Daily Links: Todd Richards' Short Leash? State of Hockey Celebration. Faceoffs are Important. James Sheppard Feels Free

WILD PUCK BANTER: Richards Must Go
Clearly the new system isn't working, as evidenced by not one, but two losses to the St. Louis Blues in the pre-season. The players aren't buying into it so we should just cut our losses and see if we can find another trap-happy coach to turn things around. I only hope it's not too late to make a run at the post-season.

Wild to hold State of Hockey celebration - Minnesota Wild - News
The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild announced today that the team will host a State of Hockey Celebration in the Mall of America Sears Court on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. to help commemorate the start of the 2009-10 NHL season.

Wild coach Richards says controlling puck on faceoffs is vital - TwinCities.com
Faceoffs are an unsung art in the NHL, according to Wild center Eric Belanger. "A big key to the game." he said. The Wild won 34 of 53 faceoffs Thursday night, but that went for naught in a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.

Powers: Exhibition or not, Wild loss was a 'compete' disaster - TwinCities.com
In a position to have to really push tickets for the first time in their history, the Wild on Thursday night were like the door-to-door salesman with bad breath, dandruff and a severe case of B.O. The success ratio for such a peddler is very low. OK, let's get the usual disclaimers out of the way. The St. Louis Blues are a very good team and had the vast majority of their top players in the lineup. The Wild were missing several key regulars. They are learning a new system. And yes, it's only an exhibition game.

Sheppard embracing Wild changes | StarTribune.com
In a training camp filled with clean slates for players because of a new coach, one Wild player is overjoyed the actual coach is a clean slate.

2009-10 NHL Season Preview: Minnesota Wild - From The Rink
That could very well all add up to a playoff reappearance, although this remains a team light on goal scorers, and the Wild could be on the outside looking in should Havlat, Koivu or a key blueliner go down.



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