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Hello, Wilderness! As you all know, Ger and I swapped spots (just for this week though) for the Noon Number, so here I am today taking his spot. I will still be doing my usual Thursday Number post, so you'll get the pleasure of seeing ...
Hello, Wilderness! As you all know, Ger and I swapped spots (just for this week though) for the Noon Number, so here I am today taking his spot. I will still be doing my usual Thursday Number post, so you'll get the pleasure of seeing it from me 2 days in a row. The start to this season hasn't been boding well with many Wild fans, but don't worry too much yet. (I know that may sound crazy to some of you with the way these games have ended) For today's number, I have compiled a list of my thoughts about the season so far (5 good things and 5 bad things, making that 10 things total). The Good: 1. Over these last 3 games, we have outshot and outplayed our opponents for most of the game. This is good, but outshooting and outplaying the opposition don't lead us to wins. Goals do. 2. Our power play units have performed better than they have last season. PPGs are a great thing, but how about some 5-on-5 goals? 3. Granlund has been improving since last season. He hasn't made giant leaps and bounds from where has was last season, but he still is improving nevertheless. 4. Parise (and many others) are taking chances and netting goals for us. Sure, it's great that were getting goals when we can, but that hasn't been enough to get us the W. 5. Brodziak has had a decent start to the season. You may agree or disagree. Post your thoughts below. The Bad: 1. Our penalty kill has been a mixed bag. In our first 2 games, they were ok (until they led to goals), but it was just garbage last night for the most part. 2. Dump and chase! Why are they still resorting to this so much?! 3. Passing In our first and second games, our passing was spectacular for the most part. Last night was a whole different story. If one of our players can't find an open lane to pass to someone, then that's when I believe it's still ok for them to resort to dump-and-chase. 4. We have given up too many unneeded penalties. One of the keys to being successful in a game is keeping your players out of the box as much as possible. In our first game, we were ok with that, but over these last 2 games, we have drawn up WAY too many penalties and that has bit us in the butt. 5. Our goaltending needs some work. Last night, Backstrom got injured again (I can't believe this happened right at the beginning of the season) after giving up 2 PPGs. He has also had some other unlucky bounces in our other 2 games before this one. In my opinion, Harding is decent, but Backstrom could use some work (perhaps this is because of his recovery from his surgery this summer?). That was my list about my thoughts of our season thus far. What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments below. Perhaps I'll agree with you, perhaps I won't. Either way I would love to hear what you guys think about this young season so far. More from Hockey Wilderness: Minnesota Wild @ Nashville Predators: Different day, same story Noon Number (October 9th): 1982 Who Can the Minnesota Wild Least Afford to Lose? Wilderness Walk: 10-8-2013: Game Day Edition The Early, Early, Early Awards and Power Rankings
about 2 hours ago
The Wild fell to 0-1-2 on the season Tuesday night after losing to the Nashville Predators. What is more unimpressive is that they lost in a span of 6 minutes in the first period. After Kyle Brodziak took a two minute minor for interfere...
The Wild fell to 0-1-2 on the season Tuesday night after losing to the Nashville Predators. What is more unimpressive is that they lost in a span of 6 minutes in the first period. After Kyle Brodziak took a two minute minor for interference and Mikko Koivu followed with a tripping minor just fifteen seconds later, the Wild would surrender two goals with the 2-man disadvantage. So what went wrong with the suddenly meek Wild penalty kill? Could anything have been done to change the outcome? The first goal from the Predators would come off the stick of Filip Forsberg. The Wild were in a zone-triangle for their penalty kill formation. Wild players on the ice were Keith Ballard, Torrey Mitchell, and Matt Cooke. The scoring play would start immediately off of the faceoff after Koivu's minor was called. Nashville would then go to work moving the puck around the triangle in the offensive zone. Cooke and Mitchell would be the high forwards to put pressure on the point-men for the Predators power play. After moving the puck around the perimeter, Seth Jones would eventually get the puck at the left point. Now, since it was a 5-on-3 advantage, the defensemen for Nashville, like most teams do, collapse down to the top of the faceoff circles. Jones would pass it to Forsberg, who was on the left wing side of the net. The pass would draw Matt Cooke down low to help support his defenseman and also guard against the cross-ice pass, because by this time, Shea Weber has rotated to the weak-side wing position to help create mismatches on that side on the ice. The pass would then go from Forsberg back to the point where Jones would take a right-handed shot (which means his release was right in the middle of the slot). The puck would get partially blocked and start to bounce towards the net. Ballard and Hornquist would fight to get possession of the puck out in front of the net. The puck would eventually end up on Forsberg's stick and he had about as easy of a slam dunk you could get for his first career goal. Backstrom went down into the butterfly on the initial shot and could not shift over in time to make a save on Forsberg's shot. It's hard to place blame on this goal because the Wild were down two men and the fact that the initial shot was partially blocked and ended up on the tape of a guy who was just standing at the doorstep. Sure, Backstrom could have moved faster in his attempt to block the Forsberg shot, but it would have taken super human athletic ability to stop