ST PAUL, MN - DECEMBER 29: Darcy Hordichuk #16 of the Edmonton Oilers and Matt Kassian #28 of the Minnesota Wild get into a fight during the second period on December 29, 2011 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Minnesota Wild 4-3 Edmonton Oilers
For the Edmonton perspective, please check with your mental health professional.
Bear with me, I lost a 1200 word recap that was really fun to write. Stupid, stupid SBN editor ate it. I'm just livid.
Yep. That's finally it. Six down, none to go with the team that has amassed the second fewest points in the NHL since the lockout. While that's good because the Oilers are annoying, I'm guessing the Wild wouldn't mind seeing a bottom-feeder on the schedule again.
Familiarity breeds contempt and playing the same squad seven times in three months breeds a night of roughing, cross-checking, diving, high-sticking, goaltender interference, goaltender roughing, unsportsmanlike conduct and numerous skirmishes after the play led to this
But the Wild and their fans fed off it all night long and realized that Edmonton is a below .500 team that should be nothing but points for a playoff contender. So, thanks to an aggressive forecheck (led by the first and third lines) and driving to the net. The Wild worked hard, every shift and have to feel good about a hard-fought win.
What did we learn tonight?
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall cause the Wild fits. Luckily teams need depth and the Oilers just don't have it. If they can build around these guys they could cause trouble, but they need serious help aside from these three. Oh, and worrying about fighting Nate Prosser isn't the way to help your team win, boys.
- You think Dany Heatley isn't happy having Mikko Koivu back? 2 goals, 2 assists in 3 games since his return.
- Welcome back Greg Zanon! Solid defensive play, a couple assists (first and second of the season) and controlling play.
- NHL officiating is still weak. I contend the fourth Wild goal was a result of a missed offside call. The interference call on Justin Falk was terrible, Cal's diving call was bad, etc. The refs tried to keep the game under control but just made things worse. Not a good night for the zebras.
- Can the Wild please, please, please stop allowing the back door goal? Time and again there is a guy alone on the back side. The staff has to see and address this. It's causing problems.
I'll take the low road, I don't care. It's comfortable here.
The Wild finally regressed back to their mean with a win against the Fenwick All-stars. The score shows another one goal game victory for the Wild, but it was no where near as close as the score suggests. The Wild had some truly beautiful chances, especially in the third, and either slid them through the crease, shot them just wide, or the goalie came up big. Dany Heatley was a monster on the forecheck, Mikko Koivu was a force of nature, even Marek Zidlicky (yes, really) had an outstanding game.
One of the goals the Oilers scored was a backdoor play, something the Wild really need to stop giving up. Every player in red watching the puck, completely unaware of the man sneaking down from the point. The other two were as soft as soft can be. All of the goals are on the defense, as each time, they completely fell apart in front of Backstrom. They owe that man a pizza or something.
Finally, the division rivalry between the Oilers and Wild is over. For years to come, we only need our accountant on staff two days a year to decipher what the heck their fans are talking about. Sure, the games were entertaining, but everyone knows the games don't really matter, right? I'll take the new rivals over dealing with this fan base any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Especially if it means I don't have to listen to the nickname "The Nuge" six times a year anymore. Seriously... what a stupid nickname. I wonder how it feels to be a "celebrity" and still only be the second most popular guy with your nickname.
Regress hard, Wild fans. Enjoy the win.
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse of the Game:
- Marek Zidlicky (3 A)
- Mikko Koivu (1 G, 1 A)
- Jarod Palmer (1st NHL goal)
Remember, when you begin and end your night at Bennett's, you're the star! Easy parking, drink and food specials and a free shuttle to and from the Xcel Energy Center. Check them out at http://bennettschopandrailhouse.com/.
- If Kassian plays, who is he here to talk to? What was Hordichuk thinking?
- Can Backstrom reassert his ownership of the Oilers? He wasn't fantastic, got really short-tempered but we'll take the win.
- Is tonight the night the top line reawakens? It's nice to have Koivu back. Heatley clearly appreciates it.
- This is the end of the road for Wild vs Oil six times a year. Does anyone care? I couldn't be happier, Sick of that squad.
- How many statisticians does it take to change a light bulb? None, it's just regressing to its natural state.