Sunday, January 27, 2008

All-Star Weekend Recap

I thought the weekend's NHL All-Star festivities were pretty entertaining. Saturday night's Skills Competition was pretty entertaining. I like the new events they added. Here's a little recap of my thoughts...

Obstacle Course
It was good, but it needed to get a little more difficult - maybe less time to complete the course.

Fastest Skater
This year it was a straight sprint from the goal line to the opposite blue line. Personally, I liked the old version, a complete circle around the entire sheet of ice. Took longer to complete and had more skill due to crossover ability.

Elimination Shootout
The Elimination Shootout was your typical shootout, including Gabby not scoring. My only beef was Versus camera angle following the players. You couldn't really see what moves they were making.

Young Stars Game
This was the most-improved event. They went with 2 6-minute halves, running time, and 3 on 3. Made for a pretty exciting game, and the veteran goalies being miked up was pretty entertaining.

Accuracy Shooting
This wasn't changed much, except for a final 1 on 1 matchup to determine an overall winner. Made for some good drama. Tomas Kaberle hit a total of 8 targets on 9 shots. Very impressive.

Hardest Shot
Nothing changed here. Zdeno Charra won for the 2nd year in a row, with a shot of 103.1 MPH.

Breakaway Challenge
While this event got some mixed reviews in the media, I liked it alot. The first bunch of players either didn't get the concept, or they're not creative. The point of this event was to go in on the goalie and do whatever you wanted to try to score - no rules. The first to actually do something creative was Gabby. In case you didn't see it, he skated to the opposite goal line and got up his amazing speed before he picked up the puck at the center line. He skated in on Rick Dipietro and stopped about a foot in front of him. Dipietro went down thinking he was going to shoot, but Gabby skated behind the net and tried the wraparound. Dipeitro got his skate back just as Gabby was trying to tuck it in the side of the net, and kept it out. Had Gabby waited and lifted the puck, sure goal. It was a great move and a great save.

Ryan Getzlaf tried the old lacrosse-style move to pick up the puck and throw it (Gopher fans, think Michigan on Steve DeBus) and Alex Ovechkin tried the bounce the puck on your stick and toss it to bat it in, but neither were able to actually connect. On Ovechkin's last attempt, he tried the 360 after he threw it in the air. He missed the puck on the baseball swing, but it was enough to score big points from the judges, and he got the win.

I think this event will get better as the years go on. It'll be like the NBA's dunk competition. I think it will have a few really good years where the fans love it as the players try new things, but they'll run out of creative moves and it will die out. But for a few years, it should be alot of fun.

All-Star Game
Ah, the perfect situation for Marian Gaborik. A game of cherry-picking frivolity. Ironically enough, Gabby's only didn't come until the 3rd period on a pass from Henrik (or was it Daniel) Sedin from behind the net. It certainly wasn't of the breakaway-ilk. Ultimately, the East beat the West 8-7 on a timely and pretty goal by Marc Savard with about 20 seconds left. Somehow Eric Staal got the MVP and the new Dodge van-car-truck-looking car (or van, or truck...whatever it was) even though Rick Nash had a hat trick.

Once again the post-game provided the highlight of the night...Gabby and Dallas' Mike Riberio signing each other's jerseys. See the pic below. It was touching.

Next on the Docket - Ducks @ Wild - Wed Jan 30
Back to hockey that matters for the Wild on Wednesday. The Wild were beaten pretty soundly the last time the Ducks were at Xcel, and with more players not in the All-Star game they will be better rested. Watch this one on Versus with a special 6PM start. Wild 4 Ducks 3

Friday, January 25, 2008

On top at the Break!

Wild @ Avalanche - 01-24-08 - A View from my Recliner
Watched the game before I went in to work this morning. Beautiful presentation on HD Net. I'm glad I waited to watch this one.

Beauty win for the Wild against the Avs. As everyone knows by now, Wild win 3-2, with goals by Todd Fedoruk on a nice play with Demitra, Brian Rolston on a beauty of a slap shot, and Pavol Demitra on a rebound from a Foster shot.

Niklas Backstrom was pretty shaky at the start, giving up big rebounds and knocking one in off himself, but settled in to play a pretty nice game.

