Is it October yet? Eight games, three weeks, and October almost completely in the books. Only two games remain in the month every hockey fan longs for. Hockey season has not only started, it is in full swing. All we have left to do now is hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
With the ups and downs of the season squarely upon us, we need to not only keep tabs on what has happened, but keep an eye on what is going to happen next. With that in mind, we bring you the next installment of your Weekly Wild Update.
After the jump.
If you remember back a week ago, and we won't blame you if you don't, we saw the schedule as a "test." One game with Edmonton sandwiched between two games against top flight playoff teams. The test is complete, and the Wild earned a solid... C.
They played horridly against the Penguins, played 59 minutes and 58.8 seconds of average to poor hockey against the Oilers, and played one period of good hockey against the Canucks. If not for some heorics by Dany Heatley, this road trip comes out with one point rather than three, and we aren't having a debate about whether or not the Wild are on track or not.
If not for a goal with 1.2 second left in a game against a team the Wild should be able to steamroll, we would all agree that they are in trouble. Of course, those 1.2 seconds count as much as any other 1.2 seconds in the game, so maybe we're just being too hard on them.
Still, they may have passed the test, but just barely, and they did so in a very ugly manner.
Ducking the Wings
See what we did there? Just two games this week, both home games, no games until Thursday. That gives the Wild four full days off to sit and think about the Ducks coming to town, and finishing the week up with a chance to avenge themselves with another game against the Wings on Saturday.
The Ducks are, as usual, one of the better teams in the league, and one the Wild cannot overlook. They have eight points in six games, going 4-2-0. Their top line of Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry is about as scary as they come, able to run you over and score at will. The ageless Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne also come along for the party, while Jonas Hiller will look to build on his cemented #1 status.
Unless of course they draw Dan Ellis, in which case the Wild need to create some Dan Ellis problems.
Finishing up a long week is a game against the Red Wings. Again. We all know how that went the last time, as the Wild played their worst game, systematically, of the season. Todd Bertuzzi manhandled young Jared Spurgeon, and the Wild slowly, painfully slipped into a near hockey coma on the ice. They had the Wings on the ropes for about ten minutes, and then simply shut down.
Also to note: the game against the Wings is game ten. If Brett Bulmer plays in both games this week, the first year of his contract is burned. He can still go back to juniors, but the contract starts.
The system Mike Yeo plays is a grind them down, hard working (Sorry Tom), brutal game of attrition. The problem right now is that the Wild are the ones giving in. The two games this week, after a ton of rest, will be another interesting data set for us to use to see if things are going to click or not.
Time to get off the fence. A month in, it's time to play.
This Week's Bold Prediction
Dany Heatley has a hat trick against the Ducks.