Wilderness Walk: 12-5-2013: Game Day Edition

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

The Wild host the division-leading Chicago Blackhawks tonight.

The Wild have rebounded since their three-game regulation loss streak, getting a point against the Colorado Avalanche, and then got a win against Philadelphia.

But tonight, we're going to see if the Wild's improved game is for real or not, as they'll be facing a tough challenge in the NHL-best (and defending Stanley Cup Champion) Chicago Blackhawks, who will be coming to the Xcel Energy Center tonight.

The Wild and Blackhawks have met twice this season on a home-and-home, with each team taking the game in their opponent's building, despite the losing team controlling possession. The Blackhawks-Wild rivalry is still trying to get off the ground, and having that kind of give-and-take is something that should bode well for that.

Elsewhere in the league? The big news of the day is Henrik Lundqvist got signed to a gigantic deal for a gigantic amount of money, a 7 year, 59.5 million dollar deal. That's the 5th highest cap-hit in the league, and highest for a goalie. There's risk in giving anyone a contract that long, particularly a goaltender, but if anyone in the league has deserved it, it's hard to argue that it hasn't been Lundqvist.

Anyway, on to the Walk.

Wild News

Mikael Granlund being kept off ice; Working the power play; Yeo on Fontaine | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com- Lots of nuggets from Mike Yeo today.

Minnesota Wild's Mikael Granlund 'not making progress' after head injury - TwinCities.com- The bad news of the day, as Mikael Granlund isn't recovering from his concussion. While the Wild have some nice young depth, losing Granlund for an extended period of time certainly isn't idea, as his presence on the second line was a good one for the Wild.

Wild's Dany Heatley replaces Charlie Coyle on top power-play unit - TwinCities.com- Power-play shake-up. Not a bad choice. Heatley's been scoring more as of late, and he should still be able to contribute on a power-play, in theory. Again, note the Wild's depth here. They actually have options to change things up when their power-play isn't working.

Minnesota Wild: Six goals from defensemen not enough - TwinCities.com- Six goals isn't convincing.

Wild: Justin Fontaine hopes a little down time does him some good - TwinCities.com- Justin Fontaine will likely play tonight, which means that the Wild will probably try to match the Blackhawks' skill.

Minnesota Wild: Yeo not committing to Harding or Backstrom as No. 1 - TwinCities.com- He may not feel he's able to say it, but I can: Harding is the Wild's starter until further notice. They will of course feel comfortable with Backstrom if needed, but Harding's the guy.

The Team of 18,001: Chalk Talk: Nino Niederreiter Is Pretty Good- Giles busts out the film to gloat over the Niederreiter trade. Which merits gloating over.

Tending the Fields

Iowa Defeats San Antonio 5-4 in Shootout- Jason Zucker and the Iowa Wild went on a Rampage (Alternate H*R reference: Some Iowas are freakishly Wild. Jason is destroying San Antonio), winning in the shootout against San Antonio. Jason Zucker scored a goal, an assist, and a shootout goal.

Off the Trail

Henrik Lundqvist signs 7-year deal with NY Rangers; was the price right? | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- The big news of the day.

The Rangers have extended Henrik Lundqvist for many years, many dollars; they basically had to | Backhand Shelf- Can't argue that they basically had to, either.

Sergei Bobrovsky out 4-5 weeks with groin injury; who takes Blue Jackets’ crease? | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Another big-time goalie down.

George Parros fighting the goon fight - ESPN- ESPN's doing a pretty massive series on fighting that you may want to check out.

Jaromir Jagr being overplayed by Devils because everyone else stinks | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- If you overplay a 41 year old, you're gonna have a bad time!

The top 10 hockey bloopers of 2013 | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- By all means, please still read this, but none of them will be as good as this.

Behind Enemy (Blue)Lines

For more news and analysis concerning the Chicago Blackhawks, please visit our friends at Second City Hockey.

Blackhawks Can't Complete Comeback - Second City Hockey- Catch up on their most recent game.

Pirri Demoted, Morin and Nordstrom Recalled - Second City Hockey- Here are some call-ups they made.

Stats Made Simple Part 1 : Corsi & Fenwick - Second City Hockey- Read some stuff about advanced stats, if you are still unsure about what they are all about.

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