Sunday, March 30, 2008

Playoff Bound!

Avalanche @ Wild - 3-30-08 - View from the Recliner
Lotta good things happened today. It was an extreemly successful day of watching hockey for me today. I'll run it down:

Game of the Week on NBC - Rangers v. Penguins
I like the GOTW on NBC cause it's a nice early start and it's almost always an east coast matchup, usually the Pens, so if I miss it it's not a big deal, but if I can watch, it doesn't interfere with anything esle. Wasn't really watching this game, but it was on in the background while I was putting primer on the trim in the nursery. Not too much vested interest in who won, but if I were to root for one of them it would be the Pens, and they won 3-1. Most important thing is that more progress was made on the nursery...actual paint next weekend!

NCAA Regional Final #1 - Boston College v. Miami Ohio
Saw the OT in this game. BC won to deny Miami their first trip to the Frozen Four. Again, didn't really care who won.

NCAA Regional Final #2 - Wisconsin v. North Dakota
Not a fan of either of these teams, however, my wife and mother in law are HUGE UND fans, so I become a Sioux fan when the UMD Bulldogs finish the year, and that's usually as soon as the playoffs start. Bucky Badger shouldn't even have made the tournament with a sub-500 record, and this game was played in Madison so it was a home game for them. Made me really want UND to win. Bucky carried the play through the 1st and 2nd periods, but Nodak woke up and scored 2 quick goals in the 3rd and won it in OT. The Sioux go to the Frozen Four for the 3rd straight year, and 15th overall. The Frozen Four is now set: North Dakota v. Boston College and Notre Dame v. Michigan. Games are Thursday April 10th from Denver on ESPN2.

Avs v. Wild
This was the main event. Another big NW division game, and this on in HD. The Wild knew they had clinched a playoff spot before this game even started, because Nashville lost to Detroit in OT, so there is no way the Wild could finish any worse than 8th in the Western Conference.

The Wild came out fast in the 1st and carried play. Brian Rolston (his 30th) and Marian Gaborik scored to take a 2-0 lead to intermission. But, as a team who is fighting to stay in the playoffs is want to do, the Avs fought back and tied it in the 2nd. It was a reversal of the 1st. Colorado dominated the 2nd. The 3rd was pretty even. The Wild hit a couple posts, Backstrom made a couple good saves, and we go to OT.

Pretty good OT period. Colorado really needed the extra point, but the Wild denied them. Gabby and Pavol Demitra broke out on a 2 on 1 with just under 2 minutes remaining. Gabby dished to Demo, Demo corralled a bouncing puck, then sent it back to Gabby for the tip in. Crowd bananas. Gabby, 40th goal and 80th point. Sit it down Jeff Finger. The Wild get the extra point that will be huge in the quest for the NW division title.

Calgary @ Vancouver
Watched this game on NHL Network. The perfect finish to this day is Vancouver winning in regulation, 6-2. Keenan pulled Kipprosoff in the 2nd after the 4th goal. The Canucks really showed up for this one; I thought they were done after Friday's game at the X. The win also puts them back ahead of Nashville for that last playoff spot. Oh, and Jerome Iginla got into it with Matt Cooke's prodigy Alex Burrows.

Braves @ Nationals
Not hockey, but the Nat's new stadium looks pretty sweet. Only 2 more years left at Metrodome!


  • Liked Eric Belanger's game tonite
  • Backstrom was solid positionally
  • Good to see Gabby get 2 tonite after getting alot of chances Friday without scoring...40 goals for the kid
  • A quick check of revealed 2 things: Playoff tickets go on sale Saturday morning and they're going with the same playoff slogan as last year, "Fight to the End." Hopefully this year's end isn't as quick as last year.
Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
2 more points for the Wild is huge down the stretch. Calgary loses, so now it's Colorado 4 points back and Calgary 5 points back. Colorado has 2 games left, so they can earn 4 points. If that happens and they tie the Wild, the Avs would have the tiebreak over the Wild with more wins.

Calgary has 3 games left so they can still earn 6 points and take over the NW outright.

Next on the Docket - Flames @ Wild - Thurs 4-3-08
Wild are off until Thursday, and Calgary will finally make up that game in hand. Whatever happens in that Flames game @ Edmonton Tuesday, a Wild win Thursday and wins the division. If you remember, last month the Flames came to the X a point behind the Wild for the NW lead. Flames won that game. I think I need to find some tix. I'd hate to have to watch this one on the 45. Wild 3 Flames 2

I'll be at Angels v. Twins @ Metrodome for the Twins 2008 opener tomorrow nite. My prediction? 2 HRs for Torii Hunter v. Livan Hernandez. They're talking blizzard here for the 2nd to last Twins home opener indoors.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Good Times @ Xcel

Canucks @ Wild - 3-28-08 - View from Section 216
I'm dead tired right now. Spent alot of energy at the Wild game tonite and the sore throat I woke up with this morning will most likely be a full-blown deal tomorrow. But it was well worth it.

