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Wild appreciative of fanfare at X: ‘There’s been a buzz from Day 1’

It helps that the Wild have dominated on home ice this season with a 9-2-0 record heading into Saturday’s marquee matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

ST. PAUL -- Any time Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov has chatted with reporters this season, he’s brought up the home crowds unprovoked. The 24-year-old Russian didn’t get to play in front of fans last season due to COVID restrictions at the Xcel Energy Center and he’s happy to have them back this season.

“It’s been an amazing atmosphere,” Kaprizov said through a translator last month. “You come out and see everybody and can give someone a stick or a puck and interact with the fans. It’s an amazing experience. I love playing in front of our home fans.”

That feeling spans throughout the locker room. There’s something special about hockey fans in Minnesota.

“I think playing with guys from Minnesota (throughout my career) I’ve always heard about the fans of the state tournament,” defenseman Jon Merrill said. “They sellout the Xcel Energy Center for that, so I knew there were hockey fans here and people that loved hockey around the state. It’s no surprise to me to hear them every night and see the support we’re getting.”

While the Wild might not be selling out every game like they did once upon a time, things seem to be trending in that direction. The home crowds have been getting more raucous by the game as the Wild continue to pile up wins.

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“There’s been a buzz from Day 1,” coach Dean Evason said. “The people upstairs have done a great job as far as promoting and getting people to our seats. And then the players have done a wonderful job of exciting the fans. No question there’s a different feel with our fan base.”

It helps that the Wild have dominated on home ice this season with a 9-2-0 record heading into Saturday’s marquee matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Our fans are incredible,” Evason said. “To reward them for their effort cheering is exciting for us. We are looking forward to continuing that.”

Boldy getting close

It’s only a matter of time before top prospect Matt Boldy reaches the NHL. He’s been dominating for the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League since returning from a broken ankle, and it seems like there’s a chance he could join the Wild on the upcoming road trip.

“Nothing is off the table for us,” Evason said. “We all clearly expect him to play in the National Hockey League. When? Who knows? He’s doing all the right things and his development is continuing, so we’ll see him at some point.”

In that same breath, Evason mentioned how the Wild are rolling, and thus, it might not make sense to add a new face to the mix. At least not yet.

Addison sent down

While it seems like Boldy is getting close, fellow prospect Calen Addison was sent down to the minors on Friday afternoon. He needs to play in games, according to Evason, and has been buried on the depth chart with veteran defenseman Jordie Benn playing so well.

In a corresponding move, the Wild called up defenseman Kevin Czuczman as insurance for the upcoming road trip.

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Injury update

It’s still unclear when captain Jared Spurgeon will return to the Wild lineup. Though it’s a good sign that Spurgeon is back on his skates, it seems like he still has a ways to go before he’s back at 100%.

“He’s skating with the group now. That’s a progression, right?” Evason said. “He hasn’t had a true real practice with us yet. That’s the next step.”

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