For Philadelphia perspective, please visit Broad Street Hockey.
We don't need to spend much time on this one. There was little hope of pulling a victory out in Philly tonight. I jokingly predicted a 6-0 win for the Flyers, so I was close. Mikko Koivu's absence was glaringly obvious, as was expected. The Wild looked helpless, lost, and in need of a hug from their fathers in the stands.
Once again, the defense was remarkably passive. Shot after shot from the blue line made it to the net. The lack of any physical play in front of Josh Harding left the Flyers forwards wide open and able to get screens or deflections in order to leave Harding beaten.
The offense never arrived. They really should file a claim with the charter service, since the airline clearly left it in the baggage compartment. The only goal game on a soft shot from Darroll Powe that beat Ilya Bryzgalov high. Still, the Wild refused to shoot the puck, refused to create traffic in front, and refused to... well, do much of anything except take penalties in the offensive zone.
The line idea of "one goal scorer, one worker" absolutely failed. There was almost zero cycling. Zero zone time. Zero pressure on Bryzgalov. For most of the game it looked like the Canadian national team playing Bulgaria. The Flyers were in practice mode, scoring at will. Two power play goals, a short handed goal, and two even strength goals. The Wild had nothing to offer in any aspect of the game.
Casey Wellman on the fourth line is a travesty. Sure, the kid might not be playing well, but either is anyone else. If he isn't in the top 6, he needs to go to Houston. He's not a grinder, and he's not a checker. He is fast and has a decent shot. If that can't be utilized, send him to Houston and call up a grinder.
Barring a trade, which looks ever more unlikely, the Wild are done. This is the team at hand. Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse aren't coming back anytime soon, nor is Koivu. The line of David McIntyre - Warren Peters - Cal Clutterbuck just isn't going to intimidate anyone.
It's decision time for this organization. Either they make a move, or they sell it off. Either way is fine, but a decision has to be made. Soon. And it certainly looked like the team made that choice easy tonight.
Fans wanted an effort tonight. They knew there was little chance at a win, but they wanted to see the team put forth some hard work (Sorry Tom). They didn't do that.
Toronto on Thursday. Fun.
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse of the Game:
- Has to be asked - Can the Wild rally around each other and pull out a win? Ha ha. Yeah. Sure.
- How bad can it look without Koivu? Pretty bad.
- Will anyone on the team step up to play some defense? Laughable. What a joke.
- Harding with his fourth straight start. How long is he in a Wild sweater? With this type of game? Forever.
- Can we get through this one without a lecture? Nope. Pregame lecture. Still expecting a post game one, too.