ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -There finally appears to be an answer coming for the Wes Walz saga in Minnesota.
The Wild said late Friday night that they will hold a press conference with their missing center on Saturday morning, when Walz is expected to announce his retirement after 12 seasons in the NHL.
The center played in the first 11 games this season, but then suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. The team excused him for ``personal reasons'' on Nov. 1 and granted him an indefinite leave of absence on Nov. 8.
The Associated Press left a message with Walz's agent, Jay Grossman, seeking comment.
Wild spokesman Aaron Sickman said the team would have no further comment until the press conference.
One of Minnesota's two alternate captains, the 37-year-old Walz is also one of only two players remaining from the Wild's inaugural season in 2000-01.
Walz, one of Minnesota's two alternate captains, thought about retiring last spring. Instead, he agreed to a one-year contract for this season, the fourth time he's signed with the Wild.
Though his career high is a modest 19 goals and 37 points in 2005-06 and he has missed time to several lower-body injuries, Walz has long been one of the team's most valuable players for his speed, grit and defensive ability. He skated on the first line for the season opener with Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra.
A determined, defensive forward, Walz had 109 goals and 151 assists in a career that began in Boston and also included brief stints in Philadelphia, Calgary and Detroit before he found a home in Minnesota.
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