Sunday, January 24, 2010

Moving Sale!

Just recently decided to move my blog over to Wordpress, mainly because I want to write about more than Wild hockey and Wordpress give the option for categories AND tags. I’ll be able to keep things more organized over there. I’ll still babble about the Wild, but I’ll do more UMD Bulldogs, Minnesota Twins, even a little Vikings, and whatever else I need to rant about.

So if you have Wild View saved as a RSS feed or in your bookmarks, come find me over at

Hockey Day 2010

Just a real quick post before I fall asleep. I'm winding up a long day that included taking in a good portion of Hockey Day Minnesota and a good day of family, mixed in with some "day job" work. I'm actually quite spent.

The Wild put together a nice game and beat Columbus 4-2, although it should have been a shutout for Niklas Backstrom. He gave up 2 goals in the last 30 seconds of the game. The first one deflected off Kim Johnsson and Backstrom could do nothing about it, but his reaction annoyed me. He sorta dropped his stick in a weird way...seemed defiant. And the 2nd goal with 3 seconds left was a weak shot from outside the circles. Seemed to me he gave up on it after the shutout was broken up. But that's just me.

Mikko Koivu scored twice as the Wild tried something different called score first and play with the lead. Seemed to work out pretty well!

From the Dissappointing but Typical Desk, the UMD Bulldogs, who had jumped to #4 in the national polls after consecutive sweeps in the WCHA, lost in OT v. Bemidji State. BSU tied it up in the last seconds and won it in OT to complete a weekend home-and-home sweep over the Dogs. The loss doesn't hurt UMD from a conference standpoint so it's all about the bounceback next week.

I'm looking forward to BSU joining the WCHA next season along with Nebraska Omaha (who brings Dean Blais with them). I think the conference will be even tougher, and I'm looking forward to having a couple more teams in the mix.

Alright. Sortof a lame post but I have to get to bed. I hear there's a big football game tomorrow.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Weekend Gabber

Welcome to the weekend! Here are a few talkers from off the ice that caught my eye from the interwebs.

More Winter Classic Speculation
Earlier in the week Russo held a live chat over on the Strib website. The one thing that caught my eye was that he answered a question about the Winter Classic. He stated that when we get it, it will be 2012 or later, and that it will be at TCF Bank Stadium. Obviously nothing is etched in stone here, but Russo is as inside as inside gets. This disappoints me a little. I really think Target Field is the sexier pick, as you can read here in an earlier post. Hopefully there’s still some fluctuation in the final details.

NHL Network Still Needs Work
I love the NHL Network for the most part. You get live games from time to time, great NHL feature shows, coverage of special events like the Winter Classic, World Juniors, presumably the Olympics. But the one problem I have with the network is that possibly it’s most valuable asset, NHL on the Fly, is unwatchable if you have an HD television. NHL on the Fly fills a void in the US left by NHL 2Night back in the ESPN days. It’s the only place you can get nightly NHL highlights. And so much of the other stuff on the network is in HD, they redid the studio, and still, no HD.

So I tweeted Kevin Weeks (@KevinWeekes if you’re so inclined), who is one of the personalities on On the Fly. I asked him if On the Fly is ever going to be in HD and his response was “We're pushing for it,hopefully next season (fingers crossed),it will make a huge difference for the viewer for sure !!”

Part of me says that next season is ridiculous when every other studio highlight show on MLB and NFL Networks, plus the ESPNs are HD, but alas I digress, and hope next season brings them up to par.

Upgrades at the X
It feels somewhat dirty to think about upgrades being needed at Xcel Energy Center. The X has been the NHL’s best building for the last couple years according to Sports Illustrated, and it’s been a big reason why the Wild have sold out every game in its 9-year history. It’s a fabulous building. But with TCF Bank Stadium and Target Field opening, apparently some things may need to be done to keep it on par with the new digs, and something that can be done is a new video board in the main scoreboard. More an upgrade in technology than anything I’d assume, HD and all that.

Wild owner Craig Leipold remarked in his most-recent blog that it’s something they are working towards. Obviously it would be a pretty big expense, and they need to work towards fitting it into the budget.

Before We Go
I’ll leave you with some good humor from the guys over at Hockey Wilderness. Go check it out, and laugh at our former #10.