that one. Like I said, it was as easy as a slam dunk as you'll see. For the second goal, the Wild would only be short-handed by one man. This one just happened to be a nicely placed shot under the crossbar that Backstrom really could not have done anything to do about it. What about his penalty killers? What could they have done about it? The PK unit for the Wild consisted of the Mikael Granlund, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and Jonas Brodin. Right before the goal was scored, the box for the Wild had collapsed way down low as the puck was behind the net and in the left corner. Mike Fisher would come out from behind the net with the puck and dish it from the left corner all the way out to the point. Because the pass was sent to the blue line so quickly, Granlund had to hustle out to apply pressure and over-committed to Matt Cullen, who passed it to Colin Wilson. The over-committal of Granlund would take him out of position, which gave Wilson time to wall down the side wall and pick his spot for a shot. Ryan Suter, who was positioned in front of Backstrom trying to protect against the backdoor pass, was caught in No Man's Land. The shot would get through Suter and pick the upper left corner over Backstrom. The second goal is really tough because the Predators were able to gain the lead rather quickly after the Wild opened the scoring with a power play goal of their own. The shot by Wilson was a real snipe. It took some serious accuracy to place the puck where he did. Backst
about 4 hours ago
The Wild, yet again, lost another game they should have won. And this time, they don't even have a point to show for it. After striking first with a power play goal by Zach Parise, they decided to follow that up by giving the Predators...
The Wild, yet again, lost another game they should have won. And this time, they don't even have a point to show for it. After striking first with a power play goal by Zach Parise, they decided to follow that up by giving the Predators a 5-on-3 because of... reasons? The Nashville Predators scored two goals on that power play, and the game was pretty much done with when, of all people, Eric Nystrom got a penalty shot* on a play that knocked Niklas Backstrom out of the game. And again, of all people, Eric Nystrom potted his penalty shot against Josh Harding, and that was it. Spurgeon scored a too-little-too-late power play goal to get it within one, but other than that: BLERGH. The Wild are now 0-1-2. And while that's not the worst thing in the world, as the Wild still have 79 games to make the playoffs and have appeared to dictate possession in every game for the most part, concerns will definitely start creeping in. With Peter Laviolette fired for an 0-3 start, you have to start wondering at what point the Wild are going to start looking at making a coaching change with Mike Yeo? I hope it's not soon, as I don't think that you can really point to him for these losses. In fact, when you look at a power play that is clicking on more than one line, and the fact that the Wild are possessing the puck, you can see good progress with this team. But when you're a coach on the hot seat, the only progress most people care about is in the "W" department, and that's what the Wild are short on right now. My guess is that he makes it to Thursday's game against the Jets, but the Wild have to step it up, and quick, if they want to see their head coach retain his job. *I didn't see the penalty shot play, so I can't confirm whether it was an atrocious call or not, but at this point, I don't care. Win the game. Wild News Game Recaps Backstrom hurt as Wild lose in Nashville | Star Tribune- Not mentioned above, but yes, Backstrom is injured right now. The specifics aren't yet known at the time of this writing, nor is the length of time he's expected to be missing, but we'll get that info to you as soon as possible. As you saw tonight, Harding is a capable goaltender, even if there are health concerns. Darcy Kuemper has done nothing but impress at every level he's played at, so I'm not panicking yet, even if Backstrom misses, say, a month. Perhaps an update will come in the post-game blog? Penalties doom Wild in 3-2 loss to Nashville, Backstrom injured to make for a painful evening- When you start feeling too down, you can always scroll down to the end and find out that 2013 5th-round draft pick Dylan Labbe has 6 points in his first 7 games at the Q. That's good, right? Hitting The Post: Post-Game Drunk Haiku Reax: Wild @ Perdators, 10/8/13- In case you need your haiku fix. Other News Nashville coach asked fans to boo Suter in his return | Star Tribune- Only 12 more years of this left, barring the earth crashing into the sun, Suter retiring or being traded in the next 11 years, or the complete collapse of society. Ryan Suter boooooed by teammates during morning skate | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com- That's a cute story that's made cuter if the Wild win the game. Minnesota Wild need Jason Zucker to step up in Charlie Coyle's absence - TwinCities.com- It's true the Wild need him to step up. Step up he did not. Minnesota Wild want Dany Heatley to play faster - TwinCities.com- Them and every other Wild fan right now. Andrew Brunette and the Minnesota Wild Power Play- The bright spot for the Minnesota Wild right now: Whatever the power play is doing right now, it's working. Tending the Fields First Round Bust: FRB Top 20 Prospects: #2...Jason Zucker- First Round Bust turns it attention to Jason Zucker, who made his 2013-14 debut today. Played a very quiet 13 minutes. Off the Trail The Weekend in Hockey: Three Games in, Philly Makes a Change - The Triangle Blog - Grantland- Down Goes Brown looks at Laviolette's firing, and more. L
about 6 hours ago
Oct 8, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators center Matt Cullen (7) tries to stop Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu (9) during the third period at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators beat the Wild 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Mike Strasin...
