Ten-year-old Nino Johnson of Maplewood, a Twin Cities boy who already did something he’ll never forget, had another big moment Saturday evening, at the Xcel Energy Center.
The Minnesota Wild have signed right wing Nino Niederreiter to a three-year contract. The Wild announced the deal Thursday. Minnesota had been negotiating with Niederreiter all summer and time was running short with training camp set to begin next week.
An NHL star was among those moved last month by the heroism of 10-year-old Nino Johnson, of Maplewood, who saved his grandfather, Pino Lipari, from drowning. Lipari was in his backyard pool playing ball with his grandson, when the ball drifted into the deep end. Lipari is not a strong swimmer, but tried to retrieve the ball anyway.
The Minnesota Wild have made qualifying offers to five restricted free agents: defenseman Jonathon Blum, right wing Justin Fontaine, goalie Darcy Kuemper, right wing Nino Niederreiter and left wing Jason Zucker.
Two hours before Game 7 in Colorado, Nino Niederreiter sat alone in the stands. Just a man, his thoughts and his hockey sticks. It’s a routine he started a few years ago and does before every game; sitting in the seats, taping his sticks and getting focused.
The Wild left St. Paul, Minn. on Saturday with a very different feeling than when they arrived earlier in the week. “Obviously our guys are feeling pretty good right now,” coach Mike Yeo said.
Jason Pominville scored for Minnesota in the second period off the back of Chicago goalie Corey Crawford’s skate and the Wild beat the Blackhawks 4-2 on Friday night to even the Western Conference semifinal series at two games apiece.
The Minnesota Wild have returned defenseman Keith Ballard to the lineup for Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal against Chicago. Coach Mike Yeo confirmed the change after the pre-game skate Tuesday. Ballard replaced Nate Prosser on the third blue line pair.
After a thrilling overtime win Wednesday night against the Colorado Avalanche, hockey fans have been rushing to get their hands on anything with a Wild logo on it. “This city is pumped. I mean this state’s pumped. We are ready to go,” said Corey Reding, one of many fans with an arm-full of merchandise Friday at The Hockey Lodge inside the Xcel Center.
As you know by now, the Minnesota Wild won their first playoff series in 11 years, defeating the Colorado Avalanche in seven games to move on to the next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Nino Niederreiter scored his second goal of the game 5:02 into overtime and Ilya Bryzgalov made a big save filling in for an injured Darcy Kuemper, leading the Minnesota Wild to a 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 on Wednesday night.
Kyle Brodziak scored two goals and John Curry made 43 saves in his Wild debut to lead Minnesota over the struggling St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Thursday night.
David Booth scored two unassisted goals and Eddie Lack made 29 saves to lead the Vancouver Canucks over the Minnesota Wild 5-2 on Wednesday night. Zack Kassian, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler also scored for Vancouver as the Canucks try to make a late push to overtake Phoenix and Dallas for the Western Conference’s final wild-card playoff spot.
It’s an exciting and a bit of a strange time for the Minnesota Wild, who are ready to make a push in the final 23 games, but are unsure of who will be available off the injured list.
Darcy Kuemper made 34 saves, Jared Spurgeon had two assists in his return from injury and the Minnesota Wild defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Tuesday night.