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Wild’s Swedes – and honorary Swede – celebrate new Christmas tradition

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ST. PAUL – While many of the Wild’s veteran players were busy looking after their children and families, some of the youngest were getting ready for next weekend’s Winter Classic by playing a bit of outdoor hockey and celebrating. what they called a “Swedish Christmas”.

It was one of the ways the Wild players killed an extra day of vacation after its Dec. 23 game against the Detroit Red Wings became the fourth to be postponed and before the NHL announced its game against the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 27 would suffer the same fate.

That makes Minnesota’s next game the Winter Classic, scheduled for New Years Day against the St. Louis Blues at Target Field.

The Christmas Eve gathering is part of a new tradition that began last year in the midst of the pandemic, when the families of the players were unable to come to the United States to celebrate the holidays.

The day was split into two parts, with the team’s Swedish players meeting for a traditional Swedish Christmas dinner after being joined for a ride on the ice by Norwegian Zuccarello carpet and russian Kirill Kaprizov.

The Swedish group includes native Switzerland Kevin Fiala, who lives in Sweden during the offseason and is a pseudo-honorary Swede.

Which begs the question … what makes a Christmas party a “Swedish Christmas?” “

β€œThey are very similar, but the food is different,” said Fiala. “There are meatballs, there are eggs, sausage. It was very good.”

Video: Talbot Sunday practice update

Fiala and defender Jonas Brodin said morning skating on Christmas Eve was something the two kids did when they went outside to a local rink or pond, put on the skates and hit the ice.

It was also a tradition that was renewed last season, a few weeks before the start of the Wild’s shortened season.

The dinner group was Fiala and Brodin, as well as Victor Rask and Joel Eriksson Ek and their relatives, while Zuccarello and Kaprizov were only present for the ice part.

@Matszuccarello Instagram: Merry ChristmasπŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»

β€œThey did it once a couple of years ago and they liked it, so it was really cool to be able to do it with them this time,” Fiala said. “It kinda reminds me of when I was young so it was really fun.”

While no one is sure what the future holds for the pandemic and what the scenery might look like next Christmas, it’s clear that Nature Swedes – and Honorary Swedes – have developed a small tradition. fun vacation.

β€œLast year we did [the dinner] at my house and we also had Marcus Johansson. This year we did the same thing, but at Rask, ”said Brodin. β€œWe’re just hanging out. We don’t have a lot of family in town, so we’re just dating. “

Eriksson Ek and Spurgeon to miss the Winter Classic

It was believed before the holidays that Eriksson Ek and the Defender Jared spurgeon would likely miss the Winter Classic with injury, and Wild coach Dean Evason confirmed that on Sunday.

β€œThe two are not positive results, not rosy ones,” Evason said. “But as far as the timeline and all that, I don’t have a deadline [for a return]. “

The news is disappointing for the Wild, who will arguably be without their best defenseman and center for the foreseeable future.

But it’s also a big disappointment for two of the team’s leaders, who won’t be able to take part in a big-name event that State of Hockey has been eagerly awaiting for nearly two years now.

Video: Coach Dean Evason speaks after practice

“[Wild assistant coach] Bob Woods was a couple and we were a couple in Pittsburgh with Washington and it’s such a special atmosphere around the game. He has that unique feeling, that kind of carnival feeling, ”Evason said. β€œIt’s so special to go to the rink and the people and how excited they were. It’s disappointing for these two players, and disappointing for us because they are two key players. “

In practice on Sunday, Ryan hartman continued between Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello, while the absence of Eriksson Ek resulted in the separation of Marcus Foligno and Jordan Greenway.

Foligno skated with Fiala and Freddy Gaudreau while Greenway was paired with Nico Sturm and Brandon Duhaime.

Rask was aligned with Rem Pitlick and Nick Bjugstad.

Without Spurgeon, Alex Goligoski weathered with Jon merrill, Brodin was with Matt Dumba and Jordie benn has been paired with Dmitry Kulikov.

Tweet from @mnwild: Oh the goalie kits πŸ”₯ # mnwild | #WinterClassique pic.twitter.com/P1LJjNqaZ9

Both Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen also showed their Winter Classic protections and helmets for the first time.

Back and counted

When the Wild left for the four-day vacation last week, they became one of the few unnamed NHL teams on the COVID-19 protocol list.

He returned to the ice Sunday afternoon at the TRIA rink in the same manner.

After a few days away from the ice, Evason said he wanted to put the players through a workout that featured a “rhythm,” and he left in awe of the squad’s appearance.

Tweet from @mnwild: Welcome with the new colors #WinterClassic 🀩 # mnwild pic.twitter.com/FoWUsLVJAM

β€œWe thought we looked really good,” Evason said. β€œI think they’re excited, obviously. It’s a good time of year, everyone is feeling great. We liked our pace, obviously we didn’t go very long. But we wanted to have a very good flow. “

The Wild will practice again Monday and Tuesday, focusing on defensive and offensive work before taking a day off on Wednesday.

He will resume his activities Thursday at the TRIA Rink, where he will dive deeper into the St. Louis Blues before skating on the ice surface of Target Field for the first time Friday afternoon.

Video: update of the Sunday practices of the greenway

The team will not have a morning practice on Saturday before the puck shelving at 6 p.m., so all final fits and folds need to be sorted out during that Friday session, which Evason says will serve sort of morning workout.

β€œGo ahead and feel the environment and all of that good stuff,” Evason said. β€œWe are delighted to start this game from the first game. “

Photo by Erin Loughrey

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