Oct 8, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators center Matt Cullen (7) tries to stop Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu (9) during the third period at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators beat the Wild 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Mike Strasinger-USA TODAY Sports The Minnesota Wild remain winless on the season, falling to the Nashville Predators by a 3-2 final score. The loss drops with Wild’s record to 0-1-2 and each game has gotten worse.  Game 1 was a shootout loss.  Game 2 was an overtime  loss and now game 3 was a defeat in regulation.  The third straight loss to start the season is bad, but the loss of Niklas Backstrom to a leg injury may be worse.  Backstrom suffered the injury when the Predator’s Eric Nystrom was hauled down Keith Ballard by on a break away attempt and slid into Backstrom forcing the Wild net minder’s led awkwardly into the goal upright.  Backstrom stayed down for a time and had to be helped off the ice.  Backup goalie Josh Harding came into the game cold and surrendered a penalty shot goal to Nystrom.  That goal made the score 3-1 and that was it for scoring by Nashville.  Harding shut out the Predators for the rest of the game turning away 19 of 20 shots for a .950 save percentage.  When asked about Backstrom’s injury in his post game news conference, Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo would only characterize the injury as ” a lower body injury, that will be further examined when the team returns to St. Paul”  Here’s to hoping the injury isn’t serious and Backstrom doesn’t miss an extended period of time or any time for that matter. The game started off well enough with good puck movement and lots of energy from the Wild.  Zach Parise opened the scoring for Minnesota taking a slick feed from Mikko Koivu and beating Predator’s goalie Pekka Rinne for a power play goal just over 4 minutes into the first period.  That lead wouldn’t last long though as Kyle Brodziak and Koivu ended up in the penalty just 21 seconds apart giving Nashville an extended 5 on 3 power play.  The Predators didn’t waste any time scoring on both the 5 on 3 and 5-4 power plays to take the lead, a lead they would not relinquish.  The first Nashville goal was scored by Filip Forsberg, his first in the NHL.  Rookie Seth Jones picked up an assist primary assistn the play, the first point of his NHL career.  The Predators second goal, again a power play marker, came from the stick of Colin Wilson.  Former Wild player Matt Cullen had an assist on the goal along with Mike Fisher.  The third Predator goal came courtesy of the Nystrom penalty shot, making the score 3-1 just 11:14 into the 1st period.  The score would remain the same for the rest of the 1st period and at the end of 1 the shot totals read Wild 13, Predators 10. In the second period the Wild made it a one goal game with yet another power play goal, this one by Jared Spurgeon.  With the Preds Filip Forsberg in the box for hooking on Mikael Granlund,  Spurgeon took a feed from Nino Neiderreiter and buried it to bring the Wild to within a goal.  Mikael Granlund had the second assist on the goal.  That would conclude the scoring for the game.  Minnesota ended up with a total of 35 shots on goal to the Predators 24.  This makes the 3rd straight game in which the Wild has out shot their opponent and failed to earn the win.  The other bright spot for the Wild is the power play units.  Minnesota has scored 4 time with the man advantage in the last two games.  In his post game comments Wild Head Coach Yeo said, “The power play has scored some big goals for us.” He added, “The bottom line is we have to find a way to win.”   The Wild’s power play may be clicking early in the season but the penalty kill is struggling, allowing 4 goals on 13 chances.  After three games Minnesota’s PK ranks 27th in the NHL at 60% while the power play ranks third at 38.5%.  The bottom line for the Wild is a few critic
about 10 hours ago
Mason here with 5-7-5 from good ol' 952. Another Wild season, another bastardization of the haiku form. Tonight I got all extra far-East and attempted writing whilst challenging my drunken balance atop a yoga ball. Like a doosh. I have n...
