Friday, February 29, 2008

Clutch Win

Wild @ Panthers - 2-29-08 - A View from the Couch

Nice 3-2 Wild win tonite at Florida. Koivu, Burns, and Vellieux with the goals. Wild played a very strong game, dominating early and hanging on at the end. Although the final was only 3-2, they narrowly missed a handful of times in the 1st. The game was pretty noneventful, and that's exactly what you want against a bad team like Florida.


  • The Wild are rotating their 3 centers since we are short a few. Seems to be working pretty well. Belanger, Shepard, and Koivu are having nice runs over the last couple games.
  • How good did the powerplay look tonite? They moved it around beautifully, got a handful of chances, and Burnsie buried one from the left circle.
  • Although it was against a couple bad teams in the East, the Wild at the very least have regained some confidence. They're scoring again, and it should carry over next week when they get LA and Chicago. Two more games they should win. I think they've put that bad stretch from last week behind them.
  • Backstrom is playing well again in net. He was in perfect position all nite, and he's not giving up big rebounds anymore. I think Jacques keeps playing him to keep up his confidence, and it seems to be paying off. I feel much better about his game lately.

Fight to hang the 1st Banner

Wild pick up 2 points. Anaheim beat Calgary 3-1 so that gives us a 2 point lead again in the Northwest. Columbus scored 2 goals in the 3rd to get Vancouver to OT, then won in the shootout. So Vancouver gets a point and they're 3 points back.

Next on the Docket - Kings @ Wild - 3-2-08

Another should win. Should wins sometimes turn out bad, but I think we'll be ok against the Kings. Watch Patrick O'Sullivan for the Kings. He's the prospect we gave up for Pavol Demitra. He's pretty solid for LA. I'm callin for a shutout. Wild 2 Kings 0

College Hockey Shout

Big college hockey weekend at our house, as North Dakota travels to Duluth. My wife and mother in law are from Grand Forks, and I went to UMD, so it'll be a fun time. Saturday and Sunday afternoon games, so we'll be purchasing the games and watching them online at GO DOGS!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

President's Cup Drama

I'm gonna make a bold prediction. Tonight I watched Blackhawks v. Stars on HD Net. I realize this was the 1st game with Brad Richards, but that's why I think they'll catch them. Richards had 4 assists, and they were all skill plays. Three of the assists were on goals by Niklas Hagman. They were all pretty passes, looked like he'd been playing with them all season. They're only going to get better. Dallas is up 6-3 at time of this post.

Dallas is going to pass Detroit for the President's Cup (best regular season record). With a win tonite Dallas will be 3 pts back of Detroit. The only chink in this predicition is that Detroit has 3 games in hand, but they are 1-7-2 in their last 10 games (and they're old). Dallas is 8-2-0.

So Matt in TX, I think you're team is sittin' pretty.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Aaaaah, There is the Heart

Wild @ Lightning - 2-27-08 - A View from the Couch
Gutty 3-2 W for the Wild tonite. Could be the biggest win of the year in terms of confidence and timing. I was worried when I saw newly-aquired G Mike Smith in net for Tampa Bay, as he shut out the Wild earlier in the year, but the Wizzy played a solid game defensively, got a great game from G Niklas Backstrom, and threw in some strong driving to the net offense to get a couple goals. Goals came from Pierre-Marc Bouchard or Todd Fedoruk depending if they change the scoring, Pavol Demitra, and Brian Rolston. PMB's and Rolston's goals came on the powerplay. I think this one will go a long way towards regaining the confidence they had a week and a half ago.

  • Thug Nation did nothing on a line with Todd Fedoruk and a couple different centers. Don't like that dynamic.
  • Mikko Koivu was out most of the nite with Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra. Demo has mentioned in the past that he likes Koivu the best between them. They had some decent chances, and Demo scored off a nice pass from Koivu.
  • Tough to expect Eric Belanger to score on a line with Branco Radivojevic and Stephane Veilleux. Also, with how much I've been down on Belanger lately, he's one point shy of his career high. I'll back off a bit...but I'd still like him to produce like he did early in the year.
  • I'm not impressed with the recent play of Keith Carney or Sean Hill. One of Tampa Bay's goals tonite came when Carney was muscled off the puck behind the net.
  • Wild took way too many penalties tonite. Obviously tired out the penalty killers and took time from the other skaters.
  • It was nice watching the game tonite. My wife and I saw a game at St. Pete Times Forum last spring. It's an ugly, dingy arena and your feet stick to the cement when you walk, but the fans have a good time.
Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
The win brings the Wild into a tie with Calgary for 1st in the Northwest. Calgary is off tonite so both teams have played 64 games. So with 18 to go, we'll see where it goes. Friday Wild is at Florida, Calgary is in Anaheim.

