Fire forces Wild to change gear

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:58 AM ET

Wild defenceman Nick Schultz was able to shoulder on despite losing a favourite piece of equipment in Friday’s van fire: His shoulder pads.

What to do, what to do? Schultz went shopping at Play It Again Sports in Kanata.

“I got a new pair,” he said. “I went to look for an old pair. I had mine for about 10 years, but I couldn’t find any used.”

Schultz paid $200 for the pads. Surely, he’ll be submitting the receipt to someone.

How tough is it to make a quick adjustment to new gear, like many of the Wild had to do for Saturday night’s game?

Daniel Alfredsson said he’s taken skates right out of the box between periods and played in them a couple of times. Of course, broken jaws only keep Alfredsson out for one game, too.

“It’s not something you want to do,” he said of playing with the untested blades. “It’s hard for guys who have had skates for a half-season or more, especially guys that wear them a lot.”

Skates were an issue with Shane “Sheriff” Hnidy. The fire claimed two of the four (two pairs) he brought with him on the trip. Both of them were lefties.

“There’s nothing you can do about it. Life goes on,” the former Senator said Saturday morning. “Everybody is a little stunned. It’s out of the ordinary. Nobody got hurt. Equipment is replaceable. It’s a little mix and match, but we’ll be ready.”

Meanwhile, some Minnesota players were running as hot as their stuff was in The Bank’s parking lot 29 hours before game time. Minutes before the opening puck drop, the Wild sent former Hab Guillaume Latendresse back to the hotel, where he joined teammates Eric Belanger and Robbie Earl to fight a bug.

Ottawa’s turning into a scary place to visit, and not necessarily because the Senators are so big and tough.

The last two out-of-town teams to invade the capital have been hit by the flu, fire and food poisoning. Oh, you didn’t know? Seven Sabres played last Wednesday despite being ill from something they ate at a nearby restaurant.

In the 2-0 loss to the Senators, they took the term “soft dumps” to a new level.

Starts and stops

Mike Brodeur had an instant fan in Don Cherry, who led off Coach’s Corner talking about the 211th pick in the 2003 draft. “He’s not intimidated,” Cherry said, pointing out the whack Brodeur gave a Minnesota player who encroached his territory early in the game. “I love these guys who come from nowhere. This is his big shot. He can move.” ... Your heart probably sunk a little bit with 15:20 left in the third, when Brodeur lost his bid to become the first goalie to earn a shutout in his NHL debut since, ahh, .... since Montreal’s Yann Danis blanked the Atlanta Thrashers Oct. 12, 2005. Thank you, Liam Maguire ... At 7 p.m., Mike Russo, the solid Wild beat writer, tweeted, “This arena is absolutely empty. We are in Canada, right? Holy moly.” The announced crowd was 16,259, but yeah, before the game started it looked like a lot of people opted for the Dallas-New Orleans NFL game over this one.

BETWEEN PERIODS:

Reporters at Saturday’s morning skate commented that Cory Clouston was in surly mood. “Ask Pascal (Leclaire) if he has any sympathy for bad luck,” he said of his No. 1 goalie, who missed his 15th game with a broken cheekbone suffered while he sat on the bench ... Maybe Clouston ate some sour grapes on the team charter coming home from Friday’s game against the Devils. He’s just lucky he didn’t pay $900 bucks for a return flight to New Jersey on Continental Airlines, and then get told “we only have decaf” when asking for a coffee. Now that’s a reason to be grumpy ... Tip of the tuque to broadcaster extraordinare Dave Schreiber, who was honoured Saturday for his entrance into semi-retirement. Fear not, “The Voice” will still be calling 67’s and Senators games on the Team 1200, only now he’s going to have more time to work on his golf swing. Letters of congratulations he received came from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Dalton McGuinty, Mayor Larry O’Brien, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Senators president Cyril Leeder and 67’s GM Brian Kilrea. Senators owner Eugene Melnyk declared it Dave Schreiber Day at Scotiabank Place. Clearly they recognize Schreiber for the legend he is.

THINGS I THINK I THINK:

The new pads they flew in for Niklas Backstrom have a hole in them. And at the 24-second mark of the second period, Milan Michalek found it, and at 2:55 of the third, Erik Karlsson relocated it ... In Saturday’s Sun, you would have seen a quote from Karlsson regarding the pursuit of his first NHL goal. “I’m close now,” he said right after Ottawa’s 4-2 loss to the Devils. Talk about calling your shot.

JUST SAYIN’:

A little disappointed we didn’t see Matt “Big Country” Carkner drop ‘em with Derek Boogaard. You? ... If I’m Clouston, I go back with Brodeur against Boston Monday ... Get this: The other Brodeur was pulled after letting in three goals on six shots last night in Atlanta. Replacing him and getting the win for the Devils? Why, Yann Danis, of course.

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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