Wild win 4-0 tonite over a Vancouver team that looks like they have nothing left. The Wild played an excellent game, dominating for all 3 periods. They scored 2 on the powerplay, another just as the powerplay expired, and there were fisticuffs in the 3rd. The Canucks continued to be the thugs that Minnesota fans love to hate.

1st period goals from Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mikko Koivu, and 2nd period goals from Brent Burns and Todd Fedoruk. All very nice goals, Koivu's was very pretty. He snuck out from behind the goal line and slipped it through G Roberto Luongo's 5 hole. Fedoruk's goal was on a 2 on 1 with Marian Gaborik, where Gabby set Fridge up with a late pass.

It was relatively calm in the 1st and 2nd, but all heck broke loose in the 3rd. Derek Boogaard went with someone, can't remember who, but he took care of bidness. Then, after Canuck Alexe Burrows apparently speared PMB, so PMB gave him a two-handed slash to the back of his leg. That got the two teams together, and PMB and Burrows fought, along with Brent Burns absolutely pummeling Nathan McIver. I mean just laying into him. Everyone else paired off, and it took a good 10 minutes to settle everyone down and sort out the penalties. During the stoppage, the Xcel crowd turned in a quality"Let's go Wi-ld" chant. It was a nicely riled up crowd that enjoyed Friday nite at the X.



  • Niklas Backstrom gets his 4th shutout of the season. The D was very good in front of him, blocking shots and clearing rebounds in a timely manner.
  • Sean Hill was very solid again tonite. He made a couple great plays on D to stop scoring chances and also had an assist.
  • The new tough-guy philosophy seems to be paying off so far. I said to my wife on the walk down the stairs that the Wild certainly haven't had a team like this before, that would welcome the physical play and had multiple players that don't back down from fights.
  • Gabby looked very good tonite. the 2 on 1 with Fridge, a breakaway in the 2nd, drew a penalty in the 1st, another 2 on 1 in the 3rd, and a couple nice shots. He didn't score, but the chances were there.
  • Was good to chase Luongo out of the nets, but can you blame the guy for not being focused? His wife just had their first child yesterday.
  • At the end of the day, Vancouver is in 9th and out of the playoffs thanks to a tiebreaker held by Nashville. The production crew at the X didn't waste time putting that up on the scoreboard either.

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
Wild now with 93 points, Calgary with 90, but Calgary now has 2 games in hand. They play Edmonton tomorrow nite in Calgary. Colorado came back to beat Edmonton in OT tonite, so they are now at 88 points, 5 back of the Wild.

The Wild are 1 point away from clinching a playoff birth.

Next on the Docket - Avalanche @ Wild - Sun 3-30-08
Can the Wild continue their solid play? They look to be on a nice roll, and I think this one is going to last into the playoffs. This game is scheduled for FSN in HD, so plan on a good lookin W. Wild 3 Avs 2

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ovechkin 60 Goals

Just a quick follow-up to a post I made a few weeks ago about Alex Ovechkin pushing for 60 goals. At the time he had 54, and as of tonite he has 61.

I'm pretty excited he got to 60. It means that the NHL has indeed opened up some in the past few years. Ovechkin is obviously very talented, but the cool thing is that he is genuinely excited for his team's success. He celebrates his own goals, and he also celebrates his teammates with just as much exuberance.

Gabby could learn a thing or two.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Oil Dried Up?

Oilers @ Wild - 3-26-08 - View from the Couch
Very nice 3-1 win tonite. It was an important win as the Wild played a much better game than just Monday in Edmonton. Tonite the defense was much better, Mikko Koivu was awesome, and Marian Gaborik was great.

The team seemed much more focused in this one, and they jumped out to a 3-0 lead by midway through the 2nd. An early goal from Branko Radivojevic thanks to a pretty dish from Gabby, a powerplay goal by Sean Hill on a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play started by Gabby, Radivojevic, and Koivu, and a shorthanded goal where Koivu hit Brian Rolston driving to the net for a nice five-hole goal.

Defense supported very well, and they cut down the ugly turnovers. There were still a couple, specifically one by one by Nick Schultz that led to a post by Gagne, but all-in-all the Wild were in control of this game from the start.


  • Since I took the time to watch this game, it was good to see Eric Belanger back in the lineup. He didn't figure in the scoring, but it had kind of a calming effect. At least on me.
  • Mark Parrish got to play, but didn't do much. He had one opportunity in close on Edmonton G Dwayne Roloson, but he missed the net short-side.
  • Speaking of Roloson, I really like watching him lose. Did anyone really believe he was hurt when Boogaard crashed into him?
  • The Oil looked like a team that has finally run out of steam as a result of the hard push they've made to get into playoff contention. I think they're about spent.
  • When was the last time the Wild had a shortie?
  • Sean Hill with 2 goals in his last 2 games...he's on fi-a!

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
With the win, the Wild regain the division lead again over Calgary, by 1 point. Calgary with 5 games left, Wild 4, so the game at Xcel v. Calgary on April 3rd will likely be huge. Colorado beat Vancouver 6-3, so they jump into 3rd, 3 pts behind the Wild. Vancouver is now 5 pts back.

