Sunday, December 28, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
At least for tomorrow, this gives us something to watch for, and thus a reason to watch. Wild need offense and whether or not this turns out to be the start of Gabby's farewell tour, hopefully he brings back a little swaggar to the team and the fan base.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
So if by the off-chance anyone has noticed my lack of posts, forgive me. I'm just finding better things to do with my time, like watching my daughter do all sorts of cool baby things. If the Wild start doing things that keep my attention, the posts will likely return.
On a much more positive note, the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldog football team won the school's 1st-ever national championship yesterday, winning the D-II football title game. I found myself jumping up and down while watching this game...very rube-ish. Way to go Dogs!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Stars @ Wild – Wed Nov 26 – View from the Kitchen on the Laptop
Remember when…remember when if the Wild were up a goal or two in the 3rd period they were unbeatable? I miss the good old days. I don’t much enjoy feeling like a game is well in hand and then having to deal with a loss.
Wild had a 3-1 lead tonite v. Dallas, at home, but after two disallowed goals at the expense of Mikko Koivu, Dallas scored a couple non-descript goals, and eventually took the lead. The Wild played a very good game. They pretty much owned Dallas G Marty Turco, who looked shaky all nite. One of Koivu’s disallowed goals was just a shot that hit the crossbar and never went in, but the 2nd disallowed goal was after Turco had knocked the net off its moorings after “stumbling.” Seemed like after the 2nd disallowed goal the Wild lost all momentum, and they didn’t mount much after until a flurry with 15 seconds to go. They hit a post and had several point-blank choices as time expired.
Mikko Koivu played a very strong game tonite. He hit a post, hit a crossbar, and had the disallowed goal on the dislodged net. Didn’t much notice former Wild F Mark Parrish for Dallas. Didn’t much notice former Stars F Antti Miettinen for the Wild. Apparently Miettinen was a fluke earlier in the year.
Very disappointing loss after controlling the game against a struggling Stars team. And Dallas continues to be a mystery the Wild can not solve.
Next on the Docket – Lightning @ Wild – Fri Nov 28
Wes Walz day! The Wild will be honoring Wes Walz, who is an assistant coach for the Lightning, prior to the game Friday afternoon. Should be festive. Sort of bittersweet for me, because for the last I don’t know how many years me or someone in the family has been in the building for the day-after-Thanksgiving game, but we will not be going this year. Oh well. At least it’s scheduled to be in HD on FS North. Wild should be able to rebound after tonite’s disappointing loss. They have been very successful against the Eastern Conference so far this season, especially against the Southeast Division. Wild 2 Lightning 1
Monday, November 24, 2008
Tonite, with arguably the best offensive player in the NHL in town in Alex Ovechkin for Washington, the Wild found their scoring touch. A touch that has been missing for quite some time. 2 goals from Cal Clutterbuck (his 1st goals ever in the NHL), a goal from Marek Zidlicky, and James Sheppard's 1st of the year. Wild win 4-3 over a very good Capitals team. The Caps did not wake up until they were down 4-0, and scored a couple goals late in the 3rd period, the 2nd of which was a nasty wrister by Ovechkin with about 3 and a half minutes left. A penalty call on Marek Zidlicky added more drama, and Nicklas Backstrom (the Caps forward) beat Niklas Backstrom (the Wild goalie) and the Wild had to hang on for dear life.
Up until the last 4 minutes this was a very nicely-played game by the Wizzy. They seemed to have alot more jump and confidence than in recent games. The much-maligned Pierre-Marc Bouchard even started zipping around a little more in the offensive zone after he assisted on Sheppard's goal. I was about ready to call for the end of the scoring funk, but the way the game ended they lost that momentum. The funk will continue.
The Most Important Thing
What's the most important thing? The Wild were able to beat former Avalanche G Jose Theodore, who was possibly the biggest reason the Wild were eliminated in the 1st round of the playoffs last season. Excersise those demons!
Next on the Docket - Stars @ Wild - Wed Turkey Day Eve
Tough to say what will happen Saturday. Wild found some goals tonite but generally do not play so well against Dallas. Their record is slightly better at home than in Dallas however. Dallas lost to Philly tonite, and recently lost their heart and soul Brendan Morrow for the season. They're in a bit of a funk. I'm going Wild 3 Stars 2
Sunday, November 23, 2008
University North Dakota Fighting Sioux @ University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs – Sat 11-22-08 – View from Section 15 in the DECC
No Wild recap here tonite, I did not see the Wild’s 2-1 loss to St. Louis. I was in beautiful Duluth and in the house for UMD’s 3-1 win over UND.
Actually the outcome of the game was sort of secondary. I humbly accept the opportunity to bring home bragging rights for a while over my Sioux-fan wife and mother-in-law, but tonite was more about our fledgling family. You see this was our 1st opportunity to get away since Adriana was born in July, just the 3 of us as a family. It was much-needed. It was also Adriana’s 1st trip to Duluth, her 1st hotel stay, and her 1st real hockey game. And while I enjoyed the game and think it was the best game I’ve seen the Dogs play in quite some time, I mostly enjoyed the vibe of being a family.
Adriana was really good through the whole game. She was wide-eyed watching all the sights during most of the 1st period, got a little fussy in the 1st intermission, slept through most of the 2nd period, and stayed happy chewing on every last toy we brought in the 3rd. We were pleasantly surprised that we were able to stay for the whole game. And now if she just she sleeps through the nite in her pack & play it continue to be a most successful weekend.
Hooked on Canal Park
We are staying in Canal Park, and it has really worked out nice. Normally we don’t stay in Canal Park because it’s so much more expensive than other places like downtown, but we wanted the extra room so we went for the Comfort Suites. It was relatively warm (upper 20s) so we walked to the DECC from the hotel. Probably the coldest air Adriana has ever breathed, but she handled it well. Then after the game I walked over to Grandma’s to get take out to bring back to the hotel. Beauty! We just may have to stay in Canal Park all the time when we come to Duluth.
Quick Note about the School
I think most people that read this blog know that I went to UMD circa 1996. Today I made a quick trip up to campus to find some Bulldog paraphernalia for Adriana. Goodness has campus changed…and for the better. There is a new science building, new library, new dorm building, Grigg’s Field has been renovated and is awfully fancy now, and the Bulldog Shop is bigger and actually has some really nice UMD apparel and the like. The lack of stylin’ UMD clothing has always peeved me, and I was very surprised to see alot of great stuff, even UMD UnderArmour! I’m glad to see they finally figured it out. When the new arena opens at the DECC I hope it adds to this “big school” feel and also to the hockey program’s success.
UMD is almost all growns-up!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Wild @ Penguins – Tues Nov 18 – View from my Recliner
If I hear another announcer say “Goligoski” as long as I live I may throw up in my mouth and I can not be trusted to keep it there.
How’s that for a pleasant opening?
I don’t know what it is about that name, but it makes me cringe. For those that don’t know, Alex Gologoski is a former UMTC Gopher that apparently is now in his rookie season for the Pittsburgh Penguins. And tonite on Vs I think they said his name about 30 times. Perhaps it’s my hatred of Gopher hockey and hearing the MN media (think Wally Shaver) say his name a half-a-million times. Maybe it’s jealousy and envy…how bout if my UMD Bulldogs picked up some talent and actually won a game in the WCHA this season? (As a side note, I’m packing up the family for UND v. UMD @ the DECC Saturday. More on that later in the week.)
