I was at the 10 o'clock practice this morning at Amsoil Arena. I will first start off by saying that the turn out was incredible for a Tuesday morning practice, a lot of fans showing their Wild colors.

Here are some things I took away from the practice.

First thing I noticed was that Josh Harding has brand new red pads and helmet. The pads looked sharp, but the true test will the new pads improve his play this season?

Second was the first line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville. Mikko has been dealing with a new born child, and Pominville is still trying to create chemistry with his line mates, and what I saw on the ice was evident that the first line is still a little shaky. Maybe a few more days before the season kicks off they can become a more cohesive line, because if the Wild hope to even sniff the play offs they need this line to carry them.

Second was Niklas Backstrom. I know it is only practice, but Backstrom looked sharp. Injuries last season slowed down Backstrom, but early in October Backstrom looks healthy and ready to earn that new contract he signed this off season. Backstrom needs to be the back bone of this team if they want to compete with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Third was the defense. This unit is young and athletic, and the possibility that Mathew Dumba makes the roster could give this unit a even bigger boost. Jared Spurgeon looks ready to make the leap he needs to in order to stay on this NHL team, and Ryan Suter looks like he has put getting robbed for the Norris behind him. Look for this defense to be the most improved unit from last season.

Nicholas Goedel- TSM Duluth
Nicholas Goedel- TSM Duluth

Last is the "potential line of Mikael Grandlund, Charlie Coyle, and Nino Niederreiter. The average age on this line is 21, and it could very well be the Wilds second line when the season kicks off on Thursday. These three "kids" together have potential stars written all over them, and could push the Minnesota's first line for "the most explosive line" on this roster. What I saw today from these three is inexperience, and hesitation yet very athletic and gifted, so watch for this line to continue to grow throughout this season.

I am very excited for the puck to be dropped on Thursday night, I will be back later this week to give you my thoughts on the Wild first game.

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