Thursday, November 27, 2008

3 is not Enough

Stars @ Wild – Wed Nov 26 – View from the Kitchen on the Laptop
Remember when…remember when if the Wild were up a goal or two in the 3rd period they were unbeatable? I miss the good old days. I don’t much enjoy feeling like a game is well in hand and then having to deal with a loss.

Wild had a 3-1 lead tonite v. Dallas, at home, but after two disallowed goals at the expense of Mikko Koivu, Dallas scored a couple non-descript goals, and eventually took the lead. The Wild played a very good game. They pretty much owned Dallas G Marty Turco, who looked shaky all nite. One of Koivu’s disallowed goals was just a shot that hit the crossbar and never went in, but the 2nd disallowed goal was after Turco had knocked the net off its moorings after “stumbling.” Seemed like after the 2nd disallowed goal the Wild lost all momentum, and they didn’t mount much after until a flurry with 15 seconds to go. They hit a post and had several point-blank choices as time expired.

Mikko Koivu played a very strong game tonite. He hit a post, hit a crossbar, and had the disallowed goal on the dislodged net. Didn’t much notice former Wild F Mark Parrish for Dallas. Didn’t much notice former Stars F Antti Miettinen for the Wild. Apparently Miettinen was a fluke earlier in the year.

Very disappointing loss after controlling the game against a struggling Stars team. And Dallas continues to be a mystery the Wild can not solve.

Next on the Docket – Lightning @ Wild – Fri Nov 28
Wes Walz day! The Wild will be honoring Wes Walz, who is an assistant coach for the Lightning, prior to the game Friday afternoon. Should be festive. Sort of bittersweet for me, because for the last I don’t know how many years me or someone in the family has been in the building for the day-after-Thanksgiving game, but we will not be going this year. Oh well. At least it’s scheduled to be in HD on FS North. Wild should be able to rebound after tonite’s disappointing loss. They have been very successful against the Eastern Conference so far this season, especially against the Southeast Division. Wild 2 Lightning 1

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Offensive Explosion!

Capitals @ Wild - Mon 11-24 - View from My Recliner
Tonite, with arguably the best offensive player in the NHL in town in Alex Ovechkin for Washington, the Wild found their scoring touch. A touch that has been missing for quite some time. 2 goals from Cal Clutterbuck (his 1st goals ever in the NHL), a goal from Marek Zidlicky, and James Sheppard's 1st of the year. Wild win 4-3 over a very good Capitals team. The Caps did not wake up until they were down 4-0, and scored a couple goals late in the 3rd period, the 2nd of which was a nasty wrister by Ovechkin with about 3 and a half minutes left. A penalty call on Marek Zidlicky added more drama, and Nicklas Backstrom (the Caps forward) beat Niklas Backstrom (the Wild goalie) and the Wild had to hang on for dear life.

Up until the last 4 minutes this was a very nicely-played game by the Wizzy. They seemed to have alot more jump and confidence than in recent games. The much-maligned Pierre-Marc Bouchard even started zipping around a little more in the offensive zone after he assisted on Sheppard's goal. I was about ready to call for the end of the scoring funk, but the way the game ended they lost that momentum. The funk will continue.

The Most Important Thing
What's the most important thing? The Wild were able to beat former Avalanche G Jose Theodore, who was possibly the biggest reason the Wild were eliminated in the 1st round of the playoffs last season. Excersise those demons!

Next on the Docket - Stars @ Wild - Wed Turkey Day Eve
Tough to say what will happen Saturday. Wild found some goals tonite but generally do not play so well against Dallas. Their record is slightly better at home than in Dallas however. Dallas lost to Philly tonite, and recently lost their heart and soul Brendan Morrow for the season. They're in a bit of a funk. I'm going Wild 3 Stars 2

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bulldog Hockey Nite!

University North Dakota Fighting Sioux @ University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs – Sat 11-22-08 – View from Section 15 in the DECC

No Wild recap here tonite, I did not see the Wild’s 2-1 loss to St. Louis. I was in beautiful Duluth and in the house for UMD’s 3-1 win over UND.

Actually the outcome of the game was sort of secondary. I humbly accept the opportunity to bring home bragging rights for a while over my Sioux-fan wife and mother-in-law, but tonite was more about our fledgling family. You see this was our 1st opportunity to get away since Adriana was born in July, just the 3 of us as a family. It was much-needed. It was also Adriana’s 1st trip to Duluth, her 1st hotel stay, and her 1st real hockey game. And while I enjoyed the game and think it was the best game I’ve seen the Dogs play in quite some time, I mostly enjoyed the vibe of being a family.


