So, as chippy as these preseason games have been, tonight may have taken the cake. Not only did the lineup the Wild threw out there not provide the offense we've been looking for, but they took ill-advised penalties and played an ugly, chippy game all around. While tonight's 68 PIM fell just short of last nights, there was a 10 minutes misconduct last night to add to the amount, making tonight a much chippier game. Too much stick work, not enough moving the feet and not nearly enough playing the mental game. I guess that's to be expected from a team filled with guys headed back to Houston or juniors, but the guys need to put this behind them and look forward to Thursday.
What were the bright spots? Well, Kyle Brodziak continued to look like a good acquisition, scoring the only goal of the game; Petr Sykora got quality chances on the power play; Wade Dubielewicz didn't allow a goal. Oh, wait, he didn't play. Never mind.
What will happen to the bubble guys? Well, if the injury bug sticks around, we'll need plenty of bodies in Houston, and Pouliot may be on the shelf:
Richards is mostly concerned though with all the injuries. Benoit Pouliot went down in the third period with a strained groin, and Richards was so worried, he benched Antti Miettinen (he should have gotten benched because of his play, quite honestly) and Kyle Brodziak due to the soft ice.
Back in Minnesota, Mikko Koivu, James Sheppard, Andrew Brunette, Craig Weller, Shane Hnidy and Derek Boogaard are also hurt, and that’s just who we know about. I have seen other players wrapped up like a mummy, too. Richards, and the Wild highers-up, says the ice at the X has been terrible, and that’s a large reason for all the leg injuries. - Michael Russo
So, guess we'll just take this and move on. I'm glad this wasn't on TV, it sounded too reminiscent of last December.
Hockey Wilderness Three
Questions to Answer
- With Andy Hilbert and Danny Irmen both in the lineup tonight, and only $600k left on the cap and one too many people on the roster, will Hilbert play up to the pressure? Hilbert had 18:29 TOI, -1, 2 SOG and 4 PIM. Not a positive step to try to get himself ingratiated to the club. Irmen went for 13:35, -1, 4 PIM. If I were a betting man, I'd say Irmen back to Houston, Hilbert out the door.
- Do Marco Scandella and Tyler Cuma find themselves on the outside looking in? Tonight was a tough night to judge, but neither guy really impressed, and Cuma was directly responsible for three of the five Columbus goals.
- Can anyone keep the two-goal streak alive? Definitely not.
- Are the Wild ready for a back to back, or will they be dragging? While I couldn't tell since it wasn't on TV, it certainly didn't sound good at all.
- With Belanger out of the lineup, will the Blue Jackets be looking to someone else for revenge? One might say that, considering there were 15 fighting or roughing penalties.