Ok ok, on to tonite’s game. One word…Niklas Backstrom. He was absolutely stellar tonite for the Wizzy, in a 2-1 shootout win over the Pens. For the most part the Wild did a great job bottling up Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Stall, and the rest of Pittsburgh’s high-flying offense (don’t forget Pascal Dupuis). But when the powder blue 3rd-jersey-wearing Pens got scoring chances, Backstrom made every big save. He was very calm and positionally sound throughout the nite, made big save after big save, and got the Wild to the shootout, and then made stops on Petr Sykora, Goligoski (blech), and Sidney Crosby in the shootout. Last season I made posts about how Backstrom wasn’t that great and letting in soft goals and biting it in the shootout. This year, exact opposite. He has been unbeatable in the shootout and is clearly the Wild’s MVP so far in this young season.
Matt Cooke, the former Vancouver Canuck and Wild fan-favorite-to-hate, scored the lone goal on Backstrom on a loose puck right in front of the Wild cage minder, just 10 seconds after Penguins F Mike Zigomanis scored for the Wild. Wait…huh? Yes…Zigomanis (apparently the NHL faceoff leader) won a defensive zone faceoff against Wild F Mikko Koivu, but the puck bounced straight in on Pens G Dany Sabourin, who let the puck trickle through his five hole for the Wild’s only goal of regulation. Koivu got credit for the goal. Really…scoring is that bad for the Wild right now. In the shootout, Wild D Marek Zidlicky scored the only goal the Wild would need on a nifty move, the Wild escape with 2 points, and that’s the important thing.
This is the type of game the Wild must play to be successful. It is a replay of the early years of Wild hockey, where they play strong defensively, keep the scoring low, and hope to get a few bounces. I’m not saying the Wild were an offensive juggernaut the last couple years, but right now they need to be VERY defensive because there just is no scoring in this lineup right now with no Marian Gaborik. And if the national media calls it a trapping system again I’ll probably have a Goligoski reaction.
Next on the Docket – Canucks @ Wild – Thurs Nov 20
Wild return home to continue a nice long stretch of home games, and they will renew the rivalry with Vancouver. They played a very competitive, intense, and hard-checking game in Vancouver a couple weeks ago, but came out on the losing end, I believe by 1 goal. I would expect the same Thursday, except I’m looking for a win this time. Wild 3 Canucks 1
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Remember 2 weeks ago when the Wild went 0 for 10 or something like that on the PP v. Montreal? Tonite was the inverse if that game. The Wild scored all 4 of their goals on the PP including 2 5-on-3 nasty one-timer goals by D Marek Zidlicky. Those goals were Zidlicky's 1st MN Wild goals. Andrew Brunette and Eric Belanger scored the other goals for the Wild and Wild G Niklas Backstrom was solid again en-route to a shutout; 4-0 final.
The Wizzy pretty much dominated the game from the start and did not let the 'yotes in the game. Apparently the long layoff and line-shuffling that coach Jacques did paid off. Although I did find myself grumbling a few times when they didn't finish scoring opportunities. I was a little worried early that it could be one of those games we dominate but lose because we lack finishing ability. But the powerplay clicked and Phoenix kept putting us on the powerplay.
Brent Burns returned to the lineup at forward and Owen Nolan played the entire game. Nolan had a very strong game. He had a ton of chances and I hope he cab stay healthy for a while to give the Wild some scoring depth.
Andrew Brunette quietly has 6 goals already. 30 goals from Bruno this season would be huge.
Wild take on the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday nite at the X. It's a game they should win and hopefully we'll see them string a few wins together and build some momentum going into December.
Tonite's game at the X is scheduled to be in HD on FSN, so I'm looking forward to getting reaquainted with my favorite team. Should be a good nite of puck!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Tonite I'm testing out blogging from my iPhone so please excuse any typos. So far, meh. Apparently Blogger's editor doesn't work with iPhone so I have to post it in HTML, which isn't a big deal but it is time-consuming to switch between the keyboard layouts. We'll see. On to the game.
Wild lose to the Canucks tonite 2-0. The game was actually pretty entertaining even tho the Wild could not get anything by Canuck G Roberto Luongo. It was a hard-hitting affair. Several Wild players were finishing checks in a way you don't typically see from the Wizzy. They also peppered Luongo through most of the game, and especially in the 3rd period. Luongo was exceptional, making a handful of saves when it seemed the Wild were set up to tie the game at 1. But late in the 3rd one of the Sedin twins found the other Sedin and that Sedin scored to ice the win for Vancouver. Anyone know what Backstrom was trying to do on that play? Because he basically fell over.
Oh I'm sure most of you saw that former Wild F Mark Parrish had a hat trick in his 1st game for the Dallas Stars. My cousin on TX basically gave me play by play. His quote was "Parrish is a beast!" =) Good for Parrish tho. He's a class act.
Not much else from here. Mostly because I've been working on typing this for a half hour and all I've got is one tiny paragraph. If anyone knows of any good blogging apps for iPhone please let me know!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Wild @ Sharks – Tues 11-4 – View from the Couch and Ba Ba Cleaning Land
Quite the nite tonite. I’m tired. Barack Obama is the President Elect. That’s a big deal. The Wild lost again to one of those “good teams.” That’s getting to be standard.
The Wild again were unable to beat one of the upper-echelon teams tonite in a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks. Even tho they kept the score tied at 1 going into the 3rd period, it was the classic Wild feeling of “we ain’t got no offense.” The Wild were blown away in shots tonite, 49-24. I think I noticed about 3 of those Wild shots as offensive pressure was short-lived for the Wizzy. The lone Wild goal came in the 1st period when just-called-up Wild F Krystofer Kolanos knocked home a rebound that came off Sharks G Evgeni Nabokov.
There are a few things that are really hurting the Wild right now…
- No Marian Gaborik
- Injuries – Gabby, Nolan, Burns, etc.
- Young players called up to replace the injured players
Still no official word on the MN Senate seat between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. I’m sick of Passolt and Robinson babbling on the Number 9 and I’ve got an early meeting tomorrow AM that I need to be coherent for, so that’s I’ve got for tonite. Wild are back in action Thurs v. Colorado, our 1st action v. the Northwest Division this season.
Hoping and praying our country has inspired and stalwart leadership in the next 4 years…
Friday, October 31, 2008
Wild v. Canadiens – Thurs Oct 30 – View from All Over the House
We’ve seen a couple things play out in the Wild’s last 2 games. One is that against stiffer competition, the Wild are pretty much overmatched in the scoring department. Two is that a Wild team without Marian Gaborik is pretty punchless. Eric Belanger has reverted to invisible Eric Belanger, and Antti Miettinen can not pick up the slack for the goals the Wild will lose when Gabby is not part of this team.
Wild lose tonite to the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. One would say they didn’t lose too badly, that it was a close game. But if you watched the game, you saw no flow from the Wild offense for the majority of the game. They spent pretty much the entire 2nd period on the powerplay, including significant 5-on-3 time, and did not sniff a goal. Passes were not crisp, players were overskating the puck, and Montreal played a stellar penalty kill strategy. The Wild could not work the puck into the slot, so all the shots came from Bergeron or other defensemen from the point and would not get thru to Canadiens G Carey Price. The Wild had a total of 10 powerplay opportunities, and came up snake-eyes. The lone Wild goal came 1:30 into the game from Brent Burns, who was playing forward tonite with Owen Nolan out again with another “lower body” injury. Josh Harding got the start tonite, and he finished with 19 saves giving up 2 goals. The 1st goal was a little weak, but all in all he played a decent game.
The most exciting part of tonite’s game was at the end of the game, with about 20 seconds to play, there was a scrum in front of the Montreal net. The Wild’s Koivu was all up in the fracas, throwing gloved-fists and losing his helmet. The Canadien’s Koivu was on the ice as well, and he got into it with Wild F Andrew Brunette. If they’da let it go, it would have been interesting to see how it would play out if Koivu and Koivu met in the pile. Koivu v. Koivu droppin’ the gloves? Mikko is a bit of a crazy if he gets riled up…it coulda happened!
