ST. PAUL, Minn. Highly-regarded prospect Jason Zucker received his initiation into the NHL on Thursday, courtesy of his new Minnesota Wild teammates.
Zucker, the 20-year old coming straight to the NHL from Denver University, was told to lead the team out on the ice for the pregame skate. He knew something was amiss, but he wasn't going to undermine the veteran leaders on the roster. So, with many fans in attendance wearing his No. 16 jersey, Zucker jumped onto the ice to start warm-ups. His new teammates had a little fun at the rookie's expense, waiting in the tunnel and letting him have a solo lap.
"I knew right away," Zucker said of the prank. "They said, 'You're leading us on the ice.' And I knew that wasn't right. I had to go with it. I wasn't going to tell (Dany) Heatley no.
All of them, they said, 'Hey, you're leading us on, first game.' Ok. I'll go."
Zucker could only offer up a big smile as he finished the second of his laps.
"They waited a little longer than I thought,...