Wilderness Walk: 11-15-2013: Game Day Edition

It was that kind of night when the Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild last met. - Joel Auerbach

The Wild host the Flo Rida Panthers. Or something.

The Minnesota Wild will play the Florida Panthers tonight for, weirdly, the second time this season.

It feels a bit off to see that, considering that the Wild haven't played division rivals Colorado or St. Louis once this season. Hell, after tonight, the Wild will have played more games against the Eastern Conference (11) than the West (8).

Florida is pretty much in the toilet right now, they've already fired their coach, and there's been scuttlebutt that they're looking to fire sale it up. So, it's slightly disappointing to look at the first game the Wild played against them with that information in mind. The Wild couldn't score on Tim Thomas, and they lost a frustrating shootout that was forced by a late goal from Florida rookie/kinda-sorta-only-bright-spot Aleksander Barkov.

But that's in the past, and the Wild shouldn't have much trouble dispatching a team that sucks at scoring goals and preventing goals from being scored on them. But there's a reason the games aren't played on paper, so stay tuned.

There's been mixed news for the Wild, as Niklas Backstrom is out with an injury, perhaps preventing Josh Harding from getting any sort of break at all. However, Mikael Granlund, who took a wicked head shot from a player who shouldn't have even been in the game at that point (for injuring Backstrom), will be expected to play as of now. You'll want to see that he makes it through the game before feeling confident that he's OK and concussion-free, but this is a good sign for now.

On to the Walk.

Wild News

Nazem Kadri suspended three games for running over Wild’s Backstrom | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- The Nazem Kadri scandal came to a conclusion, as he was suspended for the Backstrom hit, while as far as I can tell, the hit on Granlund that earned him the ejection was not even reviewed. I think Kadri gets off a bit easy, but whatevs. It's not like the Wild have any investment in seeing him suspended. He's on an Eastern Conference team.

Yeo wants Wild to be tough — on power play | Star Tribune- As Nick in New York will say later, Mike Yeo wants the Wild's Power Play to be their enforcer. With the fourth-best power play in the league, they seem to be doing OK at that.

Minnesota Wild aren't soft, coach says, just built another way - TwinCities.com- Like I said yesterday, taking punches and still accomplishing your objectives can be as tough, if not more, as distributing them.

The Team of 18,001: Moving On- Giles tells us that last night's antics aren't worth talking about.

Hitting The Post: Appropriate Response And The Hockey Neanderthal- Nick also meditates on this incident.

Wild's overlooked third line another key to team's success | Star Tribune- Matt Cooke, Justin Fontaine, and Kyle Brodziak have been doing really well this season. No one even rips Cooke anymore.

Minnesota Wild: Backstrom out, Kuemper likely will be called up - TwinCities.com- Russo actually says it's Johan Gustafsson, so there's not any doubt that Harding is starting tonight.

Off the Trail

Who will be the next Buffalo Sabres general manager? | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- There is a vacancy in Buffalo, in case you haven't heard.

Columbus Blues Jackets may have to trade slumping Marian Gaborik | Home Ice - SI.com- Marian Gaborik is crapping the bed in his walk year. This is a new story that I've never heard before.

MacTavish tries to explain Oilers’ nightmare start | ProHockeyTalk- The Oilers dominate today's news cycle, as you're going to read about.

The Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers rebuilds - Grantland- A tale of two hockey cities. It's pretty striking when you look at it, even if luck is a considerable factor in the way their seasons have started.

Dave Lozo’s Bag Skate: Everything you’re saying about Nail Yakupov is absurd so please stop | Backhand Shelf- An argument that a young player like Yakupov needs patience in order to succeed.

Should the Oilers Trade Nail Yakupov?- There's certainly a lot of smoke around the idea.

Rangers' Benoit Pouliot Consistently Inconsistent- You don't say...

Behind Enemy Lines

For more information on the Florida Panthers, we encourage you to visit our friends at Litter Box Cats.

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