THURSDAY'S STORYLINES: "Everybody has their own story, their own attachment to the game tonight," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan Thursdaymorning in San Jose.
There will be a lot of stories when the Wild and Sharks take the ice tonight in San Jose. It will be the first time the two teams have met after an active offseason of trades between the two teams. On June 24, the Wild traded defenseman Brent Burns to San Jose in exchange for Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and the 28th pick in the 2011 NHL draft.
Then, on July3, Minnesota traded Martin Havlat to San Jose for Dany Heatley.
McLellan said the game might be a little more special for Setoguchi and Burns, who will oppose the franchises they were raised in for the first time.
"I think of Burns and Setoguchi; when they arrived in San Jose and Minnesota they were basically in diapers they were that young," the coachnoted. "The organizations were part of their family trees. They had mentors and it is hard to leave your first team and it's very emotional. Dany and Marty have played for a number of years. They have been with different organizations, they have experienced it before and probably come through it differently."
"I have been in the organization my whole life," said Setoguchi, who was drafted by the Sharks in the first round of the 2005 NHL draft. "You have so many friends, even outside of hockey, that you meet. To come back and see them it is going to be fun."
The trade to Minnesota was the third time the veteran Heatley had been traded in his career, but tonight will still be special for him.
"It's still different for me,"he said. "It's a little funny coming back here.I enjoyed my time here. ... It's a fun place to play and I am excited for tonight."
Setoguchi cautioned tonight is another important hockey game and they can't let emotions get in the way.
"It is like anything," Setoguchi said, "when you get really revved up in a game that can be a bad thing. You get really pumped up for a game and you are running around not doing much. So there has got to be structure."
NOTES: Niklas Backstrom will be in the net for Minnesota tonight. Forward Cal Clutterbuck, who missed Tuesday's game in Calgary, is expected to play tonight.
HE SAID IT: "That's one thing we are getting better at. Maybe it is a little bit of confidence, maybe we are starting to get a little bit of swagger that we are going to need to have. Early in the season, when we played a better team, I felt like we tested the waters. We kind of hit the ice and let them dictate the play --'Let's see what they are going to bring at us.' In more recent games against some of the top teams, I feel like we have gone out and initiated the play, taken our game to them, and with that it breeds confidence in your game." -- Wild coach Mike Yeo on playing against top teams in the NHL