So the Wild go into the All-Star break one point up in the Northwest Division. Hopefully the team gets good rest and comes back ready to play next Wednesday v. Anaheim. I'd love to see us put some space between Vancouver, Calgary, and Colorado. One can hope.

  • Another goal against with #41 on the ice...(this was a request from JB)
  • Brian Rolston scored again - I am so a motivator!
  • Jordan Leopold actually plays hockey!
Next on the Docket - NHL Skills and All-Star Game - Sat and Sun in Atlanta
Marian Gaborik is participating in the breakaway relay for sure, probably not in the fastest skater so he doesn't blow his groin. The skills competition and All-Star Game is available on Versus (in HD), so make sure to look for it up the dial.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wild Programming Note

Tonight's game is on in the Twin Cities on channel 45. It is also available outside the metro area on HD Net; it'll be blacked out in the cities. However it is scheduled to be replayed on HD Net at 12:30 and that will not be blacked out. Because I am an HD rube I might not watch the 45 broadcast and wait/record the HD Net showing. This will delay my recap. Just an FYI for anyone that lives and breathes by my game recaps.

Also of note, my apologies to anyone that had problems posting comments to any articles recently. I had the moderate comments feature turned on, not really knowing what that meant. That goofiness is now turned off. Comment away!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Boo Flames

Wild @ Flames - 01-22-08 - A View from my Recliner
Wild lose 2-1 tonite at Calgary. Not many offensive chances tonite. Brian Rolston scored for the 2nd nite, so obviously he's out to prove me wrong...which is good. Brent Burns almost tied it on a shot that hit both posts, then dangled along the line and hit another post and drops into Kiprosof's glove. Homer Terharr almost busted a lung screaming that he scored. Not so much. Oh, and Dion Phaneuff broke a pane of glass with a shot twice in the 1st period. That's sweet!

The loss was disappointing, as they shut down Jerome Iginla, scored first, and got a nice game from Harding. Calgary's game-winner came from a nice backhander over the head of Harding by Craig Conroy. The Wild are now 3 and about 8 million at Calgary. In 7 years of Minnesota Wild hockey, they have only won at Calgary 3 times. does that happen? Must be the funny-shaped saddle-looking arena. Hence the name "Pengrowth Saddledome." I also am annoyed by the red hue that the ice turns after a Flames goal because of all the red lights in the arena. Ish.

I was just about to finish this cute little article up, but I have to pass this along. I have the FSN post-game show on. They're recapping the emmy award winning faceoff bit and the question is who is the best Canadian band/performer. Greenlay goes with Rush, Gorg goes with Shania Twain. Gorg wins the vote and is talking all tough like it means something...and Greenlay says, "Kevin, you must feel like a woman then." Gorg replies, "Well, if I look like her I'll be just fine."

Are you kidding me? I just threw up in my mouth.

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Colorado Avalanche - Thurs 1-24
Last game before the All-Star break. I really don't know how to call this one, so I'll Terharr it and call a Wild win. Worked out great for the Calgary game. Wild 5 Avs 2

Monday, January 21, 2008

Beating the Canucks Sure is Fun

Wild @ Canucks - 01-21-08 - A View from my Recliner behind my Laptop
Doing some work tonight during tonite's game, so I would look up when I heard Terharr get whooped up about something. It appears once again I am a motivator, as Brian Rolston scored a goal after I called him out in my last game recap. Clearly the team reads my blog and posts it on the bulletin board in the locker room.

Pretty entertaining game tonite. Even though it wasn't particularly high-scoring, it was particularly back and forth with alot of scoring chances both ways. It was high-intensity too, with the crowd into it after PMB's go-ahead goal in the 2nd, upset about a high-sticking non-call on Burns right before it. But my favorite was Koivu's goal in the 3rd to put it out of reach. As he skates by the Canuck bench he let out a loud yell into their ears, quite possibly releasing some frustration from the Ohlund hit that put him on the disabled list. Honorable mention to PMB's empty net goal about 5 seconds after the Canucks got it to a one goal game with 30 seconds left. Quieted the crowd quite nicely.

Everyone played a good intense game tonite. I really can't think of anyone that I would call out from this one. The goals came from Brian Rolston, two from Pierre Marc-Bouchard, and Mikko Koivu - three guys that need to keep scoring for the Wild to put a run together post All-Star break. They were strong defensively too, clearing out most rebounds from in front of Backstrom.