Next on the Docket - Canucks @ Wild - Fri 3-26-08
When I chose this game back when we divvied up games in September, my thoughts were that it could be for the NW division title. It's not quite that, but it is still a big game for the Wild. I expect them to continue high-intensity, and I expect them to win my final game of the year in section 216. Wild 5 Canucks 2

Monday, March 24, 2008

That was Just Inspiring

Wild @ Oilers - 3-24-08 - View from the Recliner
Gettin into this one waaaay late apparently. I thought the DVR was recording, but it's not so I missed the first 7 minutes of the game. I missed alot - Wild are down 3-1. What the hizzy did I miss? Apparently their obnoxious goal siren 3 times. Apparently Backstrom = no good. Usually when this happens I get pretty disinterested.

Harding tosses the puck right to an Oiler and now it's 4-1...time to do something else before I'm too depressed.

Hey, Sean Hill scores...and now it's 4-2.

Oh, now it's 5-2. What a bunk game. The D seems to be chasing they did when we went on that ugly losing streak.

Terharr thought it was 5-3, but false alarm.

Now it is 5-3 with 12 minutes to go.

And we're spent. Oil 5 Wild 3 final.

I didn't pay close enough attention to do this game justice. I will defer to my fellow bloggers tonite. I look forward to reading how Eric Belanger looked.

Fight to hang the 1st Banner
Colorado beat Calgary tonite, so the Flames stay 1 pt back and the Avs and Canucks are now 3 pts back. Wild has 5 games left, Calgary 6, and Canucks 7.

Edmonton is now 3 pts out of the playoffs with 5 games left. Craziness ensues.

Next on the Docket - Oilers @ Wild - Wed 3-25-08
I fully expect the Wild to right the ship Wednesday. They got run by a fired up Oilers team with the home crowd behind them. Hey, here's somethin different? How about if the crowd at the X is loud from the start? Let's try that... Wild 4 Oil 2

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wild @ Flames - 3-22-08 - View from my Couch

Good, entertaining game tonite. Wild lose 5-4 to Calgary, but the game was fun to watch. Jerome Iginla whooped us again, with a hat trick to fuel the Flames. Josh Harding got the start, which is good. He's going to have to stay sharp somehow. He didn't look all that great, but what do you expect after not playing for 8 games.

Benioit Pouliot got his 1st NHL goal on a shot that hit a Floames skate and got past Flames G Mikka Kiprusoff. Then he scored his 2nd career goal to give the Wild a short-lived 2-1 lead. That's when Iginla went to work. He scored the next 3 goals and the Wild were down 2. They would cut it to 1 but give up another, then cut it to 1 again. Kim Johnsson had both of those goals. It was a weird nite for Wild goals.


  • Another physical game, much like last nite. Boogaard, Simon, and Fedoruk all had fights. I like how they asserted themselves physically.
  • Simon was called early in the 1st on a goaltender interference penalty where it looked like he was pushed in. But he somehow wound up with his arm around Kiprusoff's head, and I think he was called more on reputation than actual penalty. 1st time I can remember that type of call since he joined the team.
  • If there is a positive in this game, it was how the Wild battled back. They were able to stay close in a game that alot of the time would probably have wound up in a blowout. Also scoring 4 times on Kiprusoff is a good sign.
  • Pretty sure the Saddledome has the most annoying goal horn and post-goal atmosphere. At least today that's what I think.
  • I believe we can beat the Flames if we meet them in the playoffs.

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner

With the regulation win, Calgary is now 1 pt behind the Wild for 1st, and they still have a game in hand. Colorado lost to Edmonton and Vancouver was off, so the Avs stay 5 pts back and Canucks stay 3 pts back. The Canucks also have a game in hand. Also Nashville won in a shootout, so they gain 2 points trying to make the playoffs. They're now 7 points back of the Wild with 6 to play.

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Olers - Mon 3-24-08

Edmonton is still fighting for their playoff lives, so they'll bring it. Oiler fans are obnoxios, and I think they have a pretty annoying goal horn too. I'm hopin to not have to hear it much at all. This is the 1st game of a home and home. Wild 4 Oil 1

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I'm Waaay Fired Up!

Wild @ Canucks - 3-21-08 - View from the Couch
What a great game! I absolutely loved the game the Wild played tonite. It was even better than the game they played against Colorado on Sunday. 2-1 win over the Canucks, in regulation even, so Vancouver gets nothing! You lose!

From the start this game was intense, physical, and there was a ton of chances. Brian Rolston got a PP goal in the 2nd on a shot that deflected off our old friend Willie Mitchell and Branko Radivojevic connected in the 3rd of a great pass from Pavol Demitra about a millisecond after I yelled "Demo, why don't you ever shoot!"

What was great about this game was the Wild didn't stop pushing all game. They kept up the forecheck even after getting the lead. They also had a great offensive game. It wasn't the old "let's cycle the puck behind the net for 2 minutes and not get a shot on goal" game we saw over the past few weeks. It seems this team has finally figured out that they need to play tough and that the playoffs are not just a given.


