The Minnesota Wild, according to coach Todd Richards, are a team that needs to play with a sense of urgency. They simply aren't showing it and every single player on the roster needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask themselves what they can do to improve the play of the team overall.
Sure, Kyle Brodziak had two goals, Cal Clutterbuck was a +2 and had five hits, Niklas Backstrom has been the backbone of the franchise (even though he was pulled tonight) and Chuck Kobasew gives his all at both ends of the ice, but there isn't a single guy on the team who can't improve right now.
Martin Havlat is bordering on bust material and is a -12. Petr Sykora is ridiculously streaky. Brent Burns has kissed his Olympic hopes goodbye and sits at -13. Mikko Koivu can't motivate the team on his own and Erik Belanger went out early with an "upper-body injury." After two good wins over the Rangers and Penguins, one would hope this team would take a step forward, but tonight was a massive step in the wrong direction.
The positives tonight? Well both Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Brodziak continue to provide the kind of effort this team sorely lacks. Brodziak is cleaning up rebounds down low. Clutterbuck is providing energy to a lackluster team and trying to hit anything that moves. Brent Burns had an assist, giving him six points (2-4) in his last eight games.
The negatives? Backstrom had an off night, giving up four goals, including two softies. Martin Havlat was a pitiful -3. Derek Boogaard backed up three good games with a stupid double minor and was essentially benched the rest of the night. The Wild gave up an NHL-leading fourth shorthanded goal of the season.
I don't even know what to say at this point. Let's just put it aside and concentrate on Saturday when the Dallas Stars come to town.
Please read the game recap over at Nucks Misconduct
Hockey Wilderness Three
Questions to Answer
- Will the Wild be the first team to 10 losses, this time? Yes. But with Carolina and Toronto both having 7 points, the Wild aren't the worst team in the league.
- Will the time off have a negative effect? They certainly came out slow against a team riddled with injuries.
- Does putting a solid Nick Schultz on with Brent Burns allow Burnsie to get into the play without causing too many problems for Nik Backstrom? How about ZZ Top? Burns had an assist and was a 0. Nick Schultz was a -1. Greg Zanon was a 0 and blocked 2 shots. Marek Zidlicky had an assist and was a -1. Frankly, I like the new pairings, but they need to get comfortable.
- Seriously, where the hell is Pouliot? Is he dead? Undisclosed concussion?
- How long will James Sheppard be allowed to center that line, not perform, without someone else taking his minutes? Sheppard was a -1 in 14:30. He might as well not be on the ice.