Vancouver leasds Colorado 1-0 in the 2nd at the time of this post. If you read this in time, the game is available on NHL Network in the US. Former UMD Bulldog Mason Raymond has the goal for the Canucks. Adam Foote, Joe Sakic, and Paul Stastney are all in the lineup for Colorado. No Forsberg tho. Colorado is 2 points behind Vancouver for the last playoff spot in the West, so it's a big game.

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Panthers - Fri 2-29-08
In a game where we can watch the love we lost in Olli Jokinen (he was rumored to be coming to the Wild at the trade deadline), the Wild need to close out the road trip strong against another bad team. I look for a 2nd win in a row. Wild 4 Panthers 1

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Where's the Heart?

Wild @ Capitals - 2-26-08 - A View from the Recliner
Remember what I wrote about Sunday's game? Ok, flip it around, make it negative, and that's my post for this game. Caps win 4-1. Wizzy showed no signs of life except for the early parts of the 2nd period. Defense was bad, offense was bad, goaltending was bad. Ovechkin didn't even score. Wild need help. Maybe it'll come from thug-nation Chris Simon. Great trade deadline strategy. Ick.

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
Flames and Avalanche are tied 1-1 in the 1st. Seriously, this one can't end well. If the Flames win, we're 3 points out of 1st. If the Avs win, they inch closer to a playoff spot, one that could possibly supplant the Wild. Negativity all around.

What's a Trade?
What's it like to make a big trade deadline deal? Wild fans don't know. Most of the other teams in the West do. Dallas picks up Brad Richards - that's huge. Colorado gets Adam Foote to reunite one of the glory teams of years past. Foote will join Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic coming off injury, along with Paul Stastny. Wizzy better watch out. Must be why they picked up Mr. Suspension Chris Simon. Can you tell I hate that move?

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Lightning - Wed 2-27-08
Wild need to find it against the Lightning. They're bad. They just traded Brad Richards. A loss would send the Wild's confidence even lower than it is now. Drive to the net, quit trying to be fancy, and score some goals. Wild 2 Lightning 1

If we lose, I'm scared for the ugliness of my post tomorrow nite.

Monday, February 25, 2008

That was So a Goal!

Flames @ Wild - 2-24-08 - A View from Section 216
Apologies for the lateness of this post. Been a busy few days. So my wife and I were at Sunday's game, a 2-1 loss to Calgary. This one had all the makings of the playoffs. Fighting to stay atop the division after only a week ago being 6 points up.

Honestly, I'm not too worried. The Wild absoultely dominated the Flames in this one. They outshot them like 39-16 or something like that. They had a goal disallowed that ABSOLUTELY SHOULD HAVE BEEN A GOAL. They carried the play for most of the game, and the two goals Calgary got weren't exactly because of sustained pressure. I gotta believe that if the Wild continue to play that way things will right themselves and we will find them back atop the Northwest when it matters most.

The Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
Everyone knows this game was for the lead in the NW. So now the Flames lead by 1 point, Wild in 2nd, and Vancouver 1 point back of the Wild. Calgary and Vancouver have won 4 in a row, Wild have lost 3 in a row. That's why I think it all works itself out.

  • Seriously, that was a goal. The explaination of the Kipprosof not being able to play the puck was bunk, and even if he couldn't, it was his own guy running in to him.
  • Had that goal gone in, or had Brian Rolston's laser shot on the PP as the 2nd period expired gone in, we'd be singing a different tune today.
  • Shoddy officiating all nite.
  • The crowd was awesome. They actually showed replay of the goal (I mean non-goal) on the video board alot, and every time the crowed booed lustily. All 18,568 stood and cheered for multiple motivational movie clips, unfortunately to no avail.
  • One of the highlights of the night for me was during the 2nd intermission. The guy who runs the little games over the PA was calling the little kid race where they put on the oversized equipment. Anyways, the end of the race the kids have to shoot the puck in the net. As the last girl puts it in he says, "I don't know if that was a goal, but we're not even going to review it." An obvious dig at the goal (I mean non-goal). Good stuff.
Next on the Docket - Wild @ Capitals - Tues 2-26-08
Wild gets back in the win column against Washington. I've seen enough of their games on TV to know that Alex Ovechkin is their team, and the Wild are good at shutting down teams with 1 superstar. Oh, and this one is on Versus in HD. So watch it. Wild 4 Caps 1

