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Wild uses four days between games for maintainence, tinkering

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The Wild debuted a different look when it returned to the ice Monday, just as it did in its last practice before the team dropped to 0-2 on the season.

But whether these new combinations remain intact for the team’s next game Thursday against the Jets is unclear.

“We don’t know what the lineup’s going to be,” coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Center Eric Staal missed the session, taking a maintenance day to heal an undisclosed issue.

“I thought this was a good time for him to have a day off to get what’s ailing him completely better,” Boudreau said. “He’s going to be fine. He’s played through it. It’s just that he’s playing not 100 %. I thought with these three days off it’d be something that he could get through.”

Boudreau is hopeful Staal returns to practice Wednesday and is available Thursday.

Staal has had a rough start, going pointless and tallying just one shot while sitting a team-worst minus-5. The 34-year-old called his performance in the season-opening 5-2 loss to the Predators “brutal,” a game in which he and his linemates were on the ice for three goals against. But Boudreau felt Staal was better Saturday when the Wild was upended 4-2 by the Avalanche.

“Sometimes it takes older guys a little bit longer,” Boudreau said. “But I’m not worried about Eric in the long run. I think he’s going to get his goals and he’s going to get his points. It’s just when you don’t win, you’d like them to be now.”

In the meantime, extra forward Victor Rask got in regular reps Monday alongside Marcus Foligno and Mats Zuccarello. Ryan Donato, who was with Staal and Zuccarello on Saturday, took Foligno’s spot on the fourth line, a move designed to add a “different element” to the top unit, Boudreau said.

“I think I’m bumped up just to create room for those guys and continue my physical play and just energy,” Foligno said. “Whether I’m used there in a couple shifts with them, that’s great. I’ve just got to play my game and try to get those guys going.

“They’ve been playing well. Just bounces haven’t been going their way. If I can get in on the forecheck and give Zuccarello the puck and let him kind of do his magic, it’s still early in the season but we want to get going now.”

Parade of penalties

The penalty kill has been a bright spot for the Wild amid its winless start, but how much it’s been ushered into duty is a concern.

After being shorthanded 32 times in the preseason, which was tied for the second most in the NHL, the Wild has already been on the kill on eight occasions. The team’s given up just one goal in that span.

Half of the penalties have been hooking or tripping calls, infractions Boudreau believes can be eliminated by players checking with their legs instead of relying on their sticks.

“We are a really confident group,” Foligno said of the PK, which was seventh in 2018-19 at 81.7 %. “Just coming off last season, we kind of have the same guys and the same work ethic and understand [assistant coach] Bob Woods and his mentality. But I think going into a game, three minors or less is kind of the goal.”

Waiting game

After a day off Tuesday, the Wild will have another practice session Wednesday before traveling to Winnipeg.

“It’s hard to wait,” winger Zach Parise said. “I’d rather have us play another game quicker than later this week. But we will take advantage of the time and work on some things and see how we can generate more offensively.”

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Gaming News

Hampton shoppers: Rosie’s Gaming Emporium limits access to neighboring retail stores

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Rosie's Gaming Emporium is opening at Power Plant Parkway in Hampton. (WY Daily/Lucretia Cunningham)
Rosie’s Gaming Emporium is opening at Power Plant Parkway in Hampton. (WY Daily/Lucretia Cunningham)

As a paying member of BJ’s Wholesale Club, Brian Imes regularly visits the location at Power Plant Parkway in Hampton, often making stops to other retail stores around it, including Lowe’s Home Improvement, and further down, Bass Pro Shops.

One thing he didn’t expect when he visited the stores on a recent Saturday afternoon was having to park his car on the far side of Lowe’s and then walking to BJ’s because of an overcrowded parking lot — an issue Imes said has been caused by the new Rosie’s Gaming Emporium there.

“I understand that Hampton is getting an absurd amount of tax revenue from this and that is a positive thing for the city, but the downside is they should’ve looked long into this before they granted it and checked out the parking situation,” he said.

Imes, a Hampton resident, said he’s attempted to contact Mayor Donnie Tuck and other city officials though his voicemails and complaints to the 311 Citizen Contact Center haven’t yet been addressed, “somewhere along the lines the city should be liable for this major cluster flip they created.”

City Council approved a building permit for the off-track betting site last January and the Richmond-based Colonial Downs LLC. broke ground in the Power Plant Hampton Roads shopping center soon after.

Rosie’s Gaming Emporium opened by October 2019 and is expected to generate close to $2 million in tax revenue for the city each year while also bringing more customers to the shopping center.

“They [city officials] should force them to either build a parking garage or have them [Rosie’s customers] park in that empty lot at the Convention Center and have them bused in. That would be the ideal thing so that it’s not inconveniencing the other businesses,” Imes said.

Mark Hubbard, a spokesman for Colonial Downs, said weekends are certainly busiest at Rosie’s but management is aware of the parking issue and has asked employees to park away from the main entrance area to leave spaces open for patrons.

“We anticipate some parking improvements being made in the next 30 to 45 days and we are cooperating with the property owner and look forward to improving parking conditions at that location,” Hubbard said.

RELATED STORY: Rosie’s Gaming Emporium is opening in Hampton. Here’s when to place your bets

Robin McCormick, a spokeswoman for the city, said Hampton’s Economic Development Authority does own the land Power Plant Hampton Roads sits on but because of long-term leases with development company, The Cordish Company, the city does not manage nor does it have “any direct relationship” with Power Plant tenants.

“The fact that some customers may find they have to park a little farther from their destination during busy times is a reminder that the businesses there are thriving and boosting the city’s economy, employment, and tax base,” McCormick said in the emailed statement.

Representatives from The Cordish Company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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