Then as he went back out on the ice for the final 20 seconds, he had Martin Skoula’s #41 helmet on. I thought it was pretty comical.
The Wild’s performance in the last 2 games has me worried for the games this season against the upper-tier teams in the NHL. It’s one thing to beat Atlanta and Tampa Bay, but the Wild have lost to Buffalo, Dallas, and Montreal – three good teams – and they haven’t looked particularly competent in any of those losses.
Next on the Docket – Wild @ Coyotes – Sat Nov 1
Phoenix is last in the Western Conference with 8 points so far this season, but tonite they beat the Penguins 4-1. This is a game the Wild need to get back on track. Wild 3 ‘Yotes 0 That’s right, I’m callin’ a shutout!
Closed Circuit to Kirsten
I hope you’re happy!!!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The Hockey god’s have answered Jeremy’s question: Yes, Harding will play this season; sadly in relief. I find it ironic that the Wild’s perfect penalty kill record was ruined by Minnesota native Matt Niskanen (4-1). Next game I go to of theirs, I will be attempting to be in his good grace by wearing an old UMD jersey the J Dog gave me years ago. Otherwise an uneventful period. Sure hope Fistric is ok after that puck hit him.
Wild score to cut the lead in half, but otherwise the Stars lock it down. From what I saw tonight, I really think the Wild are going in a great direction with great offensive talent and pretty solid goaltending (everyone has a bad night, for example Turco’s had a bad season so far) It sure is bitter sweet to see Miettinen exploding for Minnesota after a lack luster career in big D. All the best to him. I do love how anytime someone so much as bumps Modano, the rest of his line comes to his rescue. Dallas appears to respect their elders. I don’t know how many aerial shots of the city they showed on the Minnesota broadcast, but they had quite a few here on FSN Southwest and I must say, we have some wicked cool looking stuff around the American Airlines Center. The rest of the city isn’t anything special (aside from the conspiracy theory tours of where JFK was shot) but they sure jazzed up the surrounding area. Enough about the city though. Dallas needed a win here, and that is what we came away with. The best way to describe it was the Stars were hungrier then the Wild.
One word to describe this guy. Potential. Don’t get me wrong, he’s good right now, but every game he receives great opportunities and makes great moves but lacks one thing: finishing. He has Crosby-like attributes, but until he learns to find the back of the net on a consistent basis, he will remain in the potential category.
Is it just me, or do they seem to play more and better music at the games you don’t attend?
Next on the Docket- Stars @ Blackhawks- Friday, Oct. 31st
Last time the Stars had a big win, they were embarrassed in the next game. This time they have some time to recover, so I’m calling for a win to get us back into the division. Stars win 5-3
Wild @ Stars – Wed Oct 29th – View from my Recliner
Watched tonite’s game while pounding away on the work laptop, editing Word docs that were slow to respond through the VPN connection. Blah. That’s really how the game felt too. Blah.
Wild were seemingly out of it from the get go, with Stars F Brendan Morrow scoring from a sharp angle just 13 seconds into the game. Wild D Marc-Andre Bergeron tied it with a laser shot on the powerplay, and then it was all downhill. Stars F Brad Richards created a goal for Steve Ott by forechecking, Brad Richards scored thanks to a fortuitous bounce that put the puck on his stick with a wide-open net, and Virginia MN native Matt Niskanen scored in the 2nd with a nasty wrister. Wild F Andrew Brunette finished the scoring in the 3rd with another powerplay goal.
Wild G Niklas Backstrom was pulled after the 1st period, giving Josh Harding his 1st minutes of the season. Took long enough for Coach Jacques to put him into a game. It will be interesting to see who gets the start tonite v. Les Habitants.
- The Wild finally gave up a goal on the powerplay.
- The Wild have not won in Dallas since March 2003.
- Disappointing game given it was the first test against a playoff-proven team.
Next on the Docket - Wild v. Canadiens - Thurs Oct 30
It's the big Koivu v. Koivu matchup. They're both captains. They're both centers. They will match up in the faceoff circle. Who will win? I gotta go with the older brother here. Montreal is a good team. Canadiens 4 Wild 1
As a side note, there's a nice story on Mikko Koivu on NHL.com today.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Oh, and since I didn't get a chance to recap the Wild v. Hawks from the other nite...nice win for the Wild, but we gotta stop letting teams back in to the game after being up early. It's going to come back to haunt us eventually. Niklas Backstrom won that game for the Wild.
That said, 6-0-1 is a sweet record, and I am looking forward to tonite's game to see how we play against one of the good teams in the Western Conference.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Wild v. Blue Jackets – Sat Oct 25th – View from my Recliner
What was a relatively uneventful game turned into great drama in the last 15 seconds tonite v. Columbus. Wild win 2-1. The ‘Jackets appeared to tie the game with 15 seconds to go on a deflection by F Rick Nash, but the goal was disallowed by the NHL War Room in Toronto, ruling that Nash’s stick was above the crossbar when he deflected the puck. Columbus players and coach Ken Hitchcock went ballistic, and Coach Jacques was had a look of absolute surprise. The final definitive view came towards the end of the stoppage on FSN – an ice-level view showed without a doubt that Nash’s stick was above the crossbar, and the correct call was made. Sorry Nashie. Now go try and pick a fight with Antti Miettinen. Even the FSN broadcasters were screwed up. They could not believe the goal was disallowed. Darby Hendrickson, who played in the NHL for however many seasons, afterwards said that above the shoulders is a high stick disallowed goal…but I am clearly smarter than FSN. I know that the crossbar is the benchmark. Seriously…sometimes FSN…well, I digress. Mike Greenlay clarified later.
Wild F Owen Nolan gets the game winner on his 1st goal as a member of the Wild, and F Pierre Marc-Bouchard got his 1st of the season. The Wild had some stretches of great puck control and seemed to have a ton of space before Columbus put a man on the puck. But, they need to finish. Puck control and fancy-pants passing is great, but it doesn’t do anything for the scoreboard.
Wild G Niklas Backstrom kept the Wild in this game. He played a very strong game. I really thought we’d see Josh Harding tonite, but more Backstrom. Will Harding play at all this season?
Tonite was the 2nd game in a row that the Wild let a team back in after leading comfortably. That was a problem last year that I thought would go away with Demitra and Rolston leaving. Apparently not.
So the Wild stay undefeated in regulation. Owen Nolan gets his 1st Wild goal. The penalty kill stayed at 100%. FSN voices Dan Terhaar and Mike Greenlay look like muppets demonstrating fights on-ice after the game. I DVRed the Hockey Night in Canada games from NHL Network tonite, so tomorrow I have more hockey to watch. Beauty!
Next on the Docket – Blackhawks @ Wild – Mon Oct 27th
Wild v. Blackhawks are the national game Monday on Versus in HD. Make sure you watch. No “what channel is Versus” jokes, please. This is a great opportunity to get national perspective on our team and to watch superstars of tomorrow Patrick Kane and Jonathan Towes. Unless the Wild can figure out how to bury the puck more often, I think the Hawks win, 3-2.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Just a few random babbles on a Wild off day…
Former Wild F, St Cloud State alum, and Bloomington Jefferson grad Mark Parrish signed a minor-league contract with the New York Islanders. I was really excited when we signed Parrish and I liked him while he was here. He was good with the media, one of the players on the team that was easy to identify with because he loved to talk. But, he never scored goals the way the Wild expected him to because he’s an in front of the net guy. It’s hard to score when you’re getting beat up every game. So the Wild cut ties, and now he is trying to work himself back into the big show.
SCSU alum, St Paul native, and Kristi Yamaguchi husband signed a 1-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks. He’s 38 years old; I’m not sure how much he’ll play, but I’m glad he’s getting to put in another year.