  • The Canucks still have not won this year when trailing after two periods
  • Nicklas Backstrom still has not lost when leading after two.
  • The Wild started the day 7th in the Western Conference, just three points from 9th. After tonight, we're back up to 3rd in the conference, but only 5 points ahead of 3 teams tied for 9th. Sure would be nice to win these next two before the All-Star break.
Next on the Docket - Wild @ Flames Tues 1-22-08
The Wild travel to Calgary tomorrow for the second of this back-to-back. The Wild have done pretty well in the second night of back-to-backs this season, and they've got some revenge to exact on the Flames from last week's shootout loss. I'm going to ride that train to a Wild win. If only there was no Jerome Iginla...Wild 4 Flames 3

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Favre Out!

Woot! Packers lose! Kicker finally makes a kick and Favre goes home a crabby old man!

Friday, January 18, 2008


Ducks @ Wild 1-18-08 - A View from Section 216
Maybe the Wild are saving their best hockey against teams that are better than them for the playoffs. After tonight's game, it appears the Ducks are markedly better, now that Niedermayer is back. The Wild lose 4-2 tonight, thanks in large part to Todd Bertuzzi and another lackluster first 30 minutes from the Wild.

Things just didn't click for the Wild early. They had very few chances in the 1st period-and-a-half and were pretty well dominated. Two goals in a 14-second span midway through the 2nd lit a fire under the Wild. Captain Schultzie got his 1st goal of the year and Koivu snuck a slapshot by Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller from the blueline. Brian Rolston had a slapper ring the post that would have tied the game. The Wild finished out the 2nd and started the 3rd with a flurry, and had a couple power-play chances but couldn't tie it up. Bertuzzi put the nail in the coffin, and the Ducks played a stifling defensive game after that. The Wizzy could barely get the puck into the offensive zone.


  • Bertuzzi had 2 goals and an assist, and was largely responsible for the other Duck goal. He was planted in front of Josh Harding for a good 30 seconds while the Ducks were on a 5 on 3, and Pronger fired a shot by a screened Harding. Clearly the crowd's mediocre booing when he got the puck didn't affect him.
  • Gabby blew up at the line judge after he was whistled offside during a 2 on 1 with with Demo. Not sure what he said, but he got a quick misconduct penalty. I might give him props for being emotional and showing fire, but he did it for himself. If he did the same thing for his teammates, then I'd be very happy.
  • Derek Boogard was back in the lineup tonite. He played pretty ok, throwning his weight around and jawing with the Ducks, and not being too much of an offensive liability.
  • The crowd was pretty good tonite. Got on the refs when it was necessary (which was a few times tonite) and tried to keep on Bertuzzi. Section 216 was especially riled up. Only problem I have is with all the "Boogie" chants. I just don't think he has much place on this team now with Voros and Fedoruk. They both have more offensive skill, are better skaters, and I just don't understand the facination with Boogie.
  • So much for that Rolston - Demitra - Bouchard line I liked so much. Tonight Belanger was back with Roli and PMB. Speaking of, WHERE IS BRIAN ROLSTON???
  • I finally got my wife out to Cosetta's on W. 7th before the game; my second time. Goodness their pizza is good! For anyone that hasn't made a stop there before a Wild game, get there early to avoid the line, and make sure you walk the Italian market. It's a great experience.
  • The walk from the X to the parking ramp was cold tonight!
Next on the Docket - Wild @ Vancouver Canucks - Monday Jan 21
Couple days off for the Wizzy before a late game in Vancouver Monday nite. This will be a big showdown between the current top teams in the Northwest. The Wild need to show up from the beginning in this one if they want to keep pace. I think the Wild are in another of their downslides they get after an upclimb, so I'm going with the Canucks. Canucks 4 Wild 3

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

That Darn Iginla

Flames @ Wild 1-16-08 - A View from My Recliner
Seriously. I HATE Jerome Iginla. Whether it's real hockey against the Wild or NHL 08 against some 12-year old kid in Canada, Iginla always does me in. And every time it happens I declare that I hate him. Sure wish the Wild would sign him.

Tonight he did it again, scoring the game clincher in the shootout to seal a 3-2 win for the Flames over the Wild. It was a good defensive game early. Both teams were able to break through. Tonight's Wild goals came from defensemen, Burnsie and Foster. Foster's goal was on an absolute rope. Most important thing I guess is the Wild were able to at least come away with a point, and will stay in a tie for 1st in the Northwest Division.

