The Wild have won four of their last 6, earning 9 points to scrape their way to a true .500 and inside of the playoff bubble. Per Russo, it was their first regulation road win in 20 games. It was also their first win by 2+ goals in 15- the last one coming in the season opener v. Colorado.
It's a nice win, obviously, and the team is finally starting to show that it can be a playoff team, something that wasn't looking likely around two weeks ago. It's unfortunate that the news of the day, instead of how the Wild might be starting to shake that "underachiever" tag, will no doubt be the status of Cal Clutterbuck and the perpetrator of his knee injury, Taylor Hall. Though Clutterbuck is not lighting up the score sheet by any means this year, with just having picked up his 4th point in 16 games, but his mix of skill, grit, and "sandpaper" will be missed by the Wild if he's out for an extended period of time.
As for Taylor Hall- he's a No-Talent AssClown*. I'm sure going 1-7 v. the Wild and their affiliates can be frustrating, but there's no excuse for this garbage. Knee-on-knee hits are about as dirty as it gets, and it's hard to look at the video and say that there wasn't intent to throw that knee. A player whose supposedly worthy of the #1 overall pick shouldn't have to resort to that sort of cheap shot in his game. Perhaps the release of Darcy Hordichuk compelled him to feel that he needed to fill that role? If so, he filled it to perfection, as after his dirty play, he turned into a Copper and Blue version of Where's Waldo, hiding behind a sea of black and white stripes. He leads a trite and meaningless life, and he is a very... bad person. If Hall ever thought he had a chance to do two chicks at the same time in this state, he totally blew it now. Hopefully Rupp, Konopka, and Kassian get a chance to go at him like a bad fax machine when the Oil comes to town on March 3rd.
Anyway, let's get to today's links.
Wild wins 3-1 in Edmonton; Clutterbuck hurt | StarTribune.com- Russo's gamer.
Wild rallies to beat Edmonton, has points in 5 of past 6 games; Clutterbuck injured | StarTribune.com- Russo's blog. A lot more Clutterbuck-centric than the gamer is, with some quotes that didn't make it in the paper story.
Minnesota Wild pick up steam with win over Oilers - TwinCities.com- Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press also offers us his recap.
Former Wild draft pick Jones eyes return to Oilers soon | StarTribune.com- This is a Wild notebook, but just barely. More focus on Former-Wild Oilers Jones and Schultz, but some Wild stuff near the end.
Cullen's 3 point night leads the way for the Wild's 3-1 win over Edmonton- Come for the recap, stay for the excellent Aeros update. If Derek made that a post on it's own, it'd be the best thing in Tending the Fields.
First Round Bust: Taylor Hall hits Cal Clutterbuck in a not-so-clean way- Nate diplomatically describes the hit, to go with the history Hall's had with the Wild, summing it up thusly.
"I wouldn't go as far as to call him a dirty player, but when he keeps skirting the gray area of hits, it gets harder and harder to claim that these are accidents."
Well done, Draco. Well done.
Hitting The Post: 30WR: Gm 16 Wild @ EDM- If you need a quick fix, Nick will set you up with his 30 Word Recap.
Minnesota Wild Suffering Trouble With Tribbles- The Hockey Writers- Don't agree. I understand having so many rookies playing important roles hasn't historically been successful, but I'll take my chances with Brodin playing 22 minutes a night, Granlund playing 15, and Zucker playing 11, thank you.
Tending the Fields
Bulls Beat 67's For Their Seventh Win In A Row - Junior Hockey News- Graovac faces off against his former team, and goes off to the tune of 1 goal and 3 assists.
Off The Trail
Lindy Ruff part of a dying breed of NHL coaches - SBNation.com- Great piece by our teammate, Bruce Ciskie. Not only a look at the Ruff/Sabres situation, but also the increasing rarity of stability at head coach in sports.
NHL Three Stars: Huberdeau sparks Panthers; Islanders’ unlikely hero | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Matt Cullen makes the Second Star, and Taylor Hall makes Dishonorable Mention.
Brian Rolston on his future and brother, Ron, the new interim coach in Buffalo | StarTribune.com- Russo catches up with Brian Rolston, talks about where he goes from here, as well as his brother, who's been in the headlines as of late.
Perception and how fans can love dirty players | Backhand Shelf- What an appropriate topic for today, no?
Straight-up Tough versus Tough to Play: The importance of the right type of sandpaper | Backhand Shelf- Justin Bourne breaks down the variations of tough in the NHL.
Daniel Alfredsson Ryan O'Reilly top NHL trade rumors | Home Ice - SI.com- Allan Muir of SI.com tries to make sense of the latest trade rumors in the NHL.
*I begrudgingly admit that he has talent, but fuck him.