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


  1. Quit hating on the Gophers. Just because your Bulldogs couldn't beat St. Mary's School for the Blind doesn't mean you can trash a Gopher program who consistently beats up on the Junior team you call Bulldogs.

  2. Marsha Marsha Marsha. I remember when the Bulldog fans were chirping last year about how Nisky was the greatest thing to leave the WCHA since Chris Chellios. I heard many times that he was better than EJ, Paul Martin, and especially Goli. Well looks like Goli is going to be quite the player...not taking anything away from Nisky, i always love seeing MN kids doing well but i am glad the bulldog faithful can eat soem crow.

  3. Hey now, no hating on the Gophers!

  4. Look...I'm a Bulldog fan. So if I hate on the Gophers it's because I'm a fan of another team. Just the same as I hate on Roberto Luongo or Joe Sakic or Jerome Iginla, or anyone the Wild play against. They're all clearly great players, but because I'm a Wild fan, I rip them.

    Also, if you notice in my post, I'm clearly aware of UMD's failure to establish a consistant winner. I did not trash the Gopher program; they're success is undeniable. As far as Niskanen goes, when only a handful of UMD players become successful in the NHL of course we're going to go a little overboard when it happens.

    It's all relative.

  5. Thank you for bringing back the prediction segment. I really like your insight on the predictions. You were wrong, but I do enjoy this segment. Let's keep track. Gorg v Goldbergish.

  6. Oh, and by the way. I went to the U. I have played on the sheet at the old U. I am a certified Gopher fan. But let's not overstate the significance of NCAA hockey domination--from any era. There are about 6 teams in the nation that have a shot at national championship "glory". GO LONGHORN HOCKEY!

  7. Lets face the facts people....jeremy is right on the money with this one. Goligoski, or goli as some say, is a horrible name to have to hear over and over again. Sounds like some sort of disease actually. The U of M is completely overrated in MN, if not the country. You wouldn't know that there were 3 other teams in the WCHA in the state. Gopher fans always have to have something to whine about guess this week its goligoski. GO SIOUX!!!

  8. Haha, I was just teasing, Jeremy - hate all you want ;-)


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