Gaborik Makes it too Easy

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wild Winning Streak Ends

Wild lose tonight, 1-0 in St. Louis. I didn’t see the game, but if you don’t score a goal, obviously you didn’t have much going offensively. It was sort of expected really, after an emotional game last night v. Vancouver with a bunch of fights at the end, the squad was likely tuckered. One thing that I did see come across the Twitter feed was another world-is-against-us call from the refs, this time a “slew-foot” by former UND Fighting Sioux TJ Oshie that sent Wild F Andrew Ebbett awkwardly into the boards, and now Ebbett apparently has a neck brace and is having spasms. Oshie got 2 minutes, but the Wild wanted more.

Looks like the Wild will end the night 3 points out of that 8th spot in the West. The important thing isn’t necesserilly this loss, but how they bounce back. They need to avoid a losing streak and get back on the horse. We’ll see what happens Saturday in Phoenix.

That’s all I got for this one since I didn’t see the game. Check out Hockey Wilderness for a comprehensive recap.

Keep on Rollin, Rollin, Rollin

Just a quick post via phone before seepy time. The Wild beat the Vancouver Canucks tonight, 5-2. It was certainly an interesting game with alot of different nuances to it. The Wild scored 2 goals before the game was even 4 minutes old. The Canucks pretty much dominated the rest of the 1st and all of the 2nd period, and eventually tied it up. The 2nd was pretty ugly if you're a Wild fan. Nothing was working and they were lucky to get out of it tied. But the 3rd belonged to the Wild. They scored 3 unanswered goals to semi-blow out the Canucks, and then the Canucks turned thug-nation and initiated 3 seperate fights, pretty much losing all of them, and definetely losing to John Scott. He pummeled a guy whose name escapes me at the moment. Actually he might not remember his own name either after the 5 or 6 rights Scott landed in his ear and face.

Antti Miettinen scored 2 goals on the night, one of them on a pretty one-touch pass from Mikko Koivu.

Koivu scored on a 2 on 1 in the first with a nasty wrister past Canuck G Roberto Luongo.

Speaking of Luongo, he appeared to be fighting the puck the whole night. I guess that's obvious when you give up 5 goals, but he just didn't have it.

The win is the Wild's 4th in a row, negating the 4-game skid they were on just before the homestand. They beat some quality teams on this stretch.

The Wild are now 2 points out of 8th in the Western Conference. That's amazing.

They've gotta get ready in a hurry to face the Blues tomorrow night in St. Louis. Back to backs are a killer, and let downs are no fun. 5-in-a-rows are funner. Look for Josh Harding in net.

And now it's seepy time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wild Back on Track?

After a week or two of losses where the Wild played decently but not good enough to win, they’ve suddenly strung together three big wins and are back to 4 points out. After losses to ANA, LA, NJ, and CHI, they’ve now beaten CAL, CHI, and PIT. After falling to 8 points out of a playoff spot, they’re back to within striking distance at 4 points back.

This current stretch looked to be the toughest of the season for the Wild. Although they probably should have beaten Anaheim and LA and looked pretty bad in Chicago, they played well v. New Jersey and in all 3 home wins in the current streak. The squad even pulled of the biggest comeback in franchise history (down 5-1 v. Chicago in the 3rd) and tonight beat the defending Cup champion Penguins.

This team trends a bit differently from last year’s team. When they needed wins, last year’s team would win 1, then lose the next, through the balance of the schedule. This year’s team goes on runs...runs of losses, then runs of wins. If it can have one more winning run than losing, we may still get to talk playoff hockey this season.

A lot of other interesting stuff has gone on in the last couple weeks.

  • Jacques Lemaire returned to the X behind the NJ Devil’s bench. He appeared to be moved by a nice reception from the Wild and Wild fans. Then he beat the Wild 4-3.
  • Petr Sykora is upset that he is a consistent healthy scratch, and his agent is tweeting mad about it.
  • Guillaume Latendresse is winning fans like mad with 15 points since the Benoit Pouliot trade.
  • Backup G Josh Harding was in danger of taking a loss in a game where he entered trailing 5-1.
  • Harding also unveiled a sweet new mask, paying homage to the team’s burned equipment van in Ottawa.
  • In that same game, Marty Havlat was not chosen to shoot during an 8-round shootout.
  • Two Minnesotans will be part of the core leadership for the US Olympic hockey team. Jamie Langenbrunner will serve as team captain and Zach Parise is one of 4 alternate captains.