Adriana was really good through the whole game. She was wide-eyed watching all the sights during most of the 1st period, got a little fussy in the 1st intermission, slept through most of the 2nd period, and stayed happy chewing on every last toy we brought in the 3rd. We were pleasantly surprised that we were able to stay for the whole game. And now if she just she sleeps through the nite in her pack & play it continue to be a most successful weekend.

Hooked on Canal Park
We are staying in Canal Park, and it has really worked out nice. Normally we don’t stay in Canal Park because it’s so much more expensive than other places like downtown, but we wanted the extra room so we went for the Comfort Suites. It was relatively warm (upper 20s) so we walked to the DECC from the hotel. Probably the coldest air Adriana has ever breathed, but she handled it well. Then after the game I walked over to Grandma’s to get take out to bring back to the hotel. Beauty! We just may have to stay in Canal Park all the time when we come to Duluth.

Quick Note about the School
I think most people that read this blog know that I went to UMD circa 1996. Today I made a quick trip up to campus to find some Bulldog paraphernalia for Adriana. Goodness has campus changed…and for the better. There is a new science building, new library, new dorm building, Grigg’s Field has been renovated and is awfully fancy now, and the Bulldog Shop is bigger and actually has some really nice UMD apparel and the like. The lack of stylin’ UMD clothing has always peeved me, and I was very surprised to see alot of great stuff, even UMD UnderArmour! I’m glad to see they finally figured it out. When the new arena opens at the DECC I hope it adds to this “big school” feel and also to the hockey program’s success.

UMD is almost all growns-up!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Wild @ Penguins – Tues Nov 18 – View from my Recliner
If I hear another announcer say “Goligoski” as long as I live I may throw up in my mouth and I can not be trusted to keep it there. 

How’s that for a pleasant opening?

I don’t know what it is about that name, but it makes me cringe. For those that don’t know, Alex Gologoski is a former UMTC Gopher that apparently is now in his rookie season for the Pittsburgh Penguins. And tonite on Vs I think they said his name about 30 times. Perhaps it’s my hatred of Gopher hockey and hearing the MN media (think Wally Shaver) say his name a half-a-million times. Maybe it’s jealousy and envy…how bout if my UMD Bulldogs picked up some talent and actually won a game in the WCHA this season? (As a side note, I’m packing up the family for UND v. UMD @ the DECC Saturday. More on that later in the week.)

Ok ok, on to tonite’s game. One word…Niklas Backstrom. He was absolutely stellar tonite for the Wizzy, in a 2-1 shootout win over the Pens. For the most part the Wild did a great job bottling up Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Stall, and the rest of Pittsburgh’s high-flying offense (don’t forget Pascal Dupuis). But when the powder blue 3rd-jersey-wearing Pens got scoring chances, Backstrom made every big save. He was very calm and positionally sound throughout the nite, made big save after big save, and got the Wild to the shootout, and then made stops on Petr Sykora, Goligoski (blech), and Sidney Crosby in the shootout. Last season I made posts about how Backstrom wasn’t that great and letting in soft goals and biting it in the shootout. This year, exact opposite. He has been unbeatable in the shootout and is clearly the Wild’s MVP so far in this young season.

Matt Cooke, the former Vancouver Canuck and Wild fan-favorite-to-hate, scored the lone goal on Backstrom on a loose puck right in front of the Wild cage minder, just 10 seconds after Penguins F Mike Zigomanis scored for the Wild. Wait…huh? Yes…Zigomanis (apparently the NHL faceoff leader) won a defensive zone faceoff against Wild F Mikko Koivu, but the puck bounced straight in on Pens G Dany Sabourin, who let the puck trickle through his five hole for the Wild’s only goal of regulation. Koivu got credit for the goal. Really…scoring is that bad for the Wild right now. In the shootout, Wild D Marek Zidlicky scored the only goal the Wild would need on a nifty move, the Wild escape with 2 points, and that’s the important thing.

This is the type of game the Wild must play to be successful. It is a replay of the early years of Wild hockey, where they play strong defensively, keep the scoring low, and hope to get a few bounces. I’m not saying the Wild were an offensive juggernaut the last couple years, but right now they need to be VERY defensive because there just is no scoring in this lineup right now with no Marian Gaborik. And if the national media calls it a trapping system again I’ll probably have a Goligoski reaction.

