ST. PAUL, Minn. For the past several months, members of the Minnesota Wild spent time skating together at various rinks around the Twin Cities to stay in shape during the NHL lockout. On Monday, the Wild finally were able to get back onto the ice at Xcel Energy Center and skate as a team, not as a collection of locked-out players.
There was no hiding their excitement, either.
"I think you see the smiles on the boys' faces today," said Wild forward Kyle Brodziak. "Everyone just wants to play. It's been our whole life. Usually September comes and it's hockey time. When you don't get that for a couple months, you miss it and you realize how good we have it. It's definitely exciting to be back though."
In all, 18 Wild players took part in a one-hour practice led by local skating instructor Andy Ness. Since the agreement between the NHL and the players' association has yet to be ratified, Wild coach Mike Yeo couldn't take part in Monday's skate, but he and general manager Chuck Fletc...