Monday, October 4, 2010

Go See Cal! Go See Cal! Go See Cal!

Clutterbuck makes Finnish SM-liiga team pay for concentrating on countrymen, as Wild finally get off pre-season schneid with 5-1 win

By Wild Road Tripper

HELSINKI, FINLAND -- Cal Clutterbuck. You can't forget him. You can only hope to contain him.

Did you ever think Wild fans would say that?

In Tampere, Finland Monday night, the Ilves Tampere (Tampere Lynx) were shown that they coudn't contain him, either, as the Minnesota Wild came away with a 5-1 win, the only win the Wild will have in pre-season, before an announced 4,625.

The Finnish locals, who came out despite the ticket prices of upwards of 75 Euros each, gave both sides a standing ovation at the end of the game for a great show, despite the fact that for the first two periods, the Wild looked like once again they were going thru the motions. Fans in the Wild official cheering section were noticably disappointed, in the first two periods of this one.

But Clutterbuck went about his work, not exactly setting a single-game record for hits, but being in the right place, at the right time, sure helped the Wild to their first win of the pre-season, in their last pre-season game.

That entire line -- Clutterbuck, John Madden, and Chuck Kobasew -- proved to be the difference last night. But the fact was that the Finns were so intent on shutting down the Wild's No. 1 line, Mikko Koivu-Antti Miettinen-Andrew Brunette, that they quite literally forgot that with the expanded SM-liiga 22-man active roster, the Wild could roll four lines and four full seats of defense. And, they did.

Practice was cancelled for Tuesday, as the team awaits the arrival of the Carolina Hurricanes from St. Petersburg, Russia, where they lost last night to Evgeni Nabokov and SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, 5-3, after 'Canes coach Paul Maurice benched star forward Eric Staal, after it was said that the Russians were going after his knees.

Hopefully they won't say the same things, after Thursday night's NHL Premiere regular season opener.

Next Game: vs. Carolina, Thursday, October 7, 11:00 AM Central Time (7:00 PM East European Time), Hartwall Areena, Helsinki. (TV: Versus).

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