Minnesota Wild 3 - 4 Columbus Blue Jackets (Shoot Out)
For Columbus perspective please visit The Cannon
That does it. The Wild need to be out shot to have a chance. Also, eliminate the shootout. I've never been a fan, and the fact that the Wild absolutely cannot figure it out make me sick. I thought for a second there the WIld might have a chance at this one, what with Jose Theodore in rather than Backstrom, but no such luck. They lost their eighth shootout in a row and nine of their past ten (thanks for the stat, Russo).
The fact that this game was settled by such a stupid show of individual skills in a team game is pathetic. Both teams fought hard, battled physically, mentally, and emotionally. They threw punches, they traded goals, and they swapped penalties. Then, when a winner could not be decided by a five minute OT period that ramped up the energy even further, the rules of the game pulled the carpet out from under them.
Deflating, nauseating, and the biggest waste of talent in any professional sport on the planet.
This game truly had it all. Two fights, both close, both decent hockey fights. There were filthy shots from Mikko Koivu and Fedor Tyutin. There was a hard working (Sorry Tom) goal from Cal Clutterbuck, and great shots from both sides that demanded highlight reel saves from the goaltenders.
The second period wasn't even bad, considering the Wild left the period with a lead, and actually played for the majority of that period.
The third period ramped up the tension with back and forth action, and Cam Barker even dropped his gloves in what can only be described as a complete and total accidental show of semi-emotion. Theodore gave up two goals in the third, one very soft goal in which he could not get his skate to the post. No word from the "Trade Backstrom" camp on that one.
The Wild played well enough to win tonight with strong games from several players. Koivu was lights out. Scandella made a very strong case for him to never wear an Aeros jersey again. Chuck Kobasew played well, creating chances and playing solid defensively.
The lines still don't make any sense to me, but that Brad Stubitz, Matt Cullen, Kobasew line did create the first goal, so my guess is that the coaching staff sees that and says "See? It works."
The defensive pairings were not as awful as they could have been, though putting Barker on the power play with Brent Burns makes absolutely zero sense. Honestly, putting Cam Barker on the power play at all doesn't make much sense. OK, OK. Putting am Barker on the ice doesn't make much sense.
Did not like the Nick Schultz - Greg Zanon pairing at all. Great shut down pairing, but no breakout ability. Was not a liability tonight, but my guess is it will be. Marek Zidlicky - Barker is just a terrible idea. May as well put out Martin Skula and Philip Kuba. Why not just spot the opposition a goal?
Tonight's game was good. It was entertaining, when it should not have been, and it was an solid effort from the Wild. The problem is, they still lost, and they lost to the team directly above them in the standings. That doesn't help things at all.
Wednesday back at the X for the Sharks. Should be a blast.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
- Can Theodore shine for a lackluster team? Eh. He was pretty soft, to be honest. I don't think he moved at all on any of the shoot out attempts.
- Will the defensive shakeup cause chemistry issues? Didn't see any glaring examples, but it still looked like something was off.
- How do the Wild respond to the thumping they received? They played well, but not good enough.
- How silly does Rick Nash make the Wild look? Two assists. Nash owns the Wild.
- If a game is played in Columbus, and no one watches, does it still count? It does count, and juding by the Twitter feed tonight, people were actually watching. Impressive.