Next on the Docket – Canucks @ Wild – Thurs Nov 20
Wild return home to continue a nice long stretch of home games, and they will renew the rivalry with Vancouver. They played a very competitive, intense, and hard-checking game in Vancouver a couple weeks ago, but came out on the losing end, I believe by 1 goal. I would expect the same Thursday, except I’m looking for a win this time. Wild 3 Canucks 1

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Revenge of the Power Play

Coyotes @ Wild - Thurs 11-13 - View from the Recliner
Remember 2 weeks ago when the Wild went 0 for 10 or something like that on the PP v. Montreal? Tonite was the inverse if that game. The Wild scored all 4 of their goals on the PP including 2 5-on-3 nasty one-timer goals by D Marek Zidlicky. Those goals were Zidlicky's 1st MN Wild goals. Andrew Brunette and Eric Belanger scored the other goals for the Wild and Wild G Niklas Backstrom was solid again en-route to a shutout; 4-0 final.

The Wizzy pretty much dominated the game from the start and did not let the 'yotes in the game. Apparently the long layoff and line-shuffling that coach Jacques did paid off. Although I did find myself grumbling a few times when they didn't finish scoring opportunities. I was a little worried early that it could be one of those games we dominate but lose because we lack finishing ability. But the powerplay clicked and Phoenix kept putting us on the powerplay.

Brent Burns returned to the lineup at forward and Owen Nolan played the entire game. Nolan had a very strong game. He had a ton of chances and I hope he cab stay healthy for a while to give the Wild some scoring depth.

Andrew Brunette quietly has 6 goals already. 30 goals from Bruno this season would be huge.

Wild take on the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday nite at the X. It's a game they should win and hopefully we'll see them string a few wins together and build some momentum going into December.

Oh Yeah, it IS Hockey Season!

I really lose train of thought on the Wizzy during these long layoffs. Today I forced myself to listen to the Pondcasts just to refresh my memory about what's going on with the team. So it sounds like Brent Burns will play tonite v. Phoenix and maybe Owen Nolan, although Nolan probably just for 2 shifts before he gets hurt again. But that should be good for the offense. Burnsie is actually a big part of our offensive attack.

Tonite's game at the X is scheduled to be in HD on FSN, so I'm looking forward to getting reaquainted with my favorite team. Should be a good nite of puck!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rivalry Renewed

Wild @ Canucks - Sat 11-8 - View from my Recliner

Tonite I'm testing out blogging from my iPhone so please excuse any typos. So far, meh. Apparently Blogger's editor doesn't work with iPhone so I have to post it in HTML, which isn't a big deal but it is time-consuming to switch between the keyboard layouts. We'll see. On to the game.

Wild lose to the Canucks tonite 2-0. The game was actually pretty entertaining even tho the Wild could not get anything by Canuck G Roberto Luongo. It was a hard-hitting affair. Several Wild players were finishing checks in a way you don't typically see from the Wizzy. They also peppered Luongo through most of the game, and especially in the 3rd period. Luongo was exceptional, making a handful of saves when it seemed the Wild were set up to tie the game at 1. But late in the 3rd one of the Sedin twins found the other Sedin and that Sedin scored to ice the win for Vancouver. Anyone know what Backstrom was trying to do on that play? Because he basically fell over.

Oh I'm sure most of you saw that former Wild F Mark Parrish had a hat trick in his 1st game for the Dallas Stars. My cousin on TX basically gave me play by play. His quote was "Parrish is a beast!" =) Good for Parrish tho. He's a class act.

Not much else from here. Mostly because I've been working on typing this for a half hour and all I've got is one tiny paragraph. If anyone knows of any good blogging apps for iPhone please let me know!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Trend Continues

Wild @ Sharks – Tues 11-4 – View from the Couch and Ba Ba Cleaning Land
Quite the nite tonite. I’m tired. Barack Obama is the President Elect. That’s a big deal. The Wild lost again to one of those “good teams.” That’s getting to be standard.

The Wild again were unable to beat one of the upper-echelon teams tonite in a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks. Even tho they kept the score tied at 1 going into the 3rd period, it was the classic Wild feeling of “we ain’t got no offense.” The Wild were blown away in shots tonite, 49-24. I think I noticed about 3 of those Wild shots as offensive pressure was short-lived for the Wizzy. The lone Wild goal came in the 1st period when just-called-up Wild F Krystofer Kolanos knocked home a rebound that came off Sharks G Evgeni Nabokov.

There are a few things that are really hurting the Wild right now…

  • No Marian Gaborik
  • Injuries – Gabby, Nolan, Burns, etc.
  • Young players called up to replace the injured players

Still no official word on the MN Senate seat between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. I’m sick of Passolt and Robinson babbling on the Number 9 and I’ve got an early meeting tomorrow AM that I need to be coherent for, so that’s I’ve got for tonite. Wild are back in action Thurs v. Colorado, our 1st action v. the Northwest Division this season.

Hoping and praying our country has inspired and stalwart leadership in the next 4 years…