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sunday - It's On

Calgary beat Detroit 1-0 Sunday's game at the X is for the lead in the Northwest. Will the Wizzy wither away or stand and defend?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Wild @ Blackhawks - 2-20-08 - A Elapsed View from the Home Office
I was thouroughly bored with tonight's game. Started watching it a little late while doin some work. Wound up fast-forwarding through it. Not much sign of life from the Wild.

Oh, Hawks 3 Wild 0. So that's no good. I'll read the game reports later to see if I missed anything that showed the Wild had a pulse...but for now that's my game report.

The Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
No points for the Wizzy, Calgary beats Dallas 3-2. Colorado currently tied 1-1 with Anaheim. So the lead in the Northwest drops to 3 pts over Calgary and stays at 5 pts over Vancouver. It's time to stop the bleeding with a win over Calgary on Sunday.

Next on the Docket - Flames @ Wild - Sun 2-24-08
Long time off for the Wild to think about what's happened the last 2 games and for coach Jacques to light them up. If Calgary beats Detroit on Friday they will be coming into town with a chance to take the lead in the Northwest. That's bad. Since the Wild have been streaky, I'm going to say we'll lose this one. Oh, and I'll be in section 216. Flames 3 Wild 1

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Aaaaah, Belanger Scores

Canucks @ Wild - 2-19-08 - A Delayed View from My Recliner
I'm tired, so this will be short and to the point. Wild give up another 3rd peirod lead and lose 3-2 in OT. They were outshot by almost double, but scored 2 power play goals to get the lead. Then they gave up that lead and Daniel Sedin scored with 1:42 left in the OT. Disappointing to give up the W, but lucky to get a point in this one.

  • Congrats to Mark Parrish and his wife. Their first child was born this morning, a girl. Parrish played in tonight's game, and I have no idea how he could possibly concentrate on hockey. My mind would not be on hockey. Closed-circuit to those I work with - I will not be in the office the day my first child is born.
  • Eric Belanger finally broke his 13-game scoring draught. He knocked in a rebound on the PP. His reaction and the reaction from Rolston and the others on the ice was of "there you go buddy, you're back now." It is obviously on his mind. During the post-game show Marney Gellnar asked him about his goal and if it will break him out of his draught, and he said "Thanks for reminding me." Keep on keepin on 25.
  • Wild G Niklas Backstrom had a strong game. He made a couple excellent acrobatic stops tonite, which are not his style. I don't fault him on any of the 3 Canuck goals
  • Alot of jawing back and forth between both teams. Mikko Koivu was especially vocal as he has been v. Vancouver since he got back. He clearly gets fired up to play the Canucks after the slash earlier this year.
  • Absolutely excellent puck possession by the Wild on the PP to close out regulation. They had all the motmentum but couldn't get the game winner. Many times the Wild worked hard to keep the puck in the zone and Canucks G Roberto Luongo made great saves to get Vancouver into OT. If only they could have gotten one by him.
  • Make sure you read the post prior to this one for a recap of Buffalo v. St. Cloud Tech. It was a heckuva game.
The Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
Vancouver picks up 2 points, Wild gets 1 for getting to OT. Calgary beat Phoenix 4-1. Colorado was off, so the Wild's lead in the Northwest drops to 5 over Vancouver and Calgary and expands to 8 over Colorado. The Avs are dangerously close to dropping out of the Western Conference playoff picture all together.

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Blackhawks - Wed 2-20-08
2nd games of back-to-backs are always dicey but the Wizzy have been pretty good in them this season. The 'Hawks will also be on the 2nd of a back to back, losing to St. Louis tonite 5-1. Wild will need to need to score a few to beat them. Maybe they should try outshooting them. Wild 4 'Hawks 3

Buffalo v. St. Cloud Tech

So I'm watching the Wild game on the DVR so I thought I'd make a quick post about the high-school game I went to tonight. I didn't go to Buffalo, but we live about a minute from the Buffalo Civic Center, so we try to make a couple games each season. This was the only game we were able to make this year, and it turned out to be a heckuva game.