Mason here with 5-7-5 from good ol' 952. Another Wild season, another bastardization of the haiku form. Tonight I got all extra far-East and attempted writing whilst challenging my drunken balance atop a yoga ball. Like a doosh. I have no idea why. Ask Sierra Nevada Tumbler why.Coupled with all the beer and core-engagement, it certainly felt like a challenging game for the Wild.Ya know, the challenge Wild players faced while playing in awe amidst the Wild-fan-anointed savior that is Jason Zucker.Ya know, the challenge of refereeing that lead to a weak 5-on-3 and a penalty shot which somehow resulted from a Predator running and injuring Backstrom.Ya know, the challenge of an ice cold goalie coming in for that BS PS, and, upon giving up the goal, the subsequent Predator fans announcing to said cold goalie (who is overcoming all odds while playing the highest level of hockey in the world with M.-MFn-S.) "YOU SUCK."Ya know, all that.Challenges schmallenges. Try writing shitfaced haiku about an 0-3 team on a birthing ball. Blossoms and italics a'ho!---Beware old castoffs.Mr. October OctobersFor the enemy.Just gonna say it:I’d watch Jamie Hersch and WalzPre-game… alllll niiiight looong.Already sick ofCommercials I’ll be sick ofFor the whole season.Who boos anymore?Booing is so plebian—[Cooke takes the ice.] BOOOOOooooo…Fighting should be bannedCuz fights as boring as thatCan cause concussions.Lapanta utters“Forsberg” and my spine flutters,So deep is the hate.Wary, do I goOut on a plumb blossom limb:5 on 3s are bad.This Perds stubbornness,Don’t they know Zucker’s playing?Not the chosen one?!Though a goal we have,The new Aways betray usWhen goals are against.It all reminds me…Calming summers in Nippon‘Cept with more sucking.Only fools seek Hellfire.Far more call for fire on Yeo.Still idiots though.---"Art is dead!" they say.A great spring is upon us.Twit blossoms abound.Forego 5-7-5For characters 1-4-0.Twitter... new haiku?---Hope too high to dare—Vengence for thine wronged goalie.The Man Stallion.OR TAKE A MFn SLASHING PENALTY (my one haiku form veto)---Mr. OctoberStills speaks with a reverenceFor Minnesota.Like Walz, like Brunette,Hendrickson, of course Bomber,Cullen will return.---All hope for haiku…Lost. All energy, effortOn this yoga ball.
about 16 hours ago
The first period started off with a bang. Ryan Suter sent a nice pass to Mikko Koivu who got the puck to the front of the net for a tip in from Zach Parise on the powerplay. Shortly afterwords, Kyle Brodziak took an interference penalty...
The first period started off with a bang. Ryan Suter sent a nice pass to Mikko Koivu who got the puck to the front of the net for a tip in from Zach Parise on the powerplay. Shortly afterwords, Kyle Brodziak took an interference penalty, which in and of itself wouldn't have been bad. But about 20 second into that, Koivu took a stupid penalty that gave the predators a 5-3 powerplay. The first goal gave Niklas Backstrom no chance to stop. The second goal had Backstrom out of position with a wide open net behind him. Made for a very easy goal from Filip Forsberg. The powerplay seems to have done a complete 180 from last season, but it appears that the penalty kill has taken a steep nosedive. However, the silver lining is that the Wild again seemed to have possession of the puck for the majority of the period. To make matters worse, Backstrom got his knee crunched in horrible fashion, and was forced to leave the game. From the looks of his injury, Backstrom may be out for a while. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the Wild to call up Darcy Kuemper. Josh Harding came in cold and faced Eric Nystrom on a penalty shot, which any hockey fan knows isn't going to end well. The second period saw the baby-faced brigade getting on the board with a goal from Jared Spurgeon and cutting the Predators lead down to one. Pekka Rinne seemed to have Parise's number after the first goal, and he couldn't seem to get one through the team. Rich Clune decided it would be a good idea to run over Josh Harding, and then the Preds announcers decided that Harding was obviously faking any sort of injury. Classy organization right there. But again, this is from the same organization who admits that they are leading fans in the "Ryan Suter left us and you should boo him cause it's not like our captain signed an offer sheet with another team or anything". Parise took a really bad slashing penalty right before the second period ended, which allowed the Preds to open up the third on a powerplay. Luckily, the Wild were able to kill that off, bringing them to a whopping 5 for 9 kills. The rest of the third was the storyline of the Wild season so far. Try, try and try, and receive nothing. The numbers are good, the results are not. Brodziak and Zenon Konopka had excellent games. Granlund, with the exception of his faceoff wins had a terrific game as well. It's ok to be frustrated folks. But freaking out over THREE games in an 82 game season is way too extreme. Five Questions: 1. Both teams are looking for their first win. Who puts in the work to get it done? Nashville gets the win, even though the Wild did most of the hard work tonight. 