  • Niklas Backstrom played I think his best game all season. That save he had in the 3rd where he stuck out the right pad was the best save I've ever seen him make. It made me stand up and say "Really? He actually made a game-saving save!" Even tho it was still 2-0 at that point.
  • Benoit Pouliot. He played an awesome game tonite. Hope he gets rewarded with a goal soon, because he has been working very hard since he was called up. Bout time we get to see why the Wild drafted him with a 1st round pick.
  • How fun was it to see Brent Burns and Willie Mitchell jawing at each other in the 1st?
  • How come the guys who do the graphics for KSTC don't know how to spell Rolston? Every time the scrollie on the top of the screen says "Ralston."
  • The strategy to play Sean Hill, Derek Boogaard, and Todd Fedoruk at the same time seemed to pay off. The physicality seemed to help the intensity for this game. Good on ya Jacques.
  • I think I better throw at least a little negativity in this post...Keith Carney's penalty in the 3rd was a terrible penalty to take. Wild had all the momentum, but you could see that they were running around a bit in the defensive zone. Carney was slow so he pushed a guy down, and the Canucks scored, what, 10 seconds into the PP? But contrary to most of the season prior, the team stepped up the intensity from there on out.
  • Can't wait for the rematch at the X next Friday. Last game I have tickets for this season!

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
Wild pick up 2 pts, Canucks get none. None of the other NW teams played tonite, so the Wild are 3 pts up on Calgary and Vancouver and Colorado is 5 pts back. Calgary still has a game in hand, so tomorrow nite's game in Calgary is the next most important game of the season.

The Wild are also now 9 points up on 9th-place Nashville. With 7 games left, the most points Nashville can earn is 14. I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin.

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Flames - Sat 3-22-08
Oh boy, where to go on this one. I think I need to reign in all this positivity. Wild don't ever win in Calgary, they spent alot of energy and emotion on this one, and it's going too well right now for them to actually win this one. Flames 4 Wild 1

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Foster Update

FSN just had Wild Director of Hockey Ops Chris Snow addressing the media on Kurtis Foster. He's got a fractured left femur and apparently will be having surgery tonite to have a rod put in. Can't be a good sign that they're doing it so quickly. He said they want to stabilize it. Makes sense why they took so long to get him on the stretcher and the obvious pain he was in anytime they tried to move him.

I'm no Dr., but obviously he's out the rest of the season at least. Good luck in surgery Kurtis.

Solid Point

Wild @ Sharks - 3-19-08 - View from the Home Office
Missed the 1st period tonite. Well, most of it. Tuned in just in time to see the Wild give up a 3 on 1 goal that was eventually put in by Jeremy Roenick. I hate when old mouth runners score against us. Luckily the Wild's new #1 player Stephane Veilliux tied the game shortly into the 2nd, and all is well.

Watching the game while I officially do our taxes for the year. Last 2 years since we bought the house we've gone to H&R Block but this year after thinking about paying them $200 I decided to try and do it online. So this might turn into sort of a pseudo live blog. I'll type write as I see something eventful.

Oh bugger, SJ just scored. Backstrom should have stopped that one. Just a backhander that got by his glove top-shelf.

Kurtis Foster just slammed into the wall hard. Homer Terhar talking about it being an ugly cheap shot, and at 1st I dismissed it as normal Terhar, but as I watch the replay it looks like Torrey Mitchell gave him a push into the boards. His knee went 1st into the boards. I wouldn't call it a cheap shot, but it looks like Foster is hurt pretty bad. He's being carried off in a stretcher and screaming in pain when they move him. Looks like a leg or knee. Mitchell gets a tripping penalty. Interesting and classy that Jeremy Roenick is helping the group get him on the stretcher. Picture all trainers, Wild players, and Roenick watching the process of getting him off the ice. JR is a classy old mouth runner.

Wild have had a few chances. I missed a 2 on 1 and a breakaway in the 1st, and we just had a nice odd man rush with Rolston missing the net late in the 2nd.

Marian Gaborik gets a PP goal early in the 3rd to tie it at 2. He's got a couple goals in the last few games so it looks like he's starting to score again, and should get to 40 goals by the end of the year. That bodes well for our playoff chances.

Aaah, that bites. Just 2 minutes from gaining a big point in the standings, Joe Pavelski turns and fires a quick shot point blank and it deflects somewhere and over Backstrom. It was either off Johnsson or Backstrom's stick.

Wild put on some good pressure in the last 2 minutes and get a 40-second power play. And with 28 seconds left, Gabby connects on a one-timer from the slot to tie it up, with Todd Fedoruk screening SJ G Nabokov quite well. Déjà vu of a week ago at the X and we go to OT.

Wild have had 2 great chances to win the game in the OT. A Rolston slapper that he broke his stick on, and a 2 on 1 for Mikko Koivu and Kim Johnsson. Didn't turn out tho. Then Patrick Marleau had a great opportunity in alone on Backstrom but he missed the net. We go to shootout. I'm assuming a Sharks win given the Wild's shootout prowess.