This game was the opening round of the section 8AA playoffs. Buffalo was the 4 seed, St. Cloud Tech the 5th seed. Not sure how that seeding worked out...St. Cloud Tech was clearly the better team. They were bigger, more physical, and played a much more coordinated game. While Tech had constant pressure and peppered the Buffalo goalie, Buffalo for the most part was content dump the puck out of the zone when they did get possession. The final shot total was St. Cloud Tech 43, Buffalo 26. Guess who won?

In an absolute barn-burner (whatever that means), Buffalo wins 7-6 in double-overtime. The largest lead of the night was 4-2 for Tech in the 2nd period, but after having a goal disallowed for a hand pass, Buffalo scored two quick goals to tie it going into the 3rd.

One of those goals was super quick. Unbelievably quick. A penalty was called on Tech at the end of the period. There was 1.1 seconds on the clock. While they called the penalty and skated back to the right circle in front of the Tech goalie, I wasn't really paying attention. I was thinkin, 1 second left, quick drop the puck and go to intermission. I'm an idiot. Suddenly I hear the place erupt. I look up and the ref is pointing to the goal. I'm like "no way." After talking to my wife, apparently the Buffalo player on the faceoff took a swing as the puck was dropped and it went perfectly to the goal and past the Tech goaltender. I kept expecting them to waive it off, because how do you score from a faceoff with 1.1 seconds left? The goal stood. In all the hockey I've watched, I've never seen a goal scored with such a short amount of time left. And in an ironic twist of fate, I still haven't.

To finish it off, Tech took two 1-goal leads in the 3rd only to have Buffalo tie it up both times. In the 1st OT Tech carried the play couldn't get one by the Buffalo goalie. In the 2nd OT one of the senior captains was able to poke the puck away from a Tech player at center ice, went in all alone from the blue-line and deked the Tech goalie for the game winner. Pretty much the way you'd expect it to end. The Buffalo Civic Center goes bonkers again, and we drive the minute home happy we decided to go.

So, Buffalo wins a trip to Thief River Falls Saturday to play undefeated Roseau (assuming they beat River Lakes tonite). Good luck'll need it.

HD News Flash!

This escaped my radar...tonight's game will be available on FSN-HD. So if you have access, make sure you flip it to the HD version of FSN. I will be recording to my DVR and watching a little later...going to Buffalo v. St. Cloud Tech section 8AA boys hockey playoffs. Winner gets Roseau.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

2 Points is 2 Points is 2 Points

Predators @ Wild - 2-17-08 - A View from My Couch
Wild win 5-4 in OT tonite, in dramatic fashion. The game was really a mixed bag. I don't remember a game where the Wild scored such pretty goals. Frustratingly, the Wild gave up 2 2-goal leads, and were forced into the OT by a charging Nashville squad. Looked like we were destined for a shootout, but Demo and Gabby pulled off a pretty 2 on 1 to win it.

All 5 goals were skill goals. Here's a quick recap...
  • Pterri Nummelin with a breakaway all alone from the blueline thanks to a pretty pass from Eric Belanger. Nummelin scored on one of his patented shootout moves.
  • Mark Parrish on a beautiful give-and-go from Marian Gaborik.
  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard with the move of the year. On the power play, PMB skated into the zone and all 4 Preds closed in on him. He stickhandles the puck between 2 of them and goes in on Preds G Chris Mason all alone. He beats him with a top-shelf backhander. Then his price tag went up to sign him this summer.
  • Marian Gaborik, with a delayed penalty being called on Nashville, came on the ice as the extra attacker. PMB was down low and found Gabby streaking in. Gabby put a little deke on Mason and buried it.
  • With about 10 seconds left in overtime, Pavol Demitra picked up the puck at center ice and started in against 1 Preds defender. Marian Gaborik came out of nowhere, streaking in for a 2 on 1. Demo lifted a pretty saucer pass over the Preds D, and Gabby one-timed it past Mason for the win, with only 4.4 seconds left.

Check out the highlights here.


