The Minnesota Wild are ready to roll.
The team's backup equipment arrived in Ottawa on a charter flight from Minneapolis at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Eleven players will suit up in virtually new equipment because a van carrying their gear caught fire Friday at Scotiabank Place.
GM Chuck Fletcher confirmed the equipment of nine players survived the blaze. He said the club will be ready to take on the Senators Saturday night at Scotiabank Place.
“I spoke to the league. We’re going to play. I haven’t asked for anything from them,” said Fletcher. “Our biggest concern was the health of our players and I feel very comfortable we’re not putting anybody at risk. We’re going to play tonight.”
Fletcher, who doesn’t know the cause of the fire, said it’s been a trying 24 hours. Five or six players will be wearing new skates.
“The players were stunned initially. The nine that found out their gear was intact were probably more excited than the players whose gear wasn’t intact,” he said. “There was some good-natured ribbing going on. We’ve got to play. We’ve come too far. We were 3-9 at one point and we’ve put ourselves in a position for a playoff spot.”
The Wild have recalled goalie Anton Khudobin from their AHL affiliate in Houston in case netminders Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding can’t play.
Asked if he had any sympathy for the Wild goalies having to playing in new equipment, Senators coach Cory Clouston didn’t seem to care.
“Ask Pascal (Leclaire) if he has any sympathy for bad luck,” said Clouston. Leclaire, of course, broke his cheekbone sitting on the bench. After a horrid performance in a loss to the New Jersey Devils Friday, the Senators will give Mike Brodeur his first NHL start.
“He just has to play his game. He’s a big goalie who stays square to the puck,” said Clouston.