Season opener: Wild face-off with Blue Jackets - Bring Me The News

Season opener: Wild face-off with Blue Jackets

The Minnesota Wild open the 2011-12 season Saturday night at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Analysts throughout the NHL believe the Wild will be a fringe playoff team. Locally, the fans are hoping a new and improved offense will lead the team back to the postseason.

The Minnesota Wild are looking to follow-up a 2011 campaign, where they failed to make the playoffs for a third-straight year, with a successful start to their 11th season today against Columbus.

And with an active off-season, there is a lot to be excited about in St. Paul

New additions Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi are expected to add firepower on offense, but the Associated Press says it might be three returning Wild players that make the difference.

Fox Sports' Kevin Gorg expects the Wild to surprise fans.

Hockey Wilderness has ten questions for the Minnesota Wild.

The Wild hope a revamped lineup and softer schedule equals postseason success, and it all starts against Columbus tonight.

Optimism isn't universal as some have the Wild out of the playoffs. Others, just barely getting in.

But win, lose or draw -- former player and fan favorite Wes Walz will be joining the Wild broadcast team.

The Star Tribune's Michael Russo has tonight's lines for the Wild.

Prior to the 7 p.m. start at Xcel, the Wild will honor former players before face-off.

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Preview: Wild vs. Blue Jackets

Minnesota (25-21-8) continues to struggle as of late, despite being one the best teams in the NHL earlier this season. The Wild have lost their last three games, including a loss on the road in Columbus Tuesday. Minnesota will again face the Blue Jackets (15-33-6) on home ice Saturday night.

Koivu still out as Wild face Blue Jackets

Wild coach Mike Yeo tells the Star Tribune he’ll keep Mikko Koivu out of the lineup tonight in Columbus. Koivu is recovering from a shoulder injury. Yeo says Koivu is “very close” to returning, but no quite yet. His return might come as early as Thursday’s game against Vancouver.

Wild lose to Blue Jackets, 3-1

Minnesota (25-22-8) dropped its fourth straight game Saturday night, losing to the NHL-worst Blue Jackets for the second time in the past five days. Columbus (16-33-6) claimed the 3-1 victory over the Wild in St. Paul. Minnesota will continue their four-game home-stand against the Ducks on Tuesday.

Wild punchless in 3-1 loss to Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets beat the Wild 3-1 Tuesday night in Columbus. Nate Prosser, who just signed a contract extension, scored the lone Wild goal, tying the game 1-1 in the first period. Niklas Backstrom took the loss allowing three goals on 37 shots.

Wild lose to Blues in preseason action

The Minnesota Wild lost to the St. Louis Blues 4-3 in preseason action Tuesday night. Marek Zidlicky, Mikko Koivu, and Brett Bulmer scored for the Wild. Minnesota has two preseason games remaining - at Columbus on Thursday before hosting Edmonton on Friday.