  • At least Eric Belanger factored in the scoring. He made the long pass to Nummelin for the Wild's 1st goal. Hopefully it's a sign he's ready to actually score a goal again.
  • If you saw Michael Russo on the Wild Live after the game on FSN, how come he looks so much different from his picture on his Star Tribune blog?
  • The Wild seemed to get a little nonchalant after they were up 3-1 and 4-2. That led to untimely penatlies, which led to a tie game and overtime.
  • Shoddy officiating tonite. Two of the Preds goals could have been waived off, and there were a few penalties I would have called that were not called.
  • Backstrom could have been better. When's Harding going to play again?

The Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
The stars aligned tonite in the NW division. Wild get 2 pts, Colorado lost 2-1 to Chicago and Calgary lost 4-2 to Anaheim. With 23 games left for all 4 teams that matter in the NW, the Wild are now up 6 points on Vancouver and Calgary, and 7 on Colorado.

Next on the Docket - Canucks @ Wild - Tues 2-19-08
Another big Northwest division matchup Tuesday nite. They just keep coming. The Wild are rolling right now, and the Canucks aren't. Let's hope that continues. Wild 2 Canucks 1

Friday, February 15, 2008

Was it Resilliance or Letdown?

Wild @ Oilers - 2-14-08 - A View from My Couch
Today at work we had a strengths workshop, and we were given bracelets to wear to help remember not to be negative or complain. So I'm going with resilliance in this game. Wild win 5-4 in the shootout.

What a goofy game. I absolutely ran the gammut of emotions. I felt fortunate because Stephane Velliux scored twice and it looked promising to get a W. Frustration of a late 2nd and early 3rd period goals by Vancouver to tie. Anger that Vancouver scored a 3rd goal to take the lead. Apathy until surprise that Kurtis Foster scored against G Roberto Luongo to tie it at 3. Extreeme fired-upness on Gabby's pretty pretty goal to take the 4-3. Are-you-kidding-meness after Vancouver tied it with 3 minutes left. Ok, I'm making up words. But if Roger Clemens can do it...

At the end, it was relief. Relief that the game was over, that the Wild had picked up 2 very important points, thanks to Mikko Koivu's game-winning shootout goal. Amidst the boos from the GM Place crowd, Koivu perservered and ended the game. The Wizzy sure can make Luongo look bad.

Happy B-Day Gabby
FSN had a nice feature in the 2nd intermission about the milestones Marian Gaborik has had in his years with the Wild. He then celebrated his 26th birthday with an awesome individual effort to give the Wild a short-lived lead. He cut parallel to the goal line in between 2 or 3 Canucks, flipped the puck in the air, let it bounce, and caught his "pass" and fired a quick wrister that surprised Luongo. I liked it...alot.

The Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
The Wild pick up 2 points, Calgary was off, and Colorado lost to St. Louis. It was a good nite, although now Calgary has a game in hand. That give us 4-points over the Flame and 5-points over the 'Lanche. However, with the point tonight, the Canuck sortof keeps pace; they're 6 points back. The Wild have 24 games left.

I wanted to do a magic number bit, but it appears they are way complicated in hockey, thanks to the 2-1-0 scoring system.

Next on the Docket - Predators @ Wild - Sun 2-17-08
Aaaah, the boys will be back home for 2. Sunday has the Preds, then we get the Canucks again. The Preds are in the playoff meatgrinder, currenly in the playoffs by 2 points. They will be in town on the 2nd nite of a back-to-back with the Wild getting 2 nites off. Advantage Wild. I also hope to see Josh Harding in net. Wild 3 Preds 1

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bad Scoring Omen?

Wild @ Oilers - 2-12-08 - A View from My Couch
Who ever heard of outshooting a team 21-4 in a period and being outscored 1-0 for the period. That was the tale of tonight's game, a 4-2 loss to the Oil. The Wild really dominated the first two periods but Oilers G Mathieu Garon played a great game, and Wild G Niklas Backstrom let in a couple softies. Coach Jaques even made a goaltender change, bringing in Josh Harding to start the 3rd period. Apparently they used all their energy and chances in the first 2 periods. Harding was equally shaky and gave up 2 more goals, although he was hung out to dry by the Wild defense on one of them, and the Wild never had much of a sniff but for a late goal by Mark Parrish.

Hopefully the Wild can rediscover their scoring touch soon.

The Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
The Wizzy got some help tonite. Anaheim beat Colorado 2-1 with a late goal. Teemu Selane also got his 1st goal of the year in that one. As of this post, Calgary and San Jose are tied 2-2 at the 2nd intermission. So the nite will finish with the Wild still up either 2 or 3 points in the Northwest.

