Gillies replaced Pouliot on the Sheppard and Nolan line. This line looked really good early on all over but looked awesome in the 2nd down low. Gillies has gotten stronger down low, has great speed, but does still fumble the puck. He did make the line much better than Pouliot did.
I think someone talked to Pouliot after his first two shifts. He was just standing on the ice...and then he became someone who made nice stickhandling plays and was noticeable. He still tried to do too much himself.
Also, Irmen looked 10 times better than he did yesterday. He was still slow but made smart plays and kept driving to the net.
Clutterbuck drilled Falk and Falk must have said something because I didn't see any retaliation...but Clutterbuck gave him a good slash so maybe I missed an earlier hit.
Clutterbuck looks great with Butch and MIttens. Again, I think Clutterbuck has a lot more hockey IQ and hands than we have seen.
I don't know about Butch in the middle. He stickhandles through everyone and makes great saucer passes but those passes get knocked down by NHL caliber players...
The Bruno-Koivu-Havlat line plays at a different level...they seemed to take it easy the second half.
Stoner and Noreau were not out there, as well as Zanon or Hnidy. Falk/Scandella were out there.
I really like Falks game. He seems to make safe plays, is mobile and very physical.
Scandella seemed to have good physical tools but was slow to react...but a lot of guys were.
Foucault is going to be my sleeper prospect (that a lot of others have already started paying attention to). He has great hands and a shot as many have stated. But he hustles, plays smart and did little things that a young guy should during the practice before the scrimmage. He moved the nets for the zamboni, picked up pucks and was just trying to put in effort. I think that shows a good mental side to the tools he has shown. He played with Kalus and I thought they looked good together.
Since I mentioned Kalus, I will say that he does hustle. He makes some smart plays with the puck and drives the net. I didn't see him shoot but I like the effort.
Cuma was paired with Burns. He made some lazy outlet passes but still seems to be smarter than most people on the ice. He does look like a thin player though and can't handle the NHL guys along the boards. He will be a great defensemen in a few years. I think he is one of those guys that plays to the level of competition. Wherever he goes, he will be one of the better players but never one to tear it up.
Brodziak-he played with Belanger and I didn't notice him all that much. I know he has a past relationship with Richards and Fletcher but I would have liked to see more hustle from a guy who is coming to a new team and isn't a 1-2 line player.
Hilbert: He is small but smart. He did have a nice onetimer goal from Koivu and played with Belanger and Brodziak. He is a good depth player but I don't think he has the size for a 3/4th liner forechecker. (With the way it sounds Richards wants the first man in to finish his check)
Krupp was out there...actually I only noticed him in the warmups and when Clutterbuck layed him out...
Zingoni: AHL player. Has decent speed but doesn't have the hands NHL guys do. You can tell by his passes...they aren't as crisp and he doesn't have a huge shot.
Sheppard: Once again, he is smart, has good hands and is great down low but he seems so lethargic through the neutral zone. I don't know if it is his stride but he doesn't seem to move his feet.
Schultz made some nice passes but jumped in 3984329 again and took himself out of position. Burns did this as well but Burns creates with the puck and has more speed to get back.
Zidlicky looked like he was playing in a Sunday night league, trying to puckhandle around people along the boards.
Belanger will be Belanger.
Same goalies as yesterday: Backstrom vs. Dubi today in 1st, and then Khudobin vs. Harding in the 2nd.
I didn't see Scott, Madsen, Earl out there in addition to those I mentioned earlier.
I wrote this quickly so I do apologize.
I will once again say I really appreciate the Wild regime doing this.
As far as line combinations go, it appears the early ones Richards is looking at:
Just because hockey is right around the corner and the last two scrimmages got me all pumped, I will put in the lines that I would have if I were coach. Obviously, I acknowledge I am a fan and it was only two scrimmages!!
PP1:Brunette-Koivu-Havlat (Bruno is just too good down low not to have him on the first PP)
Zidlicky-Bouchard (I wish Bouchard would have watched Ronning run our PP back when he was a rookie. Bouchard is too smart and should be able to put pucks on net when needed...but he never was a strong player on the point under Lemaire)
Gillies: Give him a year in Houston. I love his speed and physicality. His hands have gotten better but he will benefit from getting 18-20 minutes down there.
Pouliot- I just don't see the work ethic being enough to give him top 2 minutes. I just don't care about him anymore.
Cuma-His mental game is good enough for the NHL but his body is not. Let him be the go to guy on his junior team and let him play a significant role on team Canada for the World Juniors.