  • I like Demitra on the Rolston - PMB line. They were able to come up with some nifty chances tonight. I think he made PMB better and they'll click eventually.
  • I was surprised that Rolston went with the slapper on the shootout chance. He'd beaten Kiprusoff last year in a penalty shot with the slapper and the Flames shooter before him went with the slapper, almost seemingly to psych him out. I thought he might go to his little deke to the backhand 5-hole he does from time to time. Tonight, the slapper missed the net.
  • This was a strangely officiated game. There were multiple calls I thought could have been made and the quick whistle at the end of the 2nd when Backstrom was juggling the puck which should have resulted in a goal for Calgary.
  • Is Voros going to fight in every game the rest of the way? Tonight it was grandpa Owen Nolan. Nolan won.
  • Gabby sure is playing confidently these days. He has shown that he can take hits and stay on the puck. As long as he doesn't get depressed he didn't score; at least he got an assist on Burns' goal...
  • Branco Radio played a nice game after being scratched the last couple. He had a golden opportunity in the 3rd when a Flames defensemen pulled a Skoula and gave him the puck, he just couldn't beat Kippie.

Next on the Docket - Wild v. Aneheim Ducks Fri 1-18-08
My wife and I will be in section 216 for this tilt. It'll be the first time the Ducks have been to the X since last April's playoffs, so it should be a good crowd. The Wizzy have played the Ducks strong this year, but they have Niedermayer back from pseudo retirement, and they're playing well. It should be a good game. Wild 3 Ducks 2

Monday, January 14, 2008

2-fer-1 in St. Paul

Coyotes @ Wild - 1-13-08 - A View from Farther Down in Section 216
Delayed recap of Sunday's Coyotes/Wild game at Xcel. Dad and I were able to score tickets in section 216 in row 1. Row 1 in the upper level sides are different. It's very nice that there's no one in front of you, but right in front of you instead of another row of fans is a short wall. It kind of gives you an enclosed feeling that was sort of uncomfortable. That said, the sight lines were great!

Just a quick recap on this one. The 1st period was scoreless and wasn't too exciting. The Wild jumped out to a nice 3-0 lead in the 2nd, and added another in the 3rd. Goals from Demitra, Sheppard, Belanger, and Gaborik (on a beauty criss-cross move with Demo). Josh Harding played another great game, coming within 5 minutes of a shutout for a 4-1 final. Keep it up kid.

Mikko Koivu
Usually we hear the checking line announced in the starting lineup. On Sunday we surprisingly heard Rolston, Parrish, and Koivu. I'm guessing that was because it was Mikko's first home game since he's been back, and Jacques wanted him to hear the crowd. He got a nice ovation, and he had a very nice game. His stickhandling was truly fun to watch, as he'd maneuver between Coyotes defenders, keeping the puck and setting up a play. Welcome back Mikko.

Ilya Bryzgalov
I know nothing of the personality of Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. However, I am going to go ahead and call him out as a dink. Only because during TV timeouts when the ice guys came out to clean his crease, he would skate back and forth between the boards. When he got to the crease, he didn't just go around and let the ice guys go about their business. He skated right through the crease, and the ice guys had to stop their scraping until he went through. He went through at least 3 times each TV time out. He might be a nice guy, and goalies are weird with their superstitions, but it angered me. And Dad said if it were him cleaning the ice he'd stick him with the scoop shovel. =)

Midwest Sports Show
The reason Dad and I went to this game was Dad wanted to go to the Sports Show. I, being the ultimate two-fer-one opportunity seizer, suggested we do it Sunday and try to get tix for the Wild game. While I do enjoy going to the Sports Show for the purpose of getting excited for summer, camping, fishing, and the rest, the Sports Show seems to be losing it's lustre. I remember when I was a kid there were many more booths from vacation spots in MN. Now there are mostly booths from Canada resorts. Just seems to be different. I'm never going to be able to afford the elaborate campers and boats on display, so for me it's all about the vibe. We only spent about an hour at the show...but that gave us time to eat at the Iron Range Grill before the game!