  • Appears I have to get motivational again. Eric "Todd White" Belanger has all but vanished. I was a huge fan at the beginning of the year, but he isn't scoring right now. Appears people were right that said he's the same player as White.
  • Gabby wearing the "A" is silly looking.
  • I hate "Thee Oilers goal..."
  • With the lone meaningful Wild goal tonite, Demo has a nice scoring stretch going.
Next on the Docket - Wild @ Canucks - Thurs 2-14-08 Let's see if a goalie can give us a good performance. Wild 2 Canucks 0

God Bless Kevin Gorg & Anthony Lapanta

In case you haven't heard this, and you probably haven't unless you listen to PA and Dubay on KFAN, Kevin Gorg, Anthony Lapanta, and another guy from FSN flipped their van on the way home from Baudette Bay Saturday night after wrapping up Hockey Day Minnesota. They're OK, but it sounds like they got very lucky.

According to Gorg on PA and Dubay, they hit a snow drift around 9:30 PM about an hour south of Baudette and the van flipped a few times. A car happened by a few minutes later and called for help, and everyone was just sore the next day.

I can be critical of Kevin Gorg from time to time, particularly for the Faceoff bit during Wild games, but I am very happy to hear everyone was ok. I know what it is like to lose control and be at the mercy of where your car winds up. Looking forward to seeing them tonight against the Oil.

Here's the link to the podcast on KFAN if you want to hear the details.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

4 Really Big Points

Islanders @ Wild - 2-9-08 - A View from Section 216 & Wild @ Blues - 2-10-08 - A View from My House
Couple games to recap here. I was in attendance in section 216 for Saturday's game on Hockey Day Minnesota. For me, since I am not a Gopher fan, it was pretty much the culmination of Hockey Day. I watched the early morning high-school game on Baudette Bay and parts of the other HS game at Xcel that followed. Really enjoyed watching the kids freeze on Baudette Bay. Man, did that look cold. But all the kids they talked to were like, yeah, it's cold, but I don't notice it. They were just very excited to play in the outdoor game and to be a part of the event. Nice work.

So the Wild game on Saturday was the perverbial bounce-back game after two well-played games against the top two teams in the conference, but lossess non-the-less. The Islanders are a bad team, so you'd think it would be a nice easy win. Well, not so much.

After gaining the lead but giving up tying goals in the first 30 seconds of the 2nd and 3rd periods, I still thought we would come out with a W. But New York took the lead with about 4 minutes left. Since the Wild aren't a great come-from-behind team, I didn't like our chances and I became pretty crabby. Missed opportunity. Thankfully, Mr. Streaky Brian Rolston nicely corralled a big rebound off a PMB shot and slammed the puck past DiPietro for the tie, and Burnsie followed up a Gaborik rush up-ice to get the second point. HUGE! Biggest things I take from this game were that Backstrom improved his control of the rebound and the Wild were resilient enough to not let two points slip away.

Then comes the Blues game. Not the best game the Wild have ever played, and this one goes to OT again...then it went to the shootout. I was surprised Gabby was the first shooter since he was unable to beat Manny Legace on a breakaway in the OT. He shot this time and missed...then Legace stopped Rolston. St. Louis scored on their 2nd shot, but Pavol Demitra scored to keep us alive. Josh Harding made some great stops in the shootout, and Burnsie again got the game-winner with a pretty goal. He rushed the net with alot of speed, put on the breaks, and drug the puck for a shot to an open net. St. Louis couldn't score on their try, and the extra point goes to the Wild. HUGE AGAIN!

Fight to Hang the First Banner
With the 4 points over the last 2 nites the Wild again have a 3-point lead in the Northwest Division. Suddenly the closest team is Colorado, who is doing it without the injured Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth. All 4 of the top teams in the NW now have the same number of games remaining, so it'll be whoever can finish with the best record.

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Oilers - Tues 2-12-08
Look for the Wild to shake the sloppy play from the last two games and get a convincing win over Edmonton. Wild 4 Oilers 1

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Glass Half Full

Wild v. Stars - 2-7-08 - A View from Bison Creek Bar and Grill
I was in and out of the game tonight. I missed the entire 1st periond except the quick Mike Modano tribute. More on that later. I saw the second and most of the third. So, take that into consideration in reading my musings.