True to form, Backstrom looked pretty bad in the shootout giving up goals to Pavelski and Roenick. Brent Burns scored a nice goal that he got to trickle through the five-hole because he fired it so hard. Gabby was stopped after a nice attempt. He got full speed through center ice and put on a deke, but Nabokov got the right pad out and then stopped Koivu to seal the xtra point.

All-in-all, nice work getting the point against a good team in the Shark Tank. This game was almost identical to last Sunday's game at the X. And SJ keeps on keepin on.

A final parting shot - did Mark Parrish play tonite?

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
All other Northwest teams were off tonite. The Wild go to 3 points up on Vancouver, Calgary, and Colorado in the NW, and 7 points up of Nashville for that last playoff spot. 8 games left for the Wild and Colorado, 9 for Vancouver and Calgary. They'll catch up in games played tomorrow. It's NW division games from here on out. Buckle up!

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Vancouver - Fri 3-21-08
Crunch time begins now. I like the Wizzy. We've played well against the Canuck this year. Mikko Koivu gets real pumped to play against them, and Willie Mitchell likes to talk. If they stay true to the not too up not to down mentality, they can win this game. Wild 4 Canucks 2

Monday, March 17, 2008

That's Wild Hockey!

Avalanche @ Wild - 3-17-08 - View from the Recliner
The Wild returned to the type of hockey that has made them successful throughout their history tonite, coming out on top of a defensive, intense hockey game, 3-1. Brent Burns had a goal and an assist and Branco Radevioivic had the game winner on a deflection in the 2nd period.

The Wild gritted out tonight's win. They got good goaltending when they needed it from Niklas Backstrom and continually drove to the net to keep the pressure on Colorado. This is how they will need to play down the stretch to finish strong and make the playoffs.

The team appeared to be very focused tonite. They didn't get too up when they scored or too down when Colorado tied it. Burnsie beat up on Peter Forsberg. They just seemed to have an intensity tonite that they haven't had in a long time. With 9 games left, here's hopin' it stays.

BTW, the game looked awesome on VS. tonite.

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
With the win, the Wild are alone on top of the NW by 2 points over Colorado and Calgary. Wild have 9 games left, Colorado 8, and Calgary 10. The key down the stretch is going to be to stay on an even keel; not get too high with each win and not get too low with each loss, as they will be playing all NW division opponents after Wednesday's game v. San Jose. The winner probably won't be decided until the final game. The team and we as fans can now settle back and watch it unfold, instead of worrying about the trend the team is on. (Easy to say now that they've won a couple games...)

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Sharks - Wed 3-19-08
The Wild embark on a huge 4-game road trip Wednesday at San Jose. Keep up the intensity and things should look good coming home for the final stretch. I expect the Wild to keep the scoring low. Wild 2 San Jose 1

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Weathering the Storm

Kings @ Wild - 3-15-08 - View from the Recliner
Tonite the Wild and more specifically a Wild goaltender did something I've been calling for for a long time...went out and shut a team out. Wild win 2-0 over the Kings tonite. Niklas Backstrom didn't have to be great...I actually can't remember any standout saves, but the important thing is he didn't let in any soft goals and kept the rebounds to an acceptable level. The Wild got an important win over a bad team. They had to work for it, but they put in the work and got the W, and 2 points to tie Colorado for the NW division lead.

Goals came from Brian Rolston and Marian Gaborik. Mikko Koivu was strong, and I thought new call up and much maligned Benoit Pouliot had an excellent game. He was quick, on the puck, and had a few very nice physical plays to knock players off the puck. Maybe getting his face pounded into the ice a couple weeks ago gave him new perspective.

The Wild continued to ride this scoring draught into at least mediocre success. They've got at least 1 point in their last 4 at a time they're not scoring and everyone in Minnesota thinks the world is coming to an end. If it turns around they will be in good position. We're about to hit that stretch of games against the NW that will tell the story. 10 games left, 9 of them against the NW division.

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
Colorado lost to New Jersey 4-2 so the Wild are back into a tie with the Avs for 1st. Calgary was off, so they're now 2 points back. Oh and Vancouver won too, so they're 2 points back. Seriously...who knows who's going to win this thing?

Fight to Stay in the Playoffs
Nashville won today so the Wild are up 4 points on the final playoff spot.

Next on the Docket - Avalanche @ Wild - 3-17-08
This game is not important at all...just because the teams are tied for 1st with 10 games remaining doesn't mean much... Wild 3 Avs 1

Saturday, March 15, 2008

HD Update

Doing my part to promote the awsomeness of high-definition hockey, tonight's game v. LA Kings will be on HD Net nationally as well as locally in the Twin Cities. There's no other local coverage.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Devils @ Wild - 3-13-06 - A View from the Couch
In my earlier post today, I mentioned I had a very positive outlook on tonite's game. Sun shining gave way to birds singing, snow melting, and in theory, a Wild victory, righting the sinking ship. Those birds kept singing until 7 minutes left in the 3rd period. They completely fell asleep when Jamie Langenbrunner easily deked Niklas Backstrom (that's different) to win the shootout and the game for the Devils.

