Minnesota Wild 2-4 Columbus Blue Jackets
Ok Wilderness, it's clearly time to pack it in. Two games in a row where it looked like the effort was simply not there for 60 minutes, as has been the biggest problem all season. I can't hold Richards or Fletcher accountable. It's not their fault. They are trying to fix what was broken, and frankly have done a very solid job in turning this thing around, but it's a multi-season job.
Sure, we can say that this team doesn't have a go to scorer, we can say that they are in a "transition" year, and we can say that they are only a few points out of the playoffs, but honestly, there is no reason (aside from Doug Risebrough's inept management) that this franchise is not a top four franchise in the West. The revenue is there, the fan support is there, but the on-ice performance and farm system is not there, and it's because DR did such a horrible job in building a team. Fletcher is trying to build for the future, and guys like Martin Havlat, Guillaume Latendresse, Casey Wellman, Cal Clutterbuck, Cam Barker and this years draftees should be part of that.
Look at New Jersey, you can see there that it was never Lemaire's fault. To quote Bud Adams, "He can take his'n and beat your'n and take your'n and beat his'n."
Anyway, onto tonight's game. The Wild got up early from Mikko Koivu and a nice play from Casey Wellman, in his NHL debut, to feed Chuck Kobasew for the goal. However, from that point on it was all Columbus. And when I say all Columbus, I mean Rick Nash took over. I cannot say enough good things about Nash. He is far and away my favorite non-Wild player in the NHL, and that includes my man-crush on Alex Ovechkin. Nash does so many things well, and can put a bad team on his shoulders, that watching him mire in Columbus is painful.
Nash is everything you want in an NHL player. Big, strong on his skates, brutally tough with the puck, can score in traffic, can create his own shot, skates well, plays physically, doesn't talk himself up, makes people around him better and is as good in the clutch as anyone in the league. Most importantly, he isn't a primadonna. You never hear him in controversy, he's never on the Wheel of Justice and he's the kind of guy who harkens back to a time gone by.
Ahh, if only.
Feel free to read the winning recap at The Cannon
Hockey Wilderness Three:
Five Questions to Answer:
- Another day, another game we can't watch. Does anyone care? Clearly not.
- How will Casey Wellman look in his NHL debut? 1 assist, a +1 and 2 shots in 10:09. Nicely done kid.
- How about Justin Falk? 1 shot and an even in 5:36. Too small a sample to tell.
- Can we get a rebound from a horrible performance last night? Up early, then outplayed after the second goal.
- Is Josh Harding going to try to clean something off the ice again and give up another goal? Well, I haven't heard anything to that extent, and apparently the defense didn't help at all.