Former Wild underachiever Pavol Demitra is out 3-4 weeks for the Canucks with a “torso” injury. Sounds like it’s a rib injury.
Following up on my Glorified Jots from a couple days ago, Jeff Dubay was fired by KFAN today as a result of his cocaine charges. You certainly can not blame the FAN for making that decision. I wish Puffy the best and hope he can straighten things out for himself and his health most importantly. Meantime KFAN will need to replace him on the PA and Dubay show. I’m cool with Justin Gaard or Corey Cove.
As I write this I’m having my very own UMD Bulldog Hockey Night, watching the Dogs v. Alaska Anchorage Seawolves thanks to goseawolves.com. The Dogs are down 4-2 at the start of the 3rd period right now. I just have to say, the UAA internet video feed looks pretty darned good. I’ve seen alot of ugly looking games streaming over the ‘net because Minnesota-Duluth games are not on TV here in the Twin Cities unless they’re playing the Gophers. But this game looks quite good, especially when you factor in that it is free, and most other games you have to pay $7. I hope they’ve improved the video over at B2Networks for the games at the DECC this season.
Oooh, make it 4-3 Seawolves with 17 minutes to go. UMD just scored a pretty powerplay goal.
And now it’s a tie game, another powerplay goal for UMD. 10 minutes to go. Oh bugger…looks like they’re going to review the goal. And…it’s no goal. Bunk. They didn’t gave a reason on the broadcast why they waived it off, and they didn’t show a replay. That sucks. 4-3 final, Anchorage defeats Duluth. Apparently there was a man in the crease on the waived-off goal.
Enough babble for one nite…
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Sabres @ Wild – Thurs Oct 23rd 2008 – View from My Recliner
Actually tonite I watched sporadically through the nite on the DVR…you know, baby stuff. I saw the ugly start the Wild had – they had no flow and were very sluggish. Just didn’t seem to have any step. Drew Stafford scored on a nifty play to put the Sabres up 1-0.
Then, when I was about midway thru the 2nd period, I made the mistake of logging on to Facebook…figuring I could avoid the news feed. Well, my eyes glanced to one, and only one status update, and that was enough. I won’t name any names (Niki) but the result of tonite’s game was spoiled for me. And ironically, this happened just Benoit Pouliot scored to tie it at 1-1, and shortly that after Stephane Veilleux scored to put the Wild up 2-1. So I was left to wonder how we blew the lead in the 3rd. Then, in the 1st minute of the 3rd period, Brent Burns got credit for putting the Wild up 3-1 when Sabres G Ryan Miller misplayed the puck into his own net. So now it’s “Really? We blew a 2-goal lead?” Then it turned into “Really? We blew a 2-goal lead with 4 minutes left?”
Sure enough, the Sabres scored on a weak deflection shot, then Thomas Vanek (former Goofer) tied it after being left wide open by the again-sluggish Wild D. In the OT, Derek Roy won the game on after a scrum in front of G Niklas Backstrom.
Moral of the story, if you’re going to be watching on the DVR, apparently not only do you need to seclude yourself from any interaction with anyone in real life, you need to turn your virtual life off also.
I was way off on my thought that this would be a fast-paced game. It really wasn’t a great game to watch, even when I didn’t know who won yet. I did have the score right, just the winner flip-flopped.
So, the only positive is the Wild are still undefeated in regulation and they have points in each game. But the overshadowing negative is the way they lost the game. Coach Jacques is most-likely not happy.
New Wild D Marek Zidlicky played his 1st game of the season, and I liked what I saw. He moves the puck well so that will create offense on the breakout. And he has a nasty shot from the point. He and Marc-Andre Bergeron will definitely help create offense.
Next on the Docket – Blue Jackets @ Wild – Sat Oct 25
Don’t know much about Columbus, except that they haven’t contended for a playoff spot since they came into the league with the Wild in 2000. Oh and they have Rick Nash. They’re 3-3-0. Maybe we’ll see Josh Harding. Wild should win, 3-1.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I’ve been meaning to put up a random post for about 5 days now. Long layoff for the Wild gives me a chance to muse about things I normally wouldn’t write about. But alas, Wild play tomorrow, so here is said post.
Wild v. Lightning
I had no game recap for Saturday’s game v. Tampa Bay. We went to a nice Oktoberfest party and I didn’t get to see any of the Wild’s 1st game v. Barry Melrose and Wes Walz. Apparently I didn’t miss much. The final was 1-0 Wild in a shootout, with Antti Miettinen scoring the SO winner.
Special Feature Coming Soon
I have family in the Dallas area, and my cousin Matt is a big Stars fan. We’re going to work on a new feature for this blog for the 4 Wild/Stars games this season. The Wild are in Dallas next Wed Oct 29th and Matt is planning to go to the game, so look for my recap as well as a recap guest post from him. We’ll try a couple other things throughout the season as well for the games v. the team that I believe should be our biggest rival. If they would just realign the divisions…
Alot has been written in the mainstream media over the last few days about Marian Gaborik. Mostly the steam is that he is on the trading block because it does not seem that the team will be able to sign him. There are basically 2 sides to the Wild faithful on this issue…1 that says good riddance because he is an overpriced injury-prone prima donna…the 2nd that says we need Gabby in a Wild sweater to be successful.
I, like most under the Libra zodiac sign, tend to waffle. I see both sides to the argument and on any given day I might think if Gabby is gone we won’t score enough goals and we’ll miss the playoffs for the next 3 years. The next day I’ll be hatin’ on Gaborik and looking forward to the day the soap opera is over. But regardless of how I feel, Wild fans better get used to the idea of a Wild team without it’s superstar for the 1st time since it’s inception.
If you haven’t yet, head over to NHL.com and check it out. I have been very impressed with its redesign. The feature stories are interesting. In-game stats are elaborate on NHL Gamecenter. They do a great job of highlighting the game and its players. You can watch the highlights of every goal over the last 3 years, and the NHL Network Online application collects the best features from each team’s website. NHL.com is one thing I think the league is doing right in the marketing department.
KFAN’s Jeff Dubay
I’m not going to get into any speculation or anything here, but I did want to send out positive vibes to Jeff Dubay of KFAN’s PA and Dubay show. I have listened to PA and Dubay for probably around 7 or 8 years and I was disappointed to hear about the recent charges against Puff. I’m not going to pretend that I know what he is going through, but I do hope he pulls through OK and we can get back to hearing him on the FAN talkin’ hockey, Twins, and everything else Minnesota sports.
Tampa Bay Rays
Am I the only one rooting against the Rays in the World Series? The Twins should be the only under-achieving team winning in a bad stadium. FYI, they’re down 1-0 to the Phillies as of right…about…now.
Next on the Docket – Wild v. Sabres – Thurs Oct 23rd
Sabres are 5-0-1, Wild are 4-0. Something’s got to give…unless it goes to overtime. Should be a pretty fast-paced game. I’ll go with the Wild, 4-3.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wild @ Panthers – 10-16-08 – View from My Kitchen (Then My Recliner)
Quite an impressive victory for the Wizzy tonite, a 6-2 shellacking of the Florida Panthers. I watched tonite’s game while I made dinner, then on the DVR after dinner. So I didn’t get a gauge for the flow in the 1st 2 periods, but I did see the goals. And again some of them were downright pretty. Who is this offensive juggernaut that we figured was going to struggle to score goals?
1st period goal from Andrew Brunette, 2nd period goals from Kim Johnsson, Antti Miettinen, and Benoit Pouliot, and 3rd period goals from Mikko Koivu and a another from Miettinen. The only bunk goal was Johnsson’s goal…his soft shot from the blueline bounced off a couple skates on its way past Panther G Thomas Vokoun. The Wild powerplay goals were pretty tick-tack passing plays, and Koivu was unconscious tonite, finishing off a nite full of beauty passes with a wicked wrister through a screen for the final goal.