Wild did play a pretty good game tonite. Great 1st period resulted in a 2-0 lead. Bad 2nd period allowed NJ to tie the game, and then Koivu to stickhandle nicely to set up Gabby for his 1st goal in like 85 games. Good 3rd period up until Backstrom was scored on from a bad angle again. This time it was sort of on a hockey move instead of a shot from 15 feet out and behind the goal line, but still a save he should have made. He shouldn't have followed Danius Zubrus to the front of the net, because he never went there. I don't know what to make of the OT. Wild dominated after the ugly minute-long power play, but didn't ever shoot the puck. Skoula and PMB combined for like 30 seconds of skating around the offensive zone, never getting a shot at Martaaay Brodeur. That was frustrating. And of course, the shootout was bad for the Wild. They could not score a goal and Backstrom was beat 3 times, even though only one of the goals went in. Langenbrunner's winning goal was fitting, given he had like 100 friends and family in from Cloquet, and that I have always liked him as a player, and that earlier in the game I called him old. Oh, and he almost caused me to break my TV. I childishly threw my goal light remote on the floor and it bounced up and hit the TV. No damage tho. (What, you don't have a goal light?)

I guess it's positive. They had alot of great scoring opportunities tonite and Brodeur either got lucky or made the good save. The team sounded pretty upbeat in the postgame interviews. Stephane Veilleux and Mikko Koivu both were encouraged that they played a good game, and that if they keep playing that way things will go their way. I hope they're right.

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
At time of this post, Colorado has a 5-1 lead on Edmonton in the 3rd, so they'll be in 1st by 2 pts at the end of the day.  Atlanta miraculously came back on Calgary to win 6-4, so the Wild and Calgary are tied for 2nd. Vancouver could pull into that same tie for 2nd if they beat Phoenix, but right now it is 1-0 Coyotes at the 2nd intermission. C'mon 'Yotes!

Seen in the Crowd
Props to a couple of my co-workers, Kristie and Karen, who got alot of high-definition face time tonite on FSN behind the Wild bench. One of the highlights was during the break before the shootout...they seemed to be mimicking the coaches writing out the shootout lineup. Beauty work!

Next on the Docket - Kings @ Wild - Sat 3-15-08
We'll see if the last 2 shootout losses against good teams really were good for the Wild's psyche against the lowly Kings. I'd like to see Josh Harding in net. I expect a win. Wild 4 Kings 1

Big Game Tonite

This morning when I woke up, the sun was shining. Birds were singing. Snow was melting. It's going to be 50 degrees today. The extended time between games and this end to the winter depression will snap the Wizzy out of their funk and I fully expect a return to positive vibes about our favorite squad. Maaartaaay Broduer doesn't stand a chance.

FSN-HD tonite.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Look Ma...a Point!

Sharks @ Wild - 03-09-08 - A View from the Couch
Did anyone catch the NBC game of the week this afternoon? Pittsburgh @ Washington. What an atmosphere it was. The crowd was absolutely into this game. Chanting...cheering...blowing the air horn...all for a team that is 6 points out of a playoff spot. Wait wait wait...I said 6 points out of a playoff spot. You would think that the Xcel Energy Center crowd could do that for a team that is battling to stay in the playoffs.

But the crowd at the X was dead all game. You can let me know if I'm missing something. Maybe KSTP didn't have the crowd microphones on. Sure a shaky goal off Backstrom in the first minute didn't help, but DC crowd saw the Caps give up the first goal too. They still were in it til the end.

12 games left Xcel Energy Center. 12 games left Wild fans. This team needs someone to kick it in the proverbial kiester. The team is disappointed they didn't make a move at the trade deadline? The fans are disappointed they didn't make a move? Move on and help this team get back to the way they were playing 3 weeks ago. STEP IT UP NOW TEAM OF 18,000!

BTW, the Wild were able to scrape a point from the bottom of the bucket today against the Sharks. Brian Rolston scored the tying goal off a couple Sharks defenders with 30 seconds left, and we get a point. Jacques says he's confident the boys are playing well, so I'll take the point and run.

MSHSL State Tournament
State champs are St. Thomas Academy in Class A and Hill Murray completing their unlikely title run in Class AA. Neither game was ever really in doubt. A long weekend of hockey is in the books for another year. Maybe next year Buffalo can get through section 2AA. We're comin Roseau!

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
Colorado lost to Dallas 3-0 (nice work Matt in TX). Also Forsberg has a groin issue. So, by default the Wild have the NW lead again by a point. Bad news is Calgary and Vancouver both have 2 games in hand. We're 3 also 3 points away from dropping out of the playoffs all together.

