It’s unknown what kind of reception Havlat will receive Monday night in his return to Chicago as the Wild go for their first road victory and first winning streak of the season.
Havlat was the Blackhawks’ leading scorer in two of his three seasons with the team and had a career-high 77 points during their breakthrough 2008-09 campaign. After failing to negotiate an extension for months, Chicago offered the popular Havlat only a one-year deal, and he signed a six-year contract worth $30 million with Minnesota on July 1.
Havlat also took some shots at his former team following Dale Tallon’s demotion from general manager to senior advisor two weeks later.
“The story is starting to come out, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Havlat posted on Twitter. “Just so everyone begins to understand, Dale was like a 2nd father to me.”
He also reportedly said his contract negotiation was, “not between Dale and my agent,” and added, “It was between Dale and (team president) John McDonough. Why? Because McDonough couldn’t stand that Dale was so successful and getting credit for building the Hawks from a last-place team.
“McDonough knew long ago he was going to fire Dale. … He wanted to stand up at the convention and claim credit for signing this guy or that guy.”
Havlat hasn’t gotten off to a strong start and neither have the Wild (3-7-0). The right winger has one goal and four assists, going pointless in the last five games.
Expected to miss two months, Clutterbuck was back from a five-game absence Saturday night and scored in overtime of a 3-2 victory over visiting Carolina. The Wild also activated right winger Petr Sykora(notes) off injured reserve before improving to 3-0-0 at home.
However, they are a league-worst 0-7-0 on the road. They’ll try to avoid a franchise-record eighth straight road loss by improving to 7-1-0 at the United Center since Jan. 22, 2006. Minnesota has won 17 of the last 22 meetings overall, including three of four last season.
The Blackhawks (5-3-1), meanwhile, were without captain Jonathan Toews(notes) and defenseman Brent Seabrook(notes) as they beat visiting Nashville 2-0 on Saturday. Toews and Seabrook are believed to have concussion-like symptoms, and whether they’ll play Monday is uncertain.
In one of his final home appearances with Chicago, Havlat suffered a concussion after a vicious hit from Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall(notes) in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. He returned to play eight minutes the following game and missed the series finale.
Cristobal Huet(notes) earned the victory in Game 3, and took a step toward ending his early season struggles with his 21st career shutout Friday. Huet is 2-2-1 with one tie and a 2.14 goals-against average all-time against Minnesota.