All good stuff. The Wild will attempt to continue this run Wednesday at the X v. Vancouver Canucks.

Here’s a bonus for you: Latendresse’s game-winning goal from tonight’s game v. Pittsburgh. The goal was sweet, and so was how Kyle Brodziak created a sneaky 2 on 1. Great goal. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pontificating on Minnesota’s Winter Classic

New year’s day was the NHL Winter Classic in Boston’s Fenway Park. Hockey in an outdoor baseball stadium. It was the NHL’s 3rd New Year’s Day outdoor hockey game, and 4th outdoor game overall. At one time I thought every year would be too much, but it has proven to be one of the most exciting days of the year in the NHL. I’d much rather watch this game than a nondescript college football bowl game. It has truly carved out a niche in New Year’s Day tradition. This year’s game was again full of spectacle, history, and really turned out to be an exciting game. Just another great event.

Each year I get to thinking about the event in Minnesota, and how much fun it would be to go to that game. Now that the Gophers new football stadium TCF Bank Stadium is open and the Twins new ballpark Target Field is less than 100 days away from opening, we finally have 2 great venues that could host the game. The latest I have read is that the Wild is pitching TCF Bank Stadium to the NHL. Not much is known about that proposal and I have to believe that the Wild would be interested in holding the event at Target Field as well. Assuming that the Wild get the Winter Classic in the next couple years, and assuming that both the U of MN and the Twins are interesting in hosting the event in their respective buildings, here’s a breakdown of how I see where the game should be played…

In all of these outdoor games, the sightlines for hockey definitely seem to be of secondary importance. Of the 4 outdoor games, 2 of them have been in football stadiums, 2 in baseball stadiums. If the game were at Target Field, seats would be great behind home plate because the rink is laid out from 1st base to 3rd base, but in the outfield not so much. It would seem that a football stadium, being of rectangular or oval uniformity, would lend itself better to being able to see the action on a hockey rink.
Advantage: TCF Bank

The Wild have spoke of this event to include college and possibly high school games as well. Makes sense, because this year Boston College and Boston University will be playing at Fenway (Friday Jan 8th 6:30PM NHL Network). Obviously Minnesota’s event would include the University of Minnesota Gophers, probably both Men’s and Women’s teams. That being said, it would make sense to have the Winter Classic at TCF Bank, because it’s on the U of MN campus and they could continue the college vibe. The NHL could focus it’s tradition theme on college players in the NHL. And maybe it could be some sort of MN college showcase. Bring in MN Duluth, MSU Mankato, St. Cloud State, and Bemidji State to join with the Gophers and you’ve got a tremendous event. Actually, the more I think about that the more I like it. Hope Wild PR Guy Billy Robertson reads this!
Advantage: TCF Bank

Secondary Money
This one is the most controversial, because it is about alcohol. Current policies at TCF Bank Stadium do not allow alcohol to be sold anywhere in the building. It’s a weird state legislature thing where the U of MN wanted to sell it only in the club areas, the state got involved and said either everywhere or nowhere, and the U went with nowhere to avoid sending a bad message about college kids drinking. It’s noble, but it also comes at a price. Revenue. When a glass of beer is $7 you’re giving up quite a bit of potential profits when you decide not to offer it in a stadium. Profits of which the NHL would get a piece. Do you think they’d want to give it up?

Across town at Target Field, there’s plenty to go around. Budweiser is a major sponsor, there are I think 4 different bars/restaurants, there are specialized concession stands dedicated to beers from the state of Minnesota, and then there’s the Budweiser Rooftop Party Deck, complete with a gas firepit . Add to this the fact that NHL fans enjoy a beer or two as part of the experience, and that a little libation may help to keep the body warm at an outdoor hockey game.

Many may not believe this is something that should matter, but I think it will be the deciding factor in where the game is played.
Advantage: Target Field 

My personal opinion here. Sightlines are secondary in this event. It’s about the pomp and circumstance, the vibe, and just the awesomeness of an outdoor game. The beer thing plays into the party vibe. I’m not a Gopher hockey fan, but I am a huge Twins fan, so I guess Target Field wins my bid. For the history perspective the NHL is looking for, the teams should be Wild v. Dallas Stars. The college game(s) should include UMD at the very least, and preferably all the D1 teams in MN since I just thought of that great idea.

So how bout it Commissioner Bettman? Who’s next?

What do you all think about Minnesota’s Winter Classic? Post in the comments!