My apologies to Wilderness reader Jarik. I cannot sit on my hands today and not break down a blog post and game story by our good friend Adrian Dater out in Colorado. Seems he has caught the bug that has the NHL fan base and media still convinced the Wild are a boring team.
Did everyone outside of Minnesota forget that this is a new coach and a new system?
I welcome everyone coming from Mile High Hockey to the conversation, should they choose to join.
Make the jump. Let's discuss.
Lets now look at some quotes from the man, the myth, the legend that is Adrian Dater.
But playing the Wild and watching the Wild is just one big trip to the dentist chair. No fun at all. They are just a boring, boring team and have been for a long time. Yeah, they win their share and have great fans and Minnesota is great hockey country. But they just put everybody to sleep in the NHL.
The Wild are boring. Is this 2007, again? Mr. Dater, please expound on what makes the game more exciting for you. Because if it is goals, you have no leg to stand on. The Wild have 147 goals for, while the Avalanche have 148. Is that one extra goal the difference between exciting and boring? Maybe it is total goals in a game? No, it can't be that either, since the Wild have given up 154 goals, to Colorado's 132. That's 280 total goals in Avalanche games, and 301 in Wild games.
So what is it?
Shots on goal? Wild averaging 28 for and 28 against, for an average of 56 shots per game. Avs average 27 shots for and 32 against, for an average of 59 shots per game. Must be that the Avs take one shot less per game on average that makes it more exciting for you.
Let's look at some quotes from his gamer. Before any one jumps on me for these being the words of players, and not Dater, keep in mind that he did not have to publish them. He uses them to support his hypothesis, meaning he agrees.
"They always seem to play a boring trap game," Avs winger Chris Stewart said. "They just want to keep it close and hope you make a mistake and capitalize. We let that happen tonight."
Yes, Chris Stewart, you did "let that happen." Good of you to own up to the fact that your team also played (by Dater's definition) an extremely boring game.
As for they "always" play a boring type of game, you are in your second season in the NHL. Which means you would have a total of 12 games against them, assuming you have played in all 12. Always? You have little experience to be going with hyperbole, sir.
Let's move on to Calder candidate Matt Duchene. Here is his quote:
"They're probably the hardest team in the league to play against, just because all they do is play 'D,' " Avs center Matt Duchene said. "It seems like they don't even try to go on the offense at all. They just try to force us into mistakes, and that's the way they score."
All they do is play D. From a team that wouldn't leave the neutral zone if the Stanley Cup itself was inside the offensive zone. As for trying to force you make mistakes, that's called hockey, my friend. You may want to try it. You've been pretty good this season at forcing your opponents to make mistakes and cough up the puck.
And you sir, have six games against the Wild. Even less experience to go on than your teammate. Save the hyperbole. Calm down a bit. You guys got beat in a 1-0 game. Let it go.
Going back to Mr. Dater's own words, we go back to his blog:
(And if Wild players and management want to shrug this off, ask yourself this: are you happy, especially YOU, Wild players, that 18-percent of your checks right now are being deducted for escrow purposes, and that you might lose all of it when NHL revenues – down across the board this season so far – come in at the end of the year? It’s more than just winning games, isn’t it? It’s about selling tickets too).
The Avs players are subject to the same 18% escrow, aren't they? Or did I miss the fact that the Avs have exemption for their players?
It's about selling tickets? Is that really the argument you want to use, sir? Ticket sales? Your team is in second place in the division, two points out of the lead, and by your own reporting the attendance last night was 11,597, and you said this:
It was the third smallest crowd of the season tonight, and the Denver hockey crowd is officially a "Disappointing NHL story" of the season so far.
So, the Avs can't even sell tickets with what must be the most exciting brand of hockey in the NHL judging by your reaction to this game. Their ticket sales are a "disappointing NHL story," but the fact that the Wild are in town must have been the reason the tickets weren't sold. Right, got it.
Meanwhile, the Wild are riding a nearly 400 game sellout streak (which is a sham, but still).M
Back to the tickets sales blurb, no, to the players it is not about selling tickets, nor should it be. They are paid to play hockey, not sell tickets. The coach is paid to win as many games as possible with the roster they are given by the GM. The players are to do what the coach tells them to. The problem with ticket sales is someone else's problem. Let's look back at your own words for help there:
But the Avs don’t help the cause at all, with a nonexistent marketing staff and game-night entertainment staff that might as well be from Mars for as well as they "get" their audience. If you go to a game, you know what I’m talking about. For instance, one of the features of the Avs’ game-night entertainment is to have a "Price is Right" guessing game about the price of certain supermarket goods.
Boy, nothing gets a hockey crowd more fired up than guessing the cost of a bag of Dorito’s, eh?
Please, re-read this, everyone. They play "Price is Right" with groceries. But the Wild are the boring part of the evening. Riiiiiight.
Please, Mr. Dater. Get your story straight before you bring this particular brand of non-sense. On Twitter you just told me that the Wild don't sell any tickets on the road. I am not sure how many attendance figures you have in front of you when you make that claim, but I would be willing to bet that the Wild sell just fine in markets that care about their own team.
No, I don't have the figures, and I am willing to admit that. However, would it not stand to reason that team that has struggles selling tickets against any opponent would have trouble selling tickets against the Wild as well?
To me, it sounds like the Avs are bitter that they lost five games to such a "boring" team. Sounds like they are angry and frustrated that they could not find a way to beat a team that is so far beneath them. It plays out as a bitter rival that got their arses handed to them all season, and don't want to admit it.
By the way, the reason the game was 1-0 and not 7-6? Stellar goaltending from both sides. Harding and Anderson alike were standing on their heads last night. If you don't find that exciting hockey, you just aren't having enough fun in show business.
I suppose you would find a no-hitter in baseball boring as well.
Questions for readers;
1. How long will it take before the rest of the NHL realizes that Lemaire coaches in New Jersey?
2. How many times will I be called names or have my picture made fun of during this thread? The over / under is 50.
3. How many comment that actually have something to do with the post, rather than me will there be? Over / under on this one is set at 35.
Oh, and just for reference:
Final scores of Avs v Wild games this season:
Oct 21: Avs 3- 2 Wild (SO)
Nov 27: Wild 5 - 3 Avs
Nov 28: Wild 3 -2 Avs (SO)
Dec 9: Wild 1 - 0 Avs
Dec 21 Wild 4 - 3 Avs
Jan 28: Wild 1 - 0 Avs
Five of six are one goal games, which generally makes it more exciting hockey, not less. Five or more goals scored in four of the six. Just so happens that both shut outs had excellent goaltending. Sure do hate that.