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Wild star Kirill Kaprizov dresses up as Santa’s elf, then sets another franchise record

Kaprizov became the fastest player in franchise history to reach 200 points, accomplishing the feat in a mere 167 games.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports

ST. PAUL -- Kirill Kaprizov donned an elf costume on Sunday afternoon at Xcel Energy Center while Ryan Reaves came dressed up as Santa Claus. They walked into the rink together. It made for a hilarious moment that the Wild captured and shared on social media.

Asked about the Christmas attire, Kaprizov said Reaves called him a couple of days ago to start the planning process.

“He asked me if I want to (dress up) with him,” Kaprizov said. “I said, ‘Yeah. Why not? Let’s go.’ ”

It’s just another example of Kaprizov continuing to come into his own in the Wild locker room.

“He’s always game for just about anything,” Jared Spurgeon said. “He’s got a good sense of humor, and obviously Reavo dragged him into it, so I don’t think he really had a choice.”

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After his grand entrance, Kaprizov got back to work, helping lead the Wild to a 4-2 win over the Senators.

Kirill Kaprizov
Kirill Kaprizov
Brad Rempel / USA Today Sports

In the process, Kaprizov became the fastest player in franchise history to reach 200 points, accomplishing the feat in a mere 167 games. Only Sidney Crosby (142), Alex Ovechkin (165) and Evgeni Malkin (166) have reached 200 points in fewer games since the start of the 2000-01 season.

Not that Kaprizov is comparing himself to those players.

“It’s my job to go out there and play and do the best that I can,” Kaprizov said. “You guys can make those comparisons.”

Though he seems to be setting new franchise records left and right, Kaprizov clearly doesn’t like talking about himself.

His teammates had no problem doing that for him.

“The vision he has is like none other I’ve seen,” Spurgeon said. “It all starts with how hard he works and the passion he has for the game.”

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In the past month, Reaves has turned into a scoring machine. He posted a Gordie Howe Hat Trick last week against Arizona, then followed it up with a goal and an assist against St. Louis.
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On the recent homestand, he finished 4-0-1 with a 1.53 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage.
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After the Wild went for a line change in OT, the referees whistled them for too many men on the ice.

That seems to be the general consensus among Kaprizov’s teammates.

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“A special player,” Ryan Hartman said. “He’s different than some of these other superstar guys in the league where they’re kind of just waiting for power plays to get their chances. He’s in every battle and he’s working. He’s the hardest worker out there.”

Asked about the biggest thing that makes Kaprizov so effective, Filip Gustavsson said from a goaltender’s perspective, he’s impossible to predict.

“He can come down and do anything,” Gustavsson said. “You never know where he’s going to shoot or if he’s going to do a weird dangle that we’d never think anyone is going to do. You have to expect everything.”

As for Kaprizov, he joked with reporters that they never let him forget about his stats.

“To me obviously the most important thing is wins over losses,” Kaprizov said. “It’s what I say after last game, when we won, everybody feel better. Just try (to) keep going more and more and more. That’s it.”

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