Wild lose tonite 1-0. What I saw was actually pretty entertaining for a 1-0 game. Good kill of a minute of 5 on 3 in the 1st, another 4-minute penalty in the 2nd, and alot of good chances offensively. Something called Mike Smith was in net for Dallas as Turco was hurt or sick or something. Smith was great, stopping Marian Gaborik on a breakaway in the 2nd and again on a point blank opportunity in the 3rd. Even though we scored no goals, the pressure was pretty steady throughout what I saw.

Dallas' goal came early in the 3rd perod on what looked like poor defensive positioning by the Wild defensemen. He will remain nameless (ok, it was Skoula). Somehow a 2 on 1 developed and Skoula looked confused on who to take, and Niklas Hagman put a move on G Niklas Backstrom for the goal. The sequence was frightingly similar to the Sharks goal earlier in the year where Skoula misplayed the puck and Jonathan Cheechoo moved around Backstrom to put in the game winner.

Still, the Wizzy had their chances; just couldn't get anything past Smith. They played a pretty solid game given the potential it had to be down after the Detroit loss. The crowd was loud tonight on the KSTC, especially after they killed the 4:00 and put some great pressure on Smith to closeout the 2nd period.

Modano "Tribute"
The Mike Modano tribute was nice and all. It wasn't a big ol production, which was probably the way it should be. The crowd was quite polite, which is good. I was a little worried some boo-birds would be sprinkled in with cheering, but it was predominately cheering. Good work X!

For those who didn't see it, after the national anthem P.A. Announcer-Guy read off some stats MoDo compiled and announced that he is now the #1 American-born scorer and MoDo came out onto the ice, waved to the crowd, got some pictures taked of him, Phil Housley (#2 American-born scorer and Minnesota native) Brad Bombardir (not sure why he was there), and a print of Met Center Memories, a painting by Terance Fogarty. Good enough.

The only weird thing was it happened so fast and Mike was back on the bench, while P.A. Announcer Guy was still talking. Just had a feel of akwardness.

The Fight to the Hang the 1st Banner at Xcel
With the Wild's hot streak seemingly over, it will absolutely be a fight to the end in the Northwest Division. 1 point up on Colorado, 2 up on Calgary. The KSTC graphic told the story. 28 games left, and the last 8 games of the season are against the NW division. Yikes!

Calgary lost to Chicago tonite and Colorado was off so we stay in 1st. But Vancouver beat Atlanta, so they're only 3 points back.

Next on the Docket - Islanders @ Wild - Sat 2-9-08 - Hockey Day Minnesota
It's Hockey Day Minnesota on Saturday! We have hockey all-day on FSN beginning at 10AM. First it's Eveleth v. Lake of the Woods on Baudette Bay. It's gonna be cold for that! Then it's St. Thomas Academy v. Hill Murray at the X. Wild v. Islanders at 5. Goofers at Denver at 8. Then a tape-delay of Blaine v. Roseau on Baudette Bay. That's a full day of hockey!

I really enjoyed last year's Hockey Day Minnesota, and I'm looking forward to Saturday. Make some time to take some of it in, especially the HS games on Baudete Bay. Just like last year, I'll be in attendance in section 216 for the Wild game, and I'm expecting a bounce-back game against the terrible Islanders. I'm going to this one with a psuedo-Islanders fan, so it should be a good time. Wild 5 Islanders 2

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ain't that a Shame

Wild v. Red Wings - 2-5-08 - A View from my Recliner
Wow, what a demoralizing loss tonight. The Wild played a great game. They were physical. They were quick. They had a 2-1 lead with just over a minute left. Then it all went south.

After playing an inspiring first two periods, the Wild were dominated in the 3rd period. This is to be expected, with the Wings absolutely running away with the Western Conference you knew they were going to put the pressure on. Still, it seemed the Wild were destined to hold on to the 2-1 win, until G Niklas Backstrom let in a bad angle shot by Daniel Cleary from the left boards with about a minute left. Brett Lebda scored for the Wings in OT, and all the Wild had to show in this heavily-hyped game was 1 point. Not terrible, but it really should have been 2 points.

Brian Rolston scored again (finally a PP goal) and Pavol Demitra scored on a wired top corner shot with Gabby as a decoy on a 2 on 1. Actually, the Wild should have been up more than a goal going into the 3rd. Red Wings G Dominik Hasek kept the score close. The Wild had many many opportunities. Hasek stopped most, and the goal posts stopped the rest.