- The Wild scored 3 goals on the powerplay.
- Mikko Koivu had 4 assists to go with his 1 goal for a 5 point nite.
- Antti Miettinen now has 5 goals in 3 games.
- Wild G Niklas Backstrom played his 3rd solid game of the season, making 24 saves en route to the win.
- Oh yeah, Gabby is hurt.
Next on the Docket – Wild @ Lightning – Sat 10-18-08
The Wild are off to another fast start. They went 5-0 before losing last season, and the year before they went 6-0. But they have to lose eventually right? We get to see Barry Melrose and former Wild F Wes Walz behind the bench for the Bolts, and Melrose is the kind of guy that is smart enough to tap into Wes for some insider secrets. The Bolts are winless so far, so I’ve got to read all that karma into a win for the Lightning, 4-1.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Wild @ Thrashers - 10-14-08 - View from My Recliner
Wild win 4-2 tonite, in front of about 13 people at Phillips Arena in Atlanta. All told the Wizzy played a pretty good game. Another slow start, but they got it going thanks to a bevy of power play opportunities.
It’s early, and the sun shines on the blah blah sometimes, but Antti Miettinen sure seems to have some offensive promise. From what I remember he would show flashes in Dallas, but never was consistent. Well, he had both the game-winning and insurance goals for the Wild tonite. His 1st goal was on a semi-breakaway where he held off Thrasher D Mathieu Schneider and roofed a backhander over Thrasher G Kari Lehtonen. His 2nd goal came on a pretty give and go 3 on 2 with Wild F Andrew Brunette. He also had an assist on Bruno’s PP goal in the 1st period for a 3 point nite. Hopefully his new start in Minny is the key to realizing his potential.
Marian Gaborik Sighting
Gabby played a very strong game tonite. He had a handful of good scoring chances, and he scored a fabulous goal in the 3rd that gave the Wild the lead at 2-1. Brunette, Mikko Koivu, and Gaborik were pressuring as a Wild powerplay expired. Koivu got the puck to the front of the net where Schneider got control of the puck for Atlanta. Gabby lifted Schneider’s stick from behind and in one slick motion fired the puck past Lehtonen. And suddenly, I found myself really wanting Gabby to sign with the Wild.
- Andrew Brunette got his 1st goal of his 2nd tour of duty with the Wild on the PP in the 1st period.
- I am really falling in love with Marc-Andre Bergeron’s shot from the point. There are so many ways to score goals when you have defensemen that can shoot the puck…deflections, screens, rebounds, not to mention they can just go in, as happened in Saturday’s opener.
- James Sheppard is really starting to look like a hockey player. He is so much more noticeable on the ice, and he seems so much more confident this season.
- Possible injury issues already. F Pierre-Marc Bouchard is having back issues and has been flown back to the Twin Cities to rest. The Wild will for sure be without him for the final two games of the road trip. F Owen Nolan left in the 1st with some sort of lower body injury, prompting the Wild to call up Cal Clutterbuck from Houston. If these are lingering injuries, it could mean trouble for the Wild.
Next on the Docket – Wild @ Panthers – Thurs 10-16-08
The Wild should never lose to the Florida Panthers. Wild 3 Panthers 1
Monday, October 13, 2008
I’m still bitter that I didn’t get to see the banner go up on Saturday nite thanks to FSN, but I found it on YouTube. Here it is…
Pretty sharp lookin’ banner if you ask me. Try this…close your eyes, picture this banner, then picture the Xcel Energy Center rafters FILLED with them – Northwest Division, Western Conference, and Stanley Cup Championship banners. Someday…
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Bruins @ Wild - 10-11-08 - View from My Recliner with Baby in Tow
Bugger it’s so good to have hockey back! It’s amazing how the shortest offseason of all the pro sports seems to take the longest. The Wild got off to a beauty start to the 2008-2009 season tonite at Xcel Energy Center with a win over the Boston Bruins, 4-3.
Standard Wild Hockey
Tonite’s game had a feel of standard Wild hockey. Slow start and trailing early. Turn it on late in the 1st and through the 2nd period, and hang on in the 3rd to pull out the win.
F Eric Belanger scored 2 goals, which last year would have really made me excited. But seeing him disappear in the 2nd half last year dampers my enthusiasm. Just think if he could score 30 goals…
Newcomers F Antti Miettenin and D Marc-Andre Bergeron scored for the Wild. Miettenin scored on a quick tip play and Bergeron scored on the PP with a razor slapper that bounced through Bruins G Manny Fernandez’s pads. Shades of Brian Rolston.
The crowd seemed to be pretty amped up tonite. Of course I was not there, but it came across very well on FS North. The game was broadcast in HD and I was very impressed with FSN’s telecast. They have a new set of graphics and they did alot of flyover crowd shots. The flyovers did alot more to convey the atmosphere than the typical crowd shots we are used to. Good on ya FSN.
Not So Good on Ya FSN
I was very disappointed in FSN’s coverage of the raising of the Northwest Division Championship banner. As someone who made reference to the NW championship in most of my posts towards the end of last season, I was really excited to see the ceremony. Since I couldn’t be there, I expected FSN to cover something as historic as the 1st banner raised to the Xcel Energy Center rafters. Instead, all I got to see was 10 seconds of the banner as they came back from commercial. After an hour-long pregame of Darby Hendrickson and Kevin Gorg, I was blown away that we couldn’t see more of the banner going up. FSN got everything else right, but they screwed this important nuance up big time.
New Family & the Wild
Tonite was Adriana’s 1st Wild game experience (of MANY). She was pretty good throughout, content in looking at the TV in my lap. The funniest part of the nite was when I was changing her diaper and play-by-play guy Dan Terharr said something about Wild D Martin Skoula. I said, “What, Skoula” in an excited voice, and Adriana started giggling. She’s 3 months old, and she’s already laughing at Skoula.
- FSN did a quick interview with former Gophers Blake Wheeler and Phil Kessel. Man, does Kessel sure seem like a dink.
- Wild F Colton Gillies is much bigger than I realized.
- Wild F Marian Gaborik didn’t figure much into the game. He had a couple nice moves, but they did not materialize into any real chances.
- Boston and former Wild G Manny Fernandez could have changed up his mask a little. It’s the same one he had in Minny, but yellow instead of green.
- Wild F Owen Nolan may be old, but I like his spark. I hope it lasts the whole season.
- If you caught NHL Network’s simulcast of Hockey Night in Canada, or if you saw CBC’s actual coverage, you saw that they named a winner of the contest for the new theme song for HNiC, in front of a live audience. I thought it was actually pretty cool. Some random guy, wins the contest for composing the theme song. They cut to the new video intro, with his song accompanying. Had to be an awesome feeling for him. And the video intro is actually pretty cool, with computer animations of some of the most memorable moments in hockey history. They even simulated a faceoff between Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky. Very cool.
Next on the Docket – Wild @ Thrashers – Tues 10-14-08
It is difficult to make predictions on individual games this early in the season. So, I will go with the home team here. Thrashers should win; Thrashers 4 Wild 2.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
The fine folks at RumorMeThis.com contacted me to be a guest author for their site. I will be making periodic posts about the Wild throughout the season and I just posted a season preview. Check it out here…
Thursday, October 9, 2008
After a long 3 months off, the NHL gets rolling in earnest and our TV viewing is set for the next 9 months. There are 4 season openers tonite, and we can see most of them. Versus has Maple Leafs @ Red Wings where Def Leppard will play to kick off the season and the Red Wings will raise their Stanley Cup banner. Versus will follow that up with Bruins @ Avalanche. NHL.com starts a free preview of NHL Gamecenter Live and tonite you can watch Ducks @ Sharks via the internet! A free preview of NHL Center Ice is also available for the next week if your cable or satellite company carries it.