Next on the Docket - Wild v. Calgary Flames Wed 1-16-08
Calgary just signed Old Man Curtis Joseph to back up Mikka Kipprosof. That won't have an impact on the outcome of this game, however. I expect Kipprosof to play, and the Wild struggle against him and the Flames. I'm going with Calgary. Flames 3 Wild 1

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Wild Winds in Chicago

Wild @ Blackhawks - 1-11-08 - An In and Out View from my Home Office
I was in an out of tonite's game as I had some work stuff to tidy up. It was a beauty offensive explosion in the 2nd, with the Wild scoring 3 times to take control of the game. Gabby continuted his hot hand with 2 goals, one on a sick wrister that Khabiboulin had no idea, Parrish scored again on almost the same one-timer he had in the famous Skoula flub game, and Josh Harding was absolutely stellar in the 3rd. Great way to finish off the road trip after a terrible start.

I'm gonna say it for about the 600th time this year, maybe now we'll get on a streak...

I am really pulling for Josh Harding to keep playing well. I like the kid alot. In the games he plays well in he really makes some great stops. The kind of flashy stops that Backstrom just doesn't make. The kind that I think you need to go far into the playoffs. You can say that Backstrom doesn't need to make those stops because he's so positionally sound, but I don't think there's any question that Harding is the goalie of the future for this team. I think he's going to get better the more he plays and we might just have an all-star goalie on our team.

Next on the Docket - Wild v. Phoenix Coyotes 1-13-08
My dad and I may be going to this game if we can score some tickets, so hopefully I'll be viewing it from the X. I look for the Wild to continue playing strong and to win the 3rd in a row. We're a better team than Phoenix and it should come out that way at home. I'm calling a shutout. Wild 3 Coyotes 0

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wings of Change

Wild @ Red Wings 1-10-08 - A View from Someone Else's House
What a day in the State of Hockey. The team was sold, Gabby was named to the All-Star Team, Dominic Moore was placed on waivers to make room for Mikko Koivu, and the Wizzy played a wild game in Detroit. After blowing leads of 1-0, 3-1, and 4-2, they gave up the probable go-ahead goal with 1:08 left in the 3rd, but Eric Belanger scored just 19 seconds later with the goalie pulled to force overtime. Oh, and then we went to a shootout. Gabby scored his first ever shootout goal for a 6-5 Wild win. I'm tired.

The Sale
Bob Neagle selling his majority interest in the Wild to Racine Wisconsin's Craig Leipold sort of took most everyone by surprise. There had been rumblings. Lou Nanne had talked about the possibility on his weekly appearance with KFAN's Dan Barreiro. But I don't think many people felt it was this close. I certainly didn't. Craig Leipold is the former owner of the Nashville Predators and appears to be a hockey fan at heart. The league respects him, and that should bode well for the Wizzy overall. Leipold was on with Barreiro this afternoon (podcastable on I don't sense anything funny in this deal - seems to just be an owner who was ready to sell for a nice profit and another hockey guy who wanted to get back in the league.

The Game
5 goals (+2 in the shootout) against the Wings was a nice surprise. 5 different goal scorers - Skoula, Gaborik, Fedoruk, Foy, and Belanger. Gabby had a very strong game with a goal and 2 assists plus the shootout winner. Backstrom was pretty shaky again, but Harding came in in the 2nd period and played a great game. He made a number of point blank saves keeping the Wild in it. He was also strong in the shootout, stopping Zetterburg on his signature deke and sweeping backhand.

Rolston scored in the shootout on his patented slapper from between the circles. Osgood guessed the wrong side, and looked silly. Gabby then won it with a nice deke and five-hole goal.

  • How weird must it have been for Moore to play in tonight's game. Being placed on waivers today means he'll either be claimed by another team or will be assigned to Houston. Knowing it will be his last in a Wild sweater for at least a while must have been a strange feeling.
  • Foy played a pretty good game considering he never cracks the lineup. He played his typical fiesty game.
  • The Wild's PP is up to 5th in the NHL!
  • Gaborik will be the Wild's only representation in the All-Star Game in Atlanta.
  • Detroit is good. But they appear to be losing some fanbase in Detroit. There were a good number of empty seats at the Joe.
  • Skoula's goal came in the 1st, pinching on a nice feed from Gabby. Give him some props for that.
  • Not only did Sweet Lou from the Soo correctly predict the Wild would be sold to Leipold, he also said that the Washington Capitals would sign Alex Ovechkin. Did they ever. The two parties agreed to a 13-year, $124 million deal, the first ever $100 million deal in the NHL. Ovechkin may be worth it, but a 13 year contract? Ever hear of career-ending injuries?