  • Backstom gave up way too many scary rebounds again tonite. The Wings 1st goal came on a juicy rebound. Then there was the tying goal. It was about a foot from the goal line.
  • I really liked the Wizzy's intensity tonite. They kept the Wings out of Backstrom's area and did not back down from the Wings.
  • That said, gotta be cautious of the let down after this game. To play the way they did and then to lose the way they did, pretty demoralizing. Hopefully the team doesn't take it the way I do. Big game Thursday v. Dallas, and then the lowly Islanders. Two more wins will make this loss feel OK.
  • Before the tying goal I was busy thinking of clever titles for this post, having to do with finally beating Hasek. That'll teach me to pre-plan my posts. The Wild still have never beaten Dominik Hasek.
  • Good work by the crowd at the X tonite. Especially during the 4:00 penalty kill in the 1st.
Next on the Docket - Stars @ Wild - Thurs 2-7-08
The Stars are back Tuesday for the last time this regular season. I hope this is the year we get Dallas in the playoffs to get the rivalry jumpstarted again. Nothing was like that first game v. Dallas back in 2000. That was a good time.

Apparently the Wild will honor Mike Modano before the game for all his accomplishments to US hockey. It will be interesting to see how the crowd responds to that. In the early years, Modo was booed lustily, but that has subsided. I would think he'll get a nice reception for this.

As for the game, I think it'll be difficult to bounce back from today's loss. Stars 4 Wild 2

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Strong on the Road

Wild @ Blue Jackets - 02-02-08 - A View from my Recliner
Happy groundhog day! Gotta love that Punxsutawney Phil. He says 6 more weeks of winter. That's fine with me...I've had about enough of this winter thing.

Great 4-1 win tonite for the Wild. I was able to watch the game tonite thanks to a free preview of Center Ice on DirecTV. The Wild played what at first was a great road game that turned into a great all around game. The skill players stepped up again and the D was very tough.

Goals came from Kurtis Foster (a weak wrister from the blueline in the 1st that G Fredrik Norrena did not see), Brian Rolston (on a great stickhandling sequence from Pierre-Marc Bouchard), Marian Gaborik (thanks to a pretty passing play from Pavol Demitra to Todd Fedoruk to Gabby), and Marian Gaborik (on another great passing play from Demitra to Gaborik to Demitra). The 2nd period unfolded very similarly to the Anaheim game Wednesday, with most of the scoring coming in the middle frame and being stingy in the 3rd.

  • Rolston now has a 5-game goal streak.
  • Gabby has 28 goals on the year.
  • PMB is going to cost alot to keep on this team.
  • Although Niklas Backstrom played a solid game in net, he still gave up some pretty juicy rebounds. I won't be cynical tho. He is playing very well of late.
  • It was cool to hear the Columbus play-by-play guys on FSN Ohio. They were very complimentary of the Wild, Lemaire, PMB, Gaborik...everyone was made out to be on top of their games right now. In the 2nd, they kept saying how the team is playing so well right now and firing on all cylinders. You'd think we were the Red Wings.
  • Had to watch tonite's game late, as the U. of North Dakota Fighting Sioux fans in my family took over the TV during prime time. UND was at the Minnesota Gophers. Game finished in a 1-1 tie, but it was a very intense game. Multiple players from both teams were involved in skirmishes, including some cheap shots right before the final whistle. UND coach Dave Hakstol was caught by the camera flipping the bird, and UND and Minn players got into a frakus during the final handshake. I love college hockey! Oh, and my Bulldogs beat Wisconsin tonite in OT! Nice!
  • Go Giants!
Next on the Docket - Red Wings @ Wild - Tues 2-5-08
Oooooh, looking forward to this game. With the Wild rolling right now, you would think it would be a perfect time to get the Wings. They're finally beating the best teams in the division. But, the Red Wings might be sore from the one we stole from them in Detroit. And alot of times these hyped-up games turn into duds. What to call, what to call...

I'm a homer, so Wild 3 Wings 2.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Xcel Goal Horn

Xcel Goal Horn
Originally uploaded by jdoghooey

Just a quick test of posting to the blog from Flickr. This is the goal horn after a Wid goal...I think it was in the Phoenix game a few weeks ago.