Move on to Saturday when NHL Network will be broadcasting Hockey Night in Canada starting @ 5:30 CST with a pregame, then Canadiens @ Maple Leafs followed by Canucks @ Flames, then Hockey Night in Canada After Hours. If you’ve never experienced Hockey Night in Canada make sure you catch some of it Saturday nite. HNIC is truly like no other hockey television experience.
And to top all of that off, Saturday nite is also the Wild season opener v. Boston Bruins. They’ll be raising our 1st banner to the rafters @ Xcel Energy Center for last year’s Northwest Division title in a pregame ceremony starting around 7:15 CST. The game will be on FSN North and is scheduled to be in HD so it’ll be the next best thing to being there for me.
So hunker down, because life is good again. Hockey is back!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
So I’m watching Gophers v. Hoosers football, flipping channels, and I come across hockey on NHL Network. Makes sense right? Well, to my surprise, it’s Rangers v. Lightning from Prague, and it’s a real-life regular season game! I missed the memo on this one. I knew the season was going to open in Europe, but I didn’t realize it was this soon!
Penguins v. Senators from Stockholm follows this game. So if you read this in time, turn on NHL Network. And a quick check of NHL.com shows that Lightning v. Rangers part deux will be on VS. tomorrow at 11 AM CST.
The 2008 season is on hockey fans!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
With a 3-2 win over Buffalo tonite, the Wild improved to 4-1-0 in the preseason. Preseason means nothing, but it is encouraging that the Wild have been able to score enough goals and play strong enough defense to win most of their games. Hopefully it transfers over into the real season.
I haven’t been able to see any of the games, but from listening to Kevin Faulness’ post-game Pondcasts, sounds like the squad is getting used to each other. PMB, Gabby, and Burnsie have only recently gotten in the lineup due to injuries. Stephane Vellieux had his typical every-once-in-a-while offensive prowess and leads the team in plus/minus. Niklas Backstrom has been strong in net and improved in the shootout. Owen Nolan has been playing the tough and in front of the net game that Mark Parrish was known for. Marc-Andre Bergeron is getting in too many fights. And Coach Lemaire has already had some nice zingers in the post-game presser.
In tonite’s game, Martin Skoula’s stick somehow got into G Josh Harding’s facemask and cut his eye. Hopefully Hards is OK, but isn’t that Skoula for ya?
We’re 11 days away from the start of the real season. And now that the Twins are done, I can’t wait.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Dan at Deuce by Definition has posted the Wild Blogosphere responses to question #2 on the loss of Pavol Demitra and Brian Rolston and question #3 on the additions of Marek Zidlicky and Marc-Andre Bergeron. Zoom over and check it out!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Aaaah training camp. Team Passion v. Team Preparation. Green v. White. Sheppard v. Bouchard. Brunette v. Nolan. Nondescript tryout guy v. nondescript tryout guy. You get the picture. If preseason hockey is anti-climactic, then NHL practice is a glorified pregame warm-up. Even my wife’s non-hockey-fan relatives thought we were going to a game, and when we said we were going to practice, well, let’s just say we got a few confused looks. As if to say “You drove all the way up here to watch a practice?”
All that said, it was a good time Sunday at the REA in Grand Forks. For me it turned into more fun watching Adriana at her 1st hockey experience. I know, I know, she’s only 10 weeks old…she’s not going to remember a thing. But she was watching something down there on the ice, and I’m going to choose to believe that we’re planting the seeds for a lifetime love of hockey. I do, however, have some catching up to do, as she left the arena with more Fighting Sioux clothes and I am still looking for respectable UMD Bulldog infant garb.
I’m not going to recap everything that happened at practice and the scrimmage. I’ll leave that to Russo. But I do have some impressions that I’ll pass along:
- Everyone hears this and I’ve been there many times so it’s nothing new to me, but the REA is sick. Every time I go there I can’t believe I’m at a college arena. There was a decent vibe in the town about the Wild. We went to Green Mill Saturday nite and we were asked if we were going to the practice, and we saw a good bunch of Wild clothing about town.
- Marek Zidlicky can skate, and Marc-Andre Bergeron is tiny, although not quite Pterri Nummelin tiny.
- During the scrimmage, Bruno set up shop once or twice behind the net. It will be nice to see that again this season.
- Derek Boogard played the scrimmage like he was an offensive force. He stick handled and got shots on net. I’m sure that won’t transfer into the regular season, but it was interesting seeing a different side of his game.
- James Sheppard looks funny wearing number 51, and Craig Weller wearing number 12 is just wrong.
- Mikko Koivu and Colton Gilles were locked into a nice puck possession drill. Mikko clearly was dominant, but Gilles did show some grit.
- Gabby did not practice or participate in the scrimmage. Apparently he is injured, but since we didn't know that at the arena I jumped to the "superstar in contract negotiation" card. I'm still suspicious.
Here are a couple pics…
And a video of some tryout players practicing that oft-used tip play from the opposite goal line.
If you’re interested, there’s more pics in a set on my Flickr site.
1st preseason game is tomorrow (Wednesday). I’ll have to read about it in the Blogosphere because I’ll be at Twins v. White Sox at Metrodome for the next biggest game of the season for the Twins!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Dan at Deuce by Definition is doing a series called Land of 10,000 Takes. He sent out 10 questions to the Wild Bloggers and is posting our responses to those questions along with his own take. He’s posting one question at a time, and today he posted question #1 about Marian Gaborik’s impending free agency. Head on over and check out the prognostication, including some great Wild-hockey-mind takes from yours truly.
It’s official! Hockey season is officially on as I’ve witnessed my 1st live hockey of the season. My family and I made the 4-hour trek to Grand Forks ND over the weekend to visit some family. We attended the Wild’s practice session on Sunday with roughly 1500 Wild fans from the Grand Forks area at the lavish Ralph Engelstadt Arena, home of the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux.
I will be recapping the event shortly, complete with photos and a video or two. I would have had it up tonite, but I got totally caught up playing NHL 09, and suddenly it’s 1 AM. Typical.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
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Saturday, September 6, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Actually, I didn't have much of a point for my earlier post, but luckily something surfaced since. The Wild will be unveiling a mascot on October 5th. My 1st reaction was an eye roll, that mascots are lame, and I was glad the Wild chose not to have one - this bites. As I think about it now, I understand why they want to do it. The Twins have been very successful with TC Bear, and he grows on ya. And the biggest reason, Adriana will have something to identify with when I talk about the Wild. She'll probably be excited to go to hockey much earlier than without said mascot. It'll give me various stuffed animals with Wild logos to buy.
So, my final conclusion is OK, I can deal with a mascot. As long as next year they don't bring in ice girls.
Friday, August 15, 2008
We're a month and 5 days out from training camp opening in Grand Forks. So consider this your teaser promo. Wild View from Section 216 will be returning shortly.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Ok...all that sensitive stuff out of the way...you can bet Adriana will be coming to Wild games soon. Although we probably won't be going to as many games in the next couple years, she'll be in a Wild outfit on opening night, sitting next to me while we watch the NW Division banner raised at Xcel, even if we're watching it here at home. And even though the Wizzy will look different this year I think they will be competitive and in the thick of things. I believe they still make the playoffs in 08-09. And then, who knows.
Oh yeah, while we were in the hospital, the Wild signed Owen Nolan. He's old, but he's got a ton of experience. He's had a great career, and hopefully he'll add something to that locker room. I don't know his work ethic, but the team could use some fire in my opinion. I hope he brings that.
And here's Adriana!
