Novokuznetsk, Russia, is more than 5,600 miles from the Twin Cities, a daunting travel situation to begin with. And with COVID-19 causing travel and attendance restrictions during the 2020-21 NHL season, Kirill Kaprizov's parents didn't get the chance to see their son play an NHL game in person.
That changed over the weekend, when Oleg and Natasha made it to New York to watch Kirill, the Wild's second-year star forward, play against the Rangers on Friday and the Islanders on Sunday. After the Islanders game, in which Kirill had a goal and an assist, they traveled to Minnesota to stay with their son and will accompany him when he makes his NHL All-Star Game debut this weekend in Las Vegas.
"It feels great," Kaprizov said through an interpreter after Tuesday's practice. "Every player can relate to having their mother and father there to be able to hug them after the game, to have them watch their games. It's amazing."
Kaprizov, whose English is improving, continues to adapt to life in Minnesota. On the ice, though, the transition has been nearly seamless.
He won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie last season after collecting 27 goals and 24 assists in 55 games. He's taken his play to another level this season, with 18 goals and 34 assists in 39 games, helping the Wild forge a 27-10-3 record entering Wednesday's game at Chicago.
That has led to his first All-Star Game selection, an experience he's embracing and will share with his parents in attendance.
"The whole experience is going to be amazing," he said. "It's high-level hockey and very skilled hockey. It's going to be very fun and exciting to play. But overall, just excited about the whole experience."
First, though, was catching up with his parents. He hasn't yet gotten some Russian home cooking from his mother during their visit, but he's waiting patiently.
"She's a little tired," he said. "When I get back from the road trip, it'll all be ready for me."
Greenway relishes extension
Wild left winger Jordan Greenway received a three-year, $9 million contract extension on Monday that runs through the 2024-25 season.
"I'm feeling great," Greenway said. "Obviously, this is a team that I love being with. We've got a great group of guys, and we're doing a lot of good things. It's nice to get it locked in, and now you can just focus on the ultimate goal. … We've got some things to do."
Greenway, who turns 25 on Feb. 16, has four goals and nine assists this season and is a plus-17. He led the Wild with 26 assists last season.
"His maturity as a hockey player, and I think it's as important, his maturity as a person has come a long way, like it does for a lot of young people who come into the league," Wild coach Dean Evason said. "His awareness to be businesslike, to be ready, engaged every hockey game, right from the start of the season, has been 100 percent."
Foligno, Dumba won't play at Chicago
Forward Marcus Foligno and defenseman Matt Dumba, both with upper-body injuries, did not practice Tuesday and will not play Wednesday at Chicago, Evason said. Foligno missed Sunday's game against the Islanders in New York, while Dumba played but was unable to go in practice. Evason said both players are day to day, and the All-Star break gives them more time to heal.
"He probably could [play Wednesday] if push came to shove. You know Moose's attitude,'' Evason said of Foligno. "We're going to be extra cautious. … Both are very big pieces for us."
- Forward Niko Sturm and defenseman Jon Merrill came off COVID-19 protocol and returned to practice.
- The Wild recalled goalie Zane McIntyre from Iowa of the AHL to the taxi squad.