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Chicago Blackhawks (Fri 1-11-08)
The Wizzy have always had the Hawks number, and I think it continues here. We should see a boost from tonite's win and the return of Mikko Koivu. Wild 4 Hawks 2

Monday, January 7, 2008

Here we go Meandering all through this Difficult Roadtrip

Wild @ Stars (1-7-08) - A View from my Recliner
Game 2 of a treacherous road trip was more of the same. Not enough offense and not enough outstanding goaltending to keep the Wild in it. Dallas wins 3-1 (BTW, I nailed this prediction, see my last post) Monday nite in Dallas. Backstrom let in a goal from just inside the blue line, the Wild defense was running around for another, and the Wilds heavy hitters were once again held in check. Unless we find our game somewhere between Detroit and Chicago we're going 0-4 on this road trip.

For those of you that haven't heard the story about Matt Niskanen and his car, Niskanen has been driving his '01 pontiac sunfire he drove in college at UMD around Dallas since he made the team. He didn't expect to make the team so he didn't buy a new car. He calls it "his girl" and refuses to buy a new car. Before his 21st bday in early December, some of the Stars players stole the car and had it pimped out - new black and gold paint job, Stars logos, a green "5" on the side, "Nisky" on the back. Then they gave it back to him on his bday at practice and are making him drive it around Dallas before he auctions it off and finally buys a new car.

Here are some pics of the car. It's pretty funny seeing this sunfire all Dallas Starsed out with Minnesota license plates. Especially funny for me since I drove a sunfire for 6 years.

  • Kurtis Foster was back in the lineup tonite. So was Skoula.
  • Marty Turco played a much stronger in net for Dallas tonite than he did back in St. Paul last Thursday.
  • Niskanen leads the Stars with a +12, er, make that a +16 after tonight, in his rookie season. The Wild's top +/- is PMB with +8.
  • Mark Parrish scored again for the Wild.
  • The American Airlines Center crowd came across as pretty loud and into the game on TV. Props out to Dan and Jill (part of the fam) who were at the game. I envision Jill was loud and Dan was mentally into the game. =)
  • Where is Brian Rolston?

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Detroit Red Wings (Thurs 1-10)
The Wild have not been good against Detroit this year, and I have no reason to think this game will be any different. On a positive note, this game is available on FSN-HD. Wings 4 Wild 2

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Don't Like It, Can't Stand It, Don't want no More of It

Wild @ Predators (1-5-08) - A View from my Couch
Every time we play at Nashville, I dread hearing Nashville's Tim McGraw goal song. "I like it, I love it, I want some more of it." Makes me throw up in my mouth. Well, we got to hear Tim four times, as the Wild gave up 3 goals in the first and were unable to make the comeback. All things considered, it was a pretty fun game to watch, especially with a very up and down 2nd period. Mark Parrish scored again thanks to a nice pass from Stephane Veilleux, who had a pretty good game. After the goal, both teams had long opportunities in each other's zone thanks to good forechecking, but the Wild couldn't get any closer. If I have to watch a 3-goal Wild loss I guess it could have been worse.

Tough TV Sports Day @ My House
  • USA lost to Russia in the World Junior Championships. They didn't even medal after winning their first 4 games. Seems every US national team underacheives. Incidentally, Canada won their 4th WJC in a row.
  • I spent $6 to watch tUMD Bulldogs get shutout by Bemidji State. 2.5 hours I'll never get back.
  • The Wild lost.
  • The Steelers lost to the Jaguars. Not really a a big deal, but I like Mike Tomlin. Well, I guess I like Jack Del Rio too, so who cares?
  • Now I'm watching Tubby Gopher hoops @ Michigan State on the DVR. I don't expect to see a win here either.
  • I'll have to play some NHL 08 over Xbox Live to go to bed feeling better about myself. Assuming I can win a game.