2. Mikael Granlund is taking Charlie Coyle's place for 2nd line center. How does he look? With the exception of his facoffs, Granlund looked great. It will be interesting to see if Yeo decides to take Heatley off the 2nd line for Thursday game, seeing as he handcuffed that line all night long 3. The storyline of the game will be the Booing of Suter. Does he show Nashville fans why they should be crying over him leaving? That's a negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full 4. The power play has been looking spectacular lately. Can the team carry that momentum to it's first road game? Power play looked great. The penalty kill needs some massive work though. Woof. 5. Jason Zucker has been FREED!!!!! Does he make the team regret sending him to Iowa? That's another negative. Zucker looked pretty horrible, and you could clearly see the issues the coaches have with his game. He's going to be regulated to the bottom line if he stays up with the team for the duration of Coyle's injury. Too many other talented guys doing what the team needs that deserve his spot.
about 16 hours ago
Lead cut to one, and 20 minutes left. Maybe, if we're all faithful, the team can pull this out. Also, FYI the Preds are kinda dirty. Five Questions: 1. Both teams are looking for their first win. Who puts in the work to get it done...
Lead cut to one, and 20 minutes left. Maybe, if we're all faithful, the team can pull this out. Also, FYI the Preds are kinda dirty. Five Questions: 1. Both teams are looking for their first win. Who puts in the work to get it done? 2. Mikael Granlund is taking Charlie Coyle's place for 2nd line center. How does he look? 3. The storyline of the game will be the Booing of Suter. Does he show Nashville fans why they should be crying over him leaving? 4. The power play has been looking spectacular lately. Can the team carry that momentum to it's first road game? 5. Jason Zucker has been FREED!!!!! Does he make the team regret sending him to Iowa?
about 17 hours ago
Well, this isn't going well. Wild down 3-1 Backstrom out with injury Did I mention the Wild are losing to Nashville? But fear not Wild fans. There's still 40 minutes of hockey left. Five Questions: 1. Both teams are looking for...
Well, this isn't going well. Wild down 3-1 Backstrom out with injury Did I mention the Wild are losing to Nashville? But fear not Wild fans. There's still 40 minutes of hockey left. Five Questions: 1. Both teams are looking for their first win. Who puts in the work to get it done? 2. Mikael Granlund is taking Charlie Coyle's place for 2nd line center. How does he look? 3. The storyline of the game will be the Booing of Suter. Does he show Nashville fans why they should be crying over him leaving? 4. The power play has been looking spectacular lately. Can the team carry that momentum to it's first road game? 5. Jason Zucker has been FREED!!!!! Does he make the team regret sending him to Iowa?
about 18 hours ago
20 minutes pre game. Not drunk yet. Why do I have to see LaPanta right now? God, now I'm looking Gorg. 10 minutes to go. Beer #1 Summit Summer Ale. (Shut your face, Mason, it was free beer)
20 minutes pre game. Not drunk yet. Why do I have to see LaPanta right now? God, now I'm looking Gorg. 10 minutes to go. Beer #1 Summit Summer Ale. (Shut your face, Mason, it was free beer)
about 19 hours ago
I sure hope the good people of Nashville use some common sense tonight and applaud Wild Defenseman and Norris Trophy Favorite Ryan Suter when he skates tonight. He had many good years for the Predators and should be respectfully lauded ...
I sure hope the good people of Nashville use some common sense tonight and applaud Wild Defenseman and Norris Trophy Favorite Ryan Suter when he skates tonight. He had many good years for the Predators and should be respectfully lauded for his contributions to Nashville hockey. Then again, this is the town that gave us Elvis Presley...
about 21 hours ago