Next on the Docket - Devils @ Wild - Thurs 3-13-08
Devils have a good team. They're 1st in the east. They have alot of young kids, a few U of North Dakota ties (Zach Parise, Travis Zajac) a couple state of Minnesota ties (Paul Martin, Jamie Langenbrunner), and they have Martin Brodeur. But the Wild have to break out of it eventually. I've got no good reason for it to be this one, except for that I'm a homer. Wild 3 Devils 1

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Potential Hockey Burnout

Wild @ Thrashers - 03-07-08 - A View from the Couch
Watched alot of hockey Friday. MN State High School Tourney Class A in the afternoon, and Class AA, Wild, and Bulldogs at nite. Since I don't have a favorite in the HS tourney, and both my teams lost in the evening, it was kind of exhausting. I could take a break from hockey. But, can't miss the state finals tomorrow...

Wild lose 3-2 in a shootout. Finally got a couple goals on the PP (Rolston and Burns). Should have been a regulation win tho. Backstrom gave up the tying goal with less than a minute to play with Atlanta's goalie pulled. Pretty frustrating, but we did pick up a point. Mark Parrish was a healthy scratch. This after saying on KFAN's PA and Dubay that he hasn't changed his work ethic at all. Hopefully he responds the way Skoula did.

Bulldogs lost to UMTC 4-1. FFx4 through most of that one.

MSHSL State Tournament
The MN High School state finals are set. In Class A, it's Marshall School of Duluth v. St. Thomas Academy. Class AA is Edina v. Hill Murray. Friday's Class AA semifinals were great. Edina beat Benilde St. Margarets in OT, and Hill Murray knocked off the previously unbeaten Roseau. They really dominated the favorite Roseau. Should be a good championship tonite.

For you out-of-towners, you should venture over to b2 networks and watch the  AA championship tonite. It'll cost you $10 but the HS Hockey State tournament here is really a big deal. It's like the equivalent of HS Football in Texas. Fun times. Championship starts at 7 PM.

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
Calgary lost to Nashville in a shootout as well, so they only get 1 point and are tied with the Wild for the NW lead. Calgary still has a game in hand tho. Colorado and Vancouver were off tonite. Colorado is 2 points behind us and Vancouver is 4 points for the final playoff spot. And they also have 2 games in hand.

Next on the Docket - Sharks @ Wild - Sun 3-9-08
Back home to play a really good team. Last time we played the Sharks at home was the infamous Skoula blunder (I know, narrow it down a little). Only remedy I know for hockey burnout is winning Wild hockey, so I think this is the game we show up for and win. Wild 4 Sharks 2

Friday, March 7, 2008

College Hockey Side Note

UMD @ UMTC this weekend. Bulldogs need to show some life. Somehow the Pairwise rankings have us in 13th. That means we would make the NCAA tournament. That's sad, because we're under .500 and can't score.

That said, this weekend's series against the Gophers is big. A UMD sweep would put us in 7th in the WCHA and likely set up for a playoff series v. Wisconsin or Minnesota State. We can play against those teams. Friday is on FSN tape delayed after the Wild, Saturday's is at 7.

96JerseyLogoGo Dogs!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wherefore Art Thou, Powerplay?

Wild @ Hurricanes - 03-06-08 - A Quick View from the Recliner
DVRed tonite's game, and you can generally draw a direct correlation with how fast I watch a DVRed game with how the Wild are playing. Well, I watched tonite's game in about an hour. Wild lose 3-2 in a game that wasn't really all that close, or at least that's how it seemed on FFx4.

They battled back from 2 down to tie it at 2, but Carolina got one midway through the 2nd and that was about it. The powerplay was 0 for 6, and now 0 for 14 in the last 3 games. The powerplay is losing games for the Wild right now. They've gone through these PP droughts before. It's extremely annoying...and this is not a good time.

Wild goals came from Pavol "I Finally Learned to Look For My Shot" Demitra and Mikko Koivu. Aaron Voros needs to stay in the lineup. He brings feistiness that has been missing. The hit on Eric Staal wasn't as bad as it looked, and it fired up both teams. Thugnation needs to stay out of the lineup.

My favorite part of the game was when PMB had to yell at the ref to notice his stick had been broken by a slash from a Carolina player. My next favorite was when they didn't score on the resulting powerplay.

Oh, and there was a Josh Harding sighting. Played ok for his first game in a couple full moons, but didn't have much of an impact. And once again a Minnesota native haunted us. Matt Cullen (Moorhead HS, St. Cloud State) had a goal and an assist.

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
Calgary is off tonite, so they now have a game in hand. At time of post, Vancouver leads Nashville 4-2 in the 1st intermission, and Colorado leads Anaheim 1-0 in the 3rd. Things are gonna get tighter in the NW. And for that matter, in the Western Conference. Wild are gonna have to find something just to make the playoffs.

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Thrashers - Fri 3-7-08
Must win. I'm not sure how they're gonna do it, but the Wild need to beat Atlanta. They're terrible. Wild 2 Thrashers 1

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

60-Goal Season?

Alex Ovechkin scored his 54th goal of the season tonite. With 14 games to go, he only needs 6 to get 60. That would be a huge accomplishment in today's age of defensive hockey.

The question for you is...can he do it? And if so, how impressed will you be?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Wild v. Terry Sawchuk

Blackhawks @ Wild - 3-4-08 - View from the Couch
Uuuuuugh. Why does the Wild make every goalie we play look like a cross of Dominic Hasek, Patrick Roy, and Martin Brodeur? At least we could score on Roy. Seriously...we may just need to score a few more goals to make a run in the playoffs. Or to make the playoffs.