Friday, July 4, 2008
"Antti doesn't do much for me, like if you put him on a good line he will have moments of brilliance but overall I don't think he's that good. "
Certainly not exactly what I wanted to hear, but in line with what Russo had to say. Typical Reisbrough signing. At least I get to hear his name more.
For the record, I'm glad Markus Naslund chose the Rangers and not the Wild. It would be hard to root for him in a Wild sweater.
Let's see if Reisbrough can get the job done with Gabby. See the previous post for my prediction on that one.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Brian Rolston signs with New Jersey
I know we'll miss his big slapper and we'll have to replace his consistent 30 goals, but this doesn't dissappoint me too much. I enjoyed watching Roli, but I also remember getting pretty down on him throughout the season. He would disappear for strings of games at a time. He led the movement the players had to have the "optional" practice which I never really bought into. So while this is a loss, I'm not devastated.
Andrew Brunette Returns to Wild
I'm all about this signing. Bruno was a fan-favorite when everyone's favorite GM that isn't Kevin McHale let him go 3 years ago. Bruno had 3 good seasons in Colorado, he openly spoke about how much he missed Minnesota, and the deal to bring him back in free agency was done quicker than Chris Simon deciding to leave the country. Brunette can dish the puck...hopefully often to Gabby on the powerplay.
Wild Trade for Marek Zidlicky
Wild gave up a prospect and a draft pick, but they get another offensive defenseman to compliment Brent Burns and Kim Johnsson. Put it this way...do you want Pterri Nummellin or Marek Zidlicky?
Wild Trade for Marc-Andre Bergeron
I don't know much about Bergeron, but the Wild only gave up a 3rd round pick. If he will replace Keith Carney, sounds good to me.
Wild Lose Todd Fedoruk and Aaron Voros
Fedoruk signed with Phoenix, Voros with New York Rangers. While they were both lightning rods at times last year, they were bit players. There's a reason Fedoruk was on waivers and Voros was in the AHL. They can be replaced.
Pavol Demitra? Marian Gaborik?
So Pav has not signed anywhere so far. All the speculation said he would be going to Vancouver, but if it hasn't happened yet maybe that has cooled. It does not sound like the Wild have much interest either way and I'm fine with that. Demo had a bad year in 07-08.
With Marian Hossa signing a 1-year contract in Detroit another of Gabby's best buddies is not available for the Wild, and that will have an impact on Gabby's decision on re-upping with the Wild. This next year is the last in his existing contract. If Gabby resigns here this offseason I'll be shocked...which means expect this to be his last season in Minny.
Wild Loses Kristian Huselius to Columbus
Huselius went to Columbus for just under $5 M a year. How does the Wild lose a player to Columbus??? Marian Hossa didn't want to play here either. I'm getting an inferiority complex.
Chris Simon Goes to Russia
We'll miss ya Thugnation.
Well, that's what comes to mind as of right now. Look for more-frequent posts as free agency rolls along. We're only about 2 months or so from training camp. Also, don't be alarmed if I hijack this blog with a little Twins talk. Twins are on fiya, and suddenly the White Sox don't lose.
Oh, and my wife will be going into labor any...day...now...so look for more on that when I have news to share.
Monday, June 9, 2008
It's been a couple days, I suppose I should recognize the Detroit Red Wings as Stanley Cup champions. Ok...recognized.
Now to Wild off-season speculation. For the Wild, we already know Petteri Nummelin and Branko Radivojevic are for sure gone, going overseas to play this next season. Pavol Demitra is almost certainly gone, the rumors have him going to Vancouver. Kurtis Foster will most likely miss most if not all of next season. Will Brian Rolston be back? One thing is for sure, the Wild will look a bit different in October.
Can this team keep up with the rest of the conference and finish with home ice advantage? Can they figure out a way to fend off the improving Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and make the playoffs? Will Doug Risebrough try to imitate the Red Wings like he tried to imitate the Ducks, only to have it backfire in his face? Will the fans revolt if DR does not bring some talent in here?
Stay tuned...it's going to be interesting before the season starts. And thanks to the never ending playoffs, we have less than 4 months to wait until the puck drops again.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
This season just never ends. And now I find myself hoping the Finals go 7 games. I think I'm in the Wild Blogosphere minority when I say I hope the Pens win this series. For some reason, I really dislike the Red Wings. Perhaps it's because they always seem to beat the Wild by large margins. Maybe it's because they always win. Whatever the reason, I just hope they lose. Sorry Paul C.
I know there is a group of people out there that can't stand Sidney Crosby. Kirsten, my wife shares that dislike with you, much the way the both of you aren't Marian Gaborik's #1 fans. But to me, I'd rather see him win than the Red Wings.
I barely watched any of the 1st 2 games in Detroit. Detroit winning with the Pens not scoring didn't do anything for me. And the league muckity-mucks had to be gnashing their collective teeth at the thought of a Red Wings sweep. The "perfect series" was not drawing in any of those fringe fans the NHL so desperately wants. But, in ironic perfect timing when the coverage switched from Versus to NBC, the Pens showed up. Game 3 was alot of fun to watch. The soon-to-be melted Igloo was rocking, and the Pens were back in it. But when the Wings won game 4, I figured Detroit would win game 5 and it would be over.
Then there was game 5, an absolutely awesome hockey game. The NHL couldn't have scripted it any better. The Wings played an absolutely dominating 3rd period, scoring 2 goals in about 2:40 to take the lead, and not giving Pittsburgh a sniff. Malkin continued his Gaborik-like struggles in this series. Crosby couldn't make anything happen. But somehow, someway, the Pens put on some pressure with the goalie pulled and tied it on a rebound goal with 30 seconds to play. Joe Louis Arena was silenced. No Cup for you just yet "Hockeytown."
Then came the overtimes. Pittsburgh G Marc-Andre Fluery was stellar, and Petr Sykora won the game in the 3rd OT. Game 6 is Wednesday nite.
The league really got what it wanted last nite. About when alot of casual fans were turning on their local news or expecting Jay Leno, there was hockey. Good hockey. No TV-time out hockey. Apparently it was the highest-rated game 5 since 2002. All good for the game.
Let's hope game 6 isn't a dud.
Tonight, in co-ed softball, I did something I have never done in all my roughly 18 years playing softball. I've always been a doubles and lately singles (cause I'm gettin' old) hitter, even when I was in my formative teenage years. But tonite, the softball gods nodded to me, and I hit my 1st-ever over-the-fence homerun. Not only that, it was a walk-off HR to win the game in the bottom of the 8th. Now I realize no one reading this probably cares, but for me it's a big deal. Shout out to the Booyahs for rallying in the bottom of the 7th to tie it, and for sharing a moment with me that I won't forget...because it will most likely also be my last homerun. I don't expect my Nick Punto-like philosophy at the plate to change anytime soon.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Tonite Detroit finished off Dallas, and we're looking at a Cup Final between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguines. The series starts Saturday nite.
Just a quick shoutout to Dallas' season. I didn't expect them to make the conference finals this year, and the run may have rejuvineted that franchise at a time where they may have started to lose some fans. I was very impressed with their fans in the playoffs. One side of the lower level stood for the majority of the games, including the 4 OT marathon in game 6 v. the Sharks.
Detroit should run away with this series. They're playing excellent hockey. Pittsburgh is playing well too, so maybe I'm a bit too hasty with my quick judgement. But I think the Wings win. At any rate, I hope it is exciting. I didn't find much reason to watch much of the Conference Finals. I only caught bits and pieces of Wings v. Stars, and I'd like to be interested in this series.
The NHL gets Sidney Crosby in the Final, so that's good for the league supposedly. NBC will get to air more Penguins this season. And we're guaranteed that a traditional hockey city will win the Cup this year, breaking the string of 3 straight southern teams coming away with Lord Stanley.
