The thing is...
That's just great. There's no getting around the biggest news of the day: Zach Parise is going to be missing some time. Yeah, it's not a lot of time, but in a crowded Western Conference, 2-3 weeks worth of games can be a pretty big deal.
And make no mistake, this is a pretty big deal. I know you don't need me to tell you this, but I'll say it anyway: It's a pretty big fing deal. Parise leads the Wild with 107 shots, and is actually second most in the entire NHL. Jason Pominville is the next most-prolific shooter on the Wild, tied for 23rd with 75 shots, and after that? Mikko Koivu with 56 (T-86th). If you want to measure offense in terms of shots, Parise provides twice the offense as the third-best Wild shooter.
But, as will be mentioned later, this is a situation that could definitely be worse, as the Wild could conceivably do OK without Parise in the short-term, but with the difficult schedule coming up, it will be a tall order.
But first thing's first: The Wild play the Phoenix Coyotes tonight. And this isn't your slightly older brother's Phoenix, either. This is some kind of bizarre-o Coyotes team that forgot that they were all about keeping the puck out of both nets. They are 4th in the NHL at scoring goals, and are 6th worst in the NHL at preventing them. Huh? And the verdict from the advanced stats? They're OK-ish. At about the bottom of the middle of the pack in shot attempts. This would be a team the Wild should handle with Parise, but without? We're going to have to see.
The biggest question today is that the Wild will need to have someone step up. But who?
Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise out 2 to 3 weeks - TwinCities.com- It doesn't get any better here.
Zach Parise expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a foot contusion | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com- More about the biggest news of the day: Michael Russo will be on Paul Allen's radio show sometime that I don't remember, you'll have to read it.
Minnesota Wild: Stellar at home, so-so on the road - TwinCities.com- This has been the status quo with the Wild, historically. Last season was definitely something of an anomaly.
Zach Parise's 2014 Sochi Olympics training regimen - NHL - Sarah Kwak - SI.com- Just goes to show you, kids: Hard work never pays off.
First Round Bust: Life Without Parise/Coming Of Age: Dan from FRB says that the youth is going to have to step up big. My pick for guy to step up? Jason Zucker. He's not going to have the ultimate two-way game that Parise brings, but in terms of the guys the Wild have, Jay-Z is the closest the Wild have to a Parise doppelgänger. He's small, but super fast, plays an energy game, and loves to throw the puck on net. But that's just my guess.
First Round Bust: Is the Wild's Early Season Success Smoke and Mirrors?- There are definitely legitimate concerns spelled out by JL in this article, but we're still dealing with a small sample size in terms of the Wild playing bad vs. good teams. It's going to be hard to tell whether it's smoke and mirrors with Parise out, unless the Wild can overcome his loss.
The Team of 18,001: How Long Will This Dominance Last?- This actually made me feel better about the Wild. I've long thought that the Blues were the worst possible matchup for the Wild, as the Blues play the kind of game the Wild want to play, but do it with more mass among their players. Pointing out that Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle are players capable of evening the physical game with St. Louis makes me feel better about this. Now, if only the Wild's blue line could get some size to even things out.
Damned Lies & Statistics: Granlund needs Pominville way more than the other way around | Hashtag Hockey- Mikael Granlund has definitely improved, but his possession numbers still aren't great, outside of his play with Pominville.
Off the Trail
NHL Canadian TV deal: Winners and losers of 12-year pact with Rogers | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- A winner? How about the Minnesota Wild, who will have a lot more cap room to re-sign their young players with a multi-billion dollar TV deal.
The end of the NHL on TSN | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Some sad times in this one, too.
The Weekend in Hockey: Is It (Finally!) St. Louis's Year? - The Triangle Blog - Grantland- Their dismantling of the Wild sure made it seem like it is.
How Should Ottawa Fans Handle Daniel Alfredsson's Return? - The Triangle Blog - Grantland- Probably a lot better than Gaborik deserves when he comes to Minnesota.
Rumblings: Olympic deadline and trade talk - Cross Checks Blog - ESPN- The scuttlebutt around the league.
Metropolitan Division teams rise in Week 8 NHL Power Rankings - NHL - Allan Muir - SI.com- Wild fall three spots.
Behind Enemy Lines
For news and analysis of the Phoenix Coyotes, please check out our friends at Five For Howling, who have once been called (along with Hockey Wilderness) one of Ryan Lambert's least favorite blogs ever.
Gameday preview: Phoenix at Wild | Star Tribune- I feel stupid for even putting a description here.
Phoenix Coyotes Waive Defenseman Rostislav Klesla - Five For Howling- In case you were worried about facing him.
Phoenix Coyotes First Quarter Awards - Five For Howling- A look at the first quarter of the Coyotes' season.