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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Wild return to NHL play at Edmonton

EDMONTON, Albt. --  The Minnesota Wild finally return to the NHL ice tonight with a road game in Edmonton.  The Wild haven't played a game since a Feb. 6th home win over Nashville. 

The league shut down for the Olympics and has now resumed.  Minnesota won two in-a-row to enter the Olympic break at 31-21-7.  The Wild currently sit in sixth place in the Western Conference with 69 points.  The Oilers are last in the West with just 47 points.  The puck is slated to drop at 8:30 p.m. tonight.


The Wild made several roster moves yesterday, including a trade.  Minnesota traded minor league defenseman Brian Connelly of Bloomington to the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Brad Winchester.  Winchester has played in 55 games this year for Chicago's AHL affiliate in Rockford.  The 32-year-old Wisconsin native has appeared in 390 career NHL games with Edmonton, Dallas, St. Louis, Anaheim, and San Jose.  The 27-year-old Connelly skated in 50 games at Minnesota's AHL affiliate in Des Moines this year, scoring five goals.  The Wild also recalled goaltender John Curry from Iowa, as well as forward Stephane Veilleux.  The team placed Marco Scandella and Jason Zucker on Injured Reserve.


The Minnesota Timberwolves don't return to action until Saturday night in Sacramento.  The Wolves rallied to beat Phoenix on Tuesday night, getting 20 points off the bench from rookie Shabazz Muhammad to lead the way.  The Kings play tomorrow night at the Lakers before hosting Minnesota on Saturday night in a 9 p.m. contest.


The Minnesota Twins says right-hander Mike Pelfrey  will be the starting pitcher in the club's first Grapefruit League game tomorrow.  Pelfrey suffered through a poor season last year, turning in a 5-13 record with a 5.19 earned run average.  He was re-signed by the team this past offseason.  Spring training workouts continue today for the Twins in Fort Myers, Florida, before the team opens Grapefruit League play tomorrow afternoon against the Boston Red Sox.  Boston will pitch righty Anthony Ranaudo.  Minnesota is set to play an intrasquad scrimmage today, where Phil Hughes and Kevin Correia will get the starting assignments.  The Twins start the regular season on March 31st against the White Sox in Chicago.


Winona State junior first baseman Morgan Lintz of Bettendorf, Iowa is this week's NSIC softball Player of the Week.  She hit .550 for the week for the 5-1 Warriors.  Upper Iowa's Brooke Redmond is the league's softball Pitcher of the Week.  Minnesota State-Mankato junior outfielder Max Waletich of Fairmont is this week's NSIC baseball Player of the Week.  He was 5-for-7 with three runs driven in during a doubleheader sweep of Southwest Baptist last week.  Minot State's Austin Berntson is the conference's baseball Pitcher of the Week.


The 2014 Minnesota State High School Wrestling State Championships begin today at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and continue through Saturday.  The team competition is a one-day event today, followed by individual state wrestling on Friday and Saturday.  Here is Thursday's scheduled matchups in the state dual meet:

Class 3A (Thursday):  St. Michael-Albertville vs. Moorhead, 9am

Class 3A (Thursday):  Tartan vs. Prior Lake, 9am

Class 3A (Thursday):  Apple Valley vs. Maple Grove, 9am

Class 3A (Thursday):  Willmar vs. Hastings, 9am

Class 3A (Thursday):  Semifinals, 1pm

Class 3A (Thursday):  Championship, 7pm

Class 2A (Thursday):  Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus vs. Foley, 11am

Class 2A (Thursday):  Milaca/Faith Christian vs Scott West, 11am

Class 2A (Thursday):  Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley/Montivideo vs. Simley, 11am

Class 2A (Thursday):  Totino-Grace vs. Kasson-Mantorville, 11am

Class 2A (Thursday):  Semifinals, 1pm

Class 2A (Thursday):  Championship, 7pm

Class 1A (Thursday):  Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale vs. Frazee, 9am

Class 1A (Thursday):  Pierz vs. Chatfield, 9am

Class 1A (Thursday):  Sibley East vs. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, 9am

Class 1A (Thursday):  Jackson County Central vs. Minneota/Lincoln HI, 9am

Class 1A (Thursday):  Semifinals, 1pm

Class 1A (Thursday):  Championship, 7pm


The 2014 Minnesota State High School Boy's State Swimming and Diving Championships get underway today at the Aquatic Center on the University of Minnesota campus.  Eden Prairie is the defending Class 2A championship squad, while St. Thomas Academy won last year's Class 1A title.  Both teams are back to defend their trophies.  Action gets underway today at noon and runs through Saturday.


It's been a tough winter on the state's pheasant population.  The DNR's Nicole Davros says it's not necessarily due to a lack of food, but rather exposure to the elements.  Davros says extreme cold combined with wind is typically what kills pheasants.  She says a healthy bird can actually go for a couple of weeks without feeding.