Darcy Kuemper on his big NHL weekend.

Darcy Kuemper didn’t dress for the Minnesota Wild against the Kings or the Ducks during his two-day NHL recall last weekend. If anything, the real-world equivalent of Kuemper’s experience might be akin to a “take-your-kid-to-work” day.

But if you’ve ever taken your children to work (and you have a cool job), or if you’re young enough to remember going to mom or dad’s workplace, you’ll know that it can be a cool experience. Kuemper certainly played it cool when I asked him about it after the morning skate.

Was your time with the Wild pre-planned?

No, I had no idea. I just found out the day before the team left for
Alaska. That was the first I heard of it. I was pretty excited. It was a
big surprise.

How did it go?

It went good, just being able to hang out with those guys, see how they
prepare. They’re really professional. To see what it’s like at that
level is good.

Take me through the weekend.

Saturday, I got in in the afternoon and just watched the [Kings-Wild] game from the
press box [at Staples Center], then we traveled to Anaheim at night, skated in the morning,
and watched the game against the Ducks as well.

What was it like taking shots in the morning skate – a big difference from what you’re used to?

I’ve been to [training] camp with those guys, so I knew what to expect.
But obviously they’re the top shooters in the world, so it’s fun to get
out with them and be your best.

Talk about watching Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding prepare.

I’ve seen that before in camp, so I knew what they’re like and what it
takes. It wasn’t like a first-time experience, but anytime you get to be
around that it’s awesome.

What were the differences from training camp?

In training camp, you’re in practice mode. You come to the rink in
practice mode, you’re not playing games. Here, it was more ‘let’s get
down to business; we’ve got to win these games.’ That was the focus. So
it was different in that sense. It’s always about winning the game. A
little more intense. A smaller group of guys.

Was there a “going-away message” to you from the team?

Yeah, they just said keep it up, keep winning games and playing well. It looks like I’m going in the right direction.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.