose two games in a row, especially this early in the year."

In eight games last season, the Oilers were shut out three times and managed a grand total of nine goals. Expect the Wild to be equally stingy this season.

"There will be a whole lot less open ice than what we saw in the first three games," said MacTavish.

"It'll be really interesting from our perspective to see how we deal with that."

BABY ON BOARD

Wild defenceman Nick Schultz missed practice on Monday to be with his wife, Jessica, who gave birth to the couple's first child. They had a son, Jake, born just after midnight.

Schultz came to Minnesota as an 18-year-old rookie in 2000, now he's a dad.

"It's a pretty special feeling," he said.

FIGHT CLUB

Derek Boogaard raised plenty of eyebrows when he opened a hockey camp in Saskatchewan last summer, where he taught young players how to fight. But there wasn't as much criticism as one would expect.

"I did interviews for CNN and FOX News and stuff like that and I never heard anything negative," he said.

"I got one negative article from a lady here (in Minnesota) saying 'What's the world coming to, blah, blah, blah.'

"Two weeks later she wrote again because people were sending her hate mail. I thought that was pretty funny.

"It was probably 70-30 for positive negative."

He had four camps with about 80 kids in total - the kids wore helmets, boxing gloves and mouth guards - and he might do it again this summer.

MOTHER ON BOARD

A lot of NHL teams have brought their players' fathers along on a road trip as a special thank you for all the support they received as children. The Wild did it last year and liked it so much they're doing it again ... with the mothers.

"Everything that happens is for the fathers, not the mothers," said head coach Jacques Lemaire. "I thought it was a good gesture for the organization to think about them.

"They're the ones who feed them and show them how to walk. They go to the arena most of the time. I know my wife did that with our kids. I wasn't there in the arenas, my wife was. Every morning, 6 o'clock she was there."

CHANGE UP

Andrew Cogliano has moved up to the second line between Raffi Torres and Robert Nilsson, while Jarret Stoll will centre Sam Gagner and JF Jacques.

"They have some chemistry together," MacTavish said of the new second line. "And Stollie plays so many minutres on the power play and the penalty kill that it's almost too much ice to come back with him, Raffi, and Robert, who don't traditionally kill penalties. We just want to go with what's working, and what's working five on five is that threesome."

THEY SAID IT

"Between the two of them they add up to a decent sized player," Craig MacTavish, on 6-7 Derek Boogaard and 5-10 Pierre Marc Bouchard.


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