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Dallas Stars (Mon 1-7-08)
3rd game against Dallas since Christmas. The way the last two games went I'd like to say this is rekindling the rivalry, but I think it'll take a playoff series to make that happen. (How fun would that be?) The Wizzy need to bounce back but Dallas needs it more. They've lost their last 4 including being shutout by Detroit today. I have a sneaky feeling Dallas wins. Dallas 3, Wild 1

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Scracth a Skoula, Dominate the Stars

Wild v. Stars (1-3-08) - A View from Section 216
In a move I did not anticipate, Jacques scratched Skoula for tonight's game. Given all the heat both Skoula and Lemaire (for his backing of Skoula) have taken the past two days, I fully expected Skoula to be in the lineup. If anything, because Jacques knows better than all of us and he's going to prove it to us that Skoula is good. Well, when I didn't see him out for warmups, I thought maybe...but maybe I just missed him. Then a cheer went up from the crowd as he was announced as a scratch. Color me surprised.

Big 1st Period, Hold on to Win
The Wild turned a poor performance from Marty Turco in the 1st period into to a 6-3 dubaya. All the major players were heard from tonight with 2 goals from Gabby and 1 each for Pav, PMB, Belanger, and Parrish. Gabby got things started by absolutely blowing by the Dallas defenseman from center ice shorthanded, flipping the puck over a weird pokecheck attempt by Turco. They kept coming in the first, and everything seemed well in hand. They got another goal on the PP in the 2nd, but then had a little defensive lapse and allowed Dallas to cut it to 5-3 with two straight goals. The third was kind of a get-thru-it period, and Parrish put it out of reach with a net-crashing goal.

  • The crowd was a tish subdued tonite. Must have been the holiday hangover.
  • Tonight's attendance is 18,568. You are the greatest hockey fans in the world!
  • Captain Schultzie had a strong game. Maybe it was because I was looking for him tonite, but he really impressed me with his aggressiveness and heady play.
  • I watched warmups from the glass, which I haven't done for a few years. All the Wild players wear their helmets. Seemed like half of the Stars do not. Mike Modano's hair waves gracefully in the wind during warmups, like a Suave shampoo commercial. Mike Riberio's hair looks like he's been playing too much Guitar Hero. Here's some pics on Flickr.
  • Dallas' 3rd goal was scored by Virginia MN native and former UMD Bulldog Matt Niskanen, and he got a nice cheer from what was believed to be two busloads of friends and relatives.
  • Mark Parrish has 3 goals in the last 4 games. Another example of breaking out of a scoring slump with a milestone goal (his 200th Dec 27th) and going on a scoring streak.
  • Fights in the NHL do nothing for me anymore. With the new tighter-fitting jerseys, the players can't get any good punches in. Both Voros and Fedoruk were in long fights tonight that were closer to Dancing with the Stars.
Next on the Docket - Wild v. Predators @ the venue formerly known as the Gaylord Entertainment Center
The Wild embark on a four-game road trip, and Nashville is the weakest team of the four. It would behoove them to win this game. Wild 2 Preds 1, OT

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Frybread Hockey

We have a tradition in our family (actually I joined the tradition when I got married) of having frybread on New Years Day. It has become one of my favorite days. Usually we'll have frybread and watch meaningless college bowl games that my wife tires of after about 10 minutes. This year it was frybread and hockey watching the Winter Classic.

While I can't say it was a family afternoon of bonding, I truly enjoyed watching the outdoor game in Buffalo while my wife and her mom were busy taking down Christmas decorations. It was snowing at the beginning of the game, sleeting midway, and snowing again at the end. There was snow on the ice, wind in the player's faces, and weather reports throughout the broadcast. It made for a surreal afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect. Even having to watch the Penguins like every other nationally-televised game was not annoying, as they appeared as a different team in baby blue jerseys. It couldn't have been more perfect. Darren Pang and Mike Emmerick, toques, and a shootout with Sidney Crosby winning it on a pretty snow-plow deke. The fans in Buffalo were absolutely awesome, and I realized that even though we in Minnesota like to pride ourselves on the outside hockey experience, we could never pull off putting 75,000 outside to watch an NHL hockey game in 25 degree weather and snow. Metrodome has made us soft.

I can only hope that the NHL was able to pick up a few fringe viewers they so desperately need - the channel surfers that might just get attracted to the game when they see hockey in the snow. The one drawback was the long stoppages to clean the ice and many viewers just may have checked out and gone back to football. I only hope they came back to share in at part of my New Years Day bliss.

Trust me on the frybread.