Ok, maybe I've gotten the frustration out of my system. Wild lose to the Blackhawks again, this time 4-2. First win at the X for the Blackhawks since 2002. They 'Hawks are playing do or die right now, trying to get back in the playoff picture, so you expected a hard-fought game. Wild played decent. Really can't fault them on 2 of the goals I guess. One was a deflection. Another was a nice mid-air tip that almost was a high-stick. Still, the big problem here is goal scoring. Again the Wild out-chanced the opposing team but can not bury anything. Pavol Demitra's goal in the 1st was good...a pretty cross-ice pass from Gabby. The other goal was pretty nice too...Kim Johnsson cut through the 'Hawks defense and Stephane Veilleux cleaned it up. Still, 2 goals won't get the job done.

They had so many chances. Gabby and Demo had a 2 on 0 they couldn't put in. They crashed the net nicely in the 3rd. But it's just not goin' in right now. That trend needs to change now.


  • Wild played an inspired first 6 minutes of the 1st. Nice departure from the uninspiring 1st periods we've seen of late.
  • Eric Belanger got a goal. For the 'Hawks...What if he would have had his stick on the ice for Gabby's dish with 15 seconds left?
  • Good to see Johnsson figure in the offense.
  • How come I've never heard of Chicago F Dustin Byfuglien? He's from Roseau. He's 6'3". He's 250 lbs. He's got 14 goals this season. He also got the GW tonite. Go back to Roseau Dustin!
  • What's Chris Simon adding to this team that Aaron Voros wasn't?
  • Obviously I don't know what Gabby said to the ref to get the unsportsmanlike penalty late in the game, but that's the 2nd time he's done that this season, at least. Not a great trait of a captain, especially late in the game when you're pressing for a tying goal, to have your most offensive player in the box.

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
Back to a tie for 1st in the NW. Calgary beat Columbus 1-0 and Colorado beat Vancouver 2-1. Colorado is now 3 pts behind us. BTW, Peter Forsberg made his 2008 debut tonite for Colorado.

Next on the Docket - Wild @ Hurricanes - Thurs 3-6-08
Carolina leads the Southeast division by 3 pts over Washington, so they're a playoff team. They play at Atlanta tomorrow so it'll be a back to back for them, but the Wild can't win in that situation of late. Rod Brind'Amour is on the DL with knee surgery, but Eric Staal has 31 goals and Cam Ward is having a nice comeback year. Wild will need to play a quality game to get this one - maybe even score a few goals. Hurricanes 4 Wild 2

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Suddenly, Skoula is a Hero!

Kings @ Wild - 3-2-08 - A View from the Couch
Wasn't impressive, but the Wild come away with 2 pts tonite with a 2-1 OT win. Captain Gabby with a goal and an assist in his 1st game ever as Wild captain, and the much maligned Martin Skoula with the game winner in OT. The team played a pretty strong game defensively. LA's only goal came on a nice individual effort from a bad angle. Niklas Backstrom continued to be strong in net. James Shepard had another strong game on the puck. All in all, 2 pts is 2 pts. And gross Marc Crawford goes home a loser.

Fight to Hang the 1st Banner
Calgary won last nite, so coming in to the game we were tied for 1st in the NW. With the win, the Wild are still atop all alone, albeit only by 2 points. Vancouver lost to Chicago, so they're now 5 pts back. And now Ryan Smyth is hurt for Colorado, so we'll see what that does to their playoff hopes.

Bulldogs v. Fighting Sioux
UMD swept this weekend by UND. This was expected, but at least the Dogs finally scored after not scoring in 11 periods of WCHA play. They finally got one today with about 6 minutes left in the 3rd, but the Sioux tied it and won it in OT. Coach Sandelin should hit the bricks.

Next on the Docket - Blackhawks @ Wild - Tues 3-4-08
Payback time for the bad game we played a couple weeks ago in Chicago. Another important game to pick up 2 pts however they may come. I still say we're due for a shutout. Wild 3 Hawks 0

I've added another widget to the blog's right sidebar - GoogleTalk. If I'm online, it'll say I'm available and you can click on it to chat. You don't need a GoogleTalk account, it'll just open in a new window for you. So if I'm available, pop in and say "whaddup!"

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Gabby Gets the "C"

Marian Gaborik Named March Captian
Thought I would chime in on this. I've read a couple bloggers today talking about how it's a bad thing that Gabby is captain for the first time in his career. I can understand those sentiments. Gabby often talks like he is more important than the team. Often he acts depressed if he isn't scoring. He isn't what I think of when I think "team."

But it seems this is part of Coach Lemaire's mind game. Seems he is doing it to motivate Gabby. Gabby likes to be important. We need Gabby motivated to make a playoff run. Coach Lemaire knows how to motivate. So if this is it, I'm all for it. No point in berading the point that Gabby isn't a team guy if it will help string together 3 months of wins.