Wild Notebook: Preseason ends, and odds
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Preseason games count for nothing, and this one counted for even less. But still, a win is a win, has got to be the thinking among members of the Minnesota Wild. It was the final preseason tune-up before Thursday's regular season opener versus the Carolina Hurricanes in Helsinki, and the Wild snapped a 1-1 third period tie, beating Finnish professional team Ilves Tampere 5-1 on Monday in Scandinavia.
Cal Clutterbuck had a hat trick for the Wild, and joked afterward with Mike Russo of the Star Tribune that it was his first three-goal game since he was in junior hockey, or more likely since a summer league at the St. Louis Park Rec Center a few months ago.
Niklas Backstrom stopped 24 of the 25 shots he faced as the Wild finished the preseason with a 1-4-2 mark.
Jose happy to be here
Like many able-bodied and talented folks throughout North America, Jose Theodore was on the sofa, looking for work. So when he got the call from his agent saying the Wild was interested in his services in the wake of the Josh Harding injury, he didn't have to think about it much.
"I was at home, just looking around the league, and when the Wild gave my agent a call I was really excited," said Theodore, who has plenty of experience facing the Wild after spending two seasons with Northwest Division rival Colorado. "I played with Andrew Brunette a couple years ago in Denver. Looking at some of the players, it's a great challenge and a great team."
Theodore was a 37-game winner last season with the Capitals, and said despite his clear status as the backup to Backstrom, Theodore said he's always got the top job on his mind and will push hard once he gets to St. Paul.
"He's the main guy, (Backstrom) has been playing great for them and is a great goalie," Theodore said, in an interview with Kevin Falness of the Wild Radio Network. "But every year, even when I was the number one, I'm pushing to play as many games as I can."
Wild face long odds
If you're a gambler who likes to wager on the long-shot, the Wild may be the team for you. According to oddsmaker site Bogdog.com, the Wild have the third-worst chance to win the Stanley Cup among the 30 NHL teams.
The Wild, Florida Panthers and Atlanta Thrashers are all listed at 80-1, just ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders, who are both 100-1 shots. The oddsmakers are predicting a Stanley Cup final between the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks (6-1) and the Washington Capitals (13-2), who were the NHL's best regular season team a year ago.
If you like to place bets on individual players, Backstrom is a 16-1 shot to win the award for the NHL's best goalie, while they've set the over/under for Mikko Koivu's points for the season at 71.5