With lockout over, Wild might start on Jan. 19


The Minnesota Wild is working to get ready to resume play after the end of the NHL lockout.

NBCSports.comreports that a 48-game schedule could start as early as Jan. 15, but a Jan. 19 start is "most probable."

That would work out perfectly for Fox Sports North, which is planning all-day hockey coverage for it's annual "Hockey Day Minnesota"event. When the schedule of games was announced last June, the Wild were set to take on Pittsburgh that night.

After the long layoff, the Wild is reviewing the roster and rounding up players. Marco Scandella is hurt, Jonas Brodin has a broken clavicle and Pierre-Marc Bouchard has yet to be cleared from a concussion. Mikko Koivu is in his native Finland and Dany Heatley is still in Kelowna, B.C.; both are expected back in Minnesota by Tuesday.

The Associated Presssuggests that the high expectations for the season with the addition of Zach Parise and Ryan Sutermeans Minnesota lost more momentum during the lockout than any other team in the league. The Wild shelled out $198 million for the two free agents.

Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom said fans have a right to be angry about the shortened season. "They should be mad. It's not enough for us to say we're sorry," he said. "We have to do our job to repair the damage. I hope at some point the fans can forgive us and be there for us."


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