Former Cathedral Crusader and Minnesota Golden Gopher Nate Schmidt made his first appearance as a professional in Minnesota Thursday night when he came to town as a member of the Washington Capitals. The Capitals beat the Wild 3-2.

Schmidt learned he would stick with the big club and play in the game against his hometown team during the morning skate. There was speculation that he would be reassigned to Hershey (AHL) with other defensemen returning from injury.

"That's the nature of the NHL, you just have to take it a game at a time," Schmidt said. "You just have to be ready to go if they call your name."

However, Tim Gleason missed the game with an upper-body injury, opening the door for Schmidt to make his debut in front of family and friends. Schmidt said that ticket requests started pouring in after the morning skate.

"The ticket requests increased after pregame skate," Schmidt said. "A lot of friends and family, but my parents helped me with a lot of detail work. It was a good crew here and I was happy about it."

Schmidt played 11:19 in Thursday's game and registered one shot on goal on a breakaway against Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Schmidt sent a backhand shot on net that was stopped by the "big" goaltender.

"I wish I was on the other side so I could have shot it with my forehand," a laughing Schmidt said. "I think I roasted the boosters a little bit, I was so tired at the end of a long shift."

"He's a big goalie, he's been playing pretty well for them," Schmidt said. "I was just trying to throw it on net to be honest, I was hoping he would trip or fall over at that point but that wasn't the case."