And in Wild news, Thug Nation Numeral Uno will be playing in Russia next season. GREAT TRADE DEADLINE MOVE MR. REISBROUGH!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Since the Wild were eliminated, it's been tougher this year than others to get into the playoffs. That said, I did watch most of the Dallas/SJ 4 overtime game on Sunday. I watched most of the game, then 3 of the overtimes, and decided I can't stay awake through another intermission and who knows how much hockey. So I set the DVR and watched the 4th OT as I got ready for work. Thank goodness it ended when it did...I almost had to FFwd to the game winner. Incidentally, what a great game! Both goalies were stellar in the OTs, including an unbelievable save by Nabokov in the 1st (I think) OT. Congrats to the Stars for finishing the series and pulling another upset. And to Brendan Morrow...would love to have him on our team.
On to my thoughts about the finals...
Pittsburgh Penguins v. Philadelphia Flyers
It's been a pretty magical run for the Flyers. They've played tough in this playoff, beating Washington and then ousting #1 seeded Montreal. For the Pens, they've only lost 1 game so far in the playoffs, sweeping Ottawa and losing only 1 to the NY Rangers. This could be a good series. Can Philly's bruisers take it to Pitt's talented forwards? I think this will go long, and I think the Pens will outlast the Flyers. We know one thing...the state of Pennsylvania will have a team in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Detroit Red Wings v. Dallas Stars
Detroit had to work a little to get by Nashville in the 1st round, but had an easy go against Colorado. Dallas pulled upsets against teams from their own conference in both rounds, Anaheim and then San Jose. How will they do against a team from another conference, and one that has not had to play seemingly 50 periods of overtime hockey? I gotta say it's been fun watching Dallas overachieve, but I think Detroit's the better team here and is playing real well right now. Detroit wins...Sorry Matt.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
It's been a while since I last posted...so here's a recap of where the playoffs are at. Philadelphia has ousted Montreal. Detroit obliterated Colorado (typical). Pittsburgh is about to finish off New York Rangers, and San Jose has won the last 2 to make a series v. Dallas.
I can't say I've watched too much of the playoffs since the Wild lost, but I have picked up enough of Stars v. San Jose to know that that series could easily be San Jose up 3-2 or even already over in SJ's favor, or already over with Dallas winning. The games have been tight. Dallas has won 2 OT games, SJ has won 1. It has been the most competitive, which is why it was odd that Dallas was up 3-0. Dallas has another chance tonite to close this series out, but SJ has a bunch of momentum. Stars fans have to hope they haven't used up all their great play over the first month of the playoffs...
Pittsburgh also has a chance to close out the Rangers this afternoon, in Pittsburgh, on NBC. (What? the Pens and the Rangers are on NBC? That's so different!) I think this one is over today.
Philly is back in the Eastern Conference Finals, a year after accumulating only 22 wins in the entire season. Very impressive. Hey Wild!
Lastly, Detroit absolutely manhandled Colorado, sweeping a series that culminated in a 8-2 drubbing in Colorado. All-world against the Wild, Jose Theodore came back to earth, yanked 3 times in this series. In fairness, the Avs were hit with a bunch of injuries. Wild fans can sympathize there, but I'm not sure if I'm happy because Colorado was handled so easily, or more disappointed because it shows the Wild played down to their competition and simply lost to a team that they were better than.
The Conference Finals are setting up to be pretty exciting. We're getting down it!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Just what did the Wild do to annoy the hockey gods this year? In their 1st game after eliminating the Wild, the Avalanche are hit by a groin injury to Peter Forsberg, so he didn't play. And to add on, Jose Theodore returned to a mortal, giving up 4 goals on 16 shots.
Would it have been that bad for these things to happen in the previous series?
Thursday, April 24, 2008
1st Round Surprises
- Wild lose - I truly expected them to get past the 1st round.
- Dallas beat Anaheim - I didn't think the Stars had it in them.
- Jeremy Roenick was a factor - He had 2 goals and 2 assists in game 7 v. Calgary
- Boston took Montreal to 7 games.
1st Round As Planned
- New Jersey had nothin v. the Rangers.
- Washington was vulnerable as the 3rd seed in the east. Similar to the Wizzy.
Western Conference 2nd Round
#1 Detroit v. #6 Colorado
This is the big rivalry series from the late '90s and early '00s. Will it be as physical? Doubt it. Colorado proved they don't have to be physical to compete. I think this is where it ends for the Avs tho. Detroit should pull this one out.
#2 San Jose v. #5 Dallas
2nd matchup of the playoffs for Dallas against their division. This will be a great series. Mike Modano v. Jeremy Roenick. Evgeni Nabokov v. Marty Turco. I told people from the area I'd be pulling for Dallas, so that's my call.
Eastern Conference 2nd Round
#1 Montreal v. #6 Philadelphia
Montreal surprisingly took 7 games to get by Boston, but I think they're a better team than Philly.
#2 Pittsburgh v. #3 NY Rangers
This should be another great series. I don't trust the Rangers, but alot of people pick them to get to the Cup final. I'm going with the Pens.
Ode to a Dead Wild Season
Eh, maybe in a few days...
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Wild @ Avalanche - Western Conference Quarterfinals Game 6 - View from the Couch
Did the great Minnesota band (I use the term great loosely) Soul Asylum write that song for us Wild fans?
Wild season dead in Colorado tonite, after a 2-1 loss to the Avs in game 6. Avs take the series 4-2. There's not much to write about in the way of analysis on this one. Colorado scored 1st again, Wild tied it up in the 2nd, Colorado takes the lead again in the 2nd, and the Wild didn't have much of a sniff the rest of the game. They managed 35 shots, but it wasn't the same kind of near miss onslaught as in game 5. Most of the shots were from the perimeter, and Avs G Jose Theodore made the easy saves to finish up the series.
Marian Gaborik did finally get an assist with a nice pass to Aaron Voros for the lone Wild goal, but he was bottled up again tonite. No one else was able to step up and take charge, and the Avalanche move on to round 2.
I do have to shout out to Nick Schultz, who played tonite for the 1st time in the playoffs after his appendectomy. He gave what he had for the team, and that is why he is a stalwart on this team.
I will also give credit to the Avalanche, who led over 100 minutes in this series. The Wild only led just over 4 minutes. In the end their big stars were better than the Wild's big stars.
Fight to Bring the Cup to St. Paul
The Wild Marketing Team better not bring back "Fight to the End" as the slogan next time the Wild make the playoffs. Both years they used it, the Wild fizzled to the end and were out 1st round, and both times I didn't see much sense of fight. Matter of fact, Game 4, the game in which the Wild had 111 ridiculous penalty minutes, turned the momentum to the Avalanche and they never looked back. Thugnation cost us this series.
Honeymoon is Over
After their 2nd 1st round exit in a row, the tide has now officially turned in the Wild's fan base. It's been building, but you can expect the organization to start to feel the heat of not producing a winner. My heat is laserline-focused on GM Doug Risebrough. More to come in future posts on that topic.
Next on the Docket - Free Agency
Who did we see play their last game in a Wild sweater tonite? Brian Rolston? Pavol Demitra? Pierre-Marc Bouchard? Rolston was asked after the game about next year and his pending free agency, his answer...my time here in Minnesota was great, we'll see what happens next year...didn't sound much like someone that expected to be back. It could get nasty this summer.
More to Come
I'll still follow the Cup playoffs and this offseason is critical to the Wild, so keep an eye out for more posts. While the Wild flags will come down and the jerseys will go back in the closet for 6 months, remember we have a banner to hang next October, and another chance at bringing home the Cup.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Here's a little video and some pics from game 5, from section 209...
Pregame Video Part 1
Pregame Video Part 2
Pregame Video Part 3