After snatching defeat from the jaws of victory Tuesday night, the Wild have a winnable home game against the last-place Avs. Piece of cake, right?
Maybe. It wasn't last time, when the Wild lost a winnable game in the shootout. So, there.
I usually don't throw around "It's The Biggest Game of the Year" lightly, but this is clearly The Biggest Game of the Year. Dallas, Nashville, and San Jose are all playing a game tomorrow in which they could pass Minnesota, potentially leaving them at 11th, leaving the Wild where they were before toppling Vancouver. That won't be good. A win guarantees the Wild will remain within the playoff bubble, and possibly move up.
So, there. It's time for the Walk.
Playoff Bubble Today
The Wild currently sit at 8th in the Conference with 28 points. They are two points behind division-leading Vancouver, and two points behind Los Angeles for 4th in the conference.
Calgary defeated Detroit (29 points) in regulation, by a score of 5-2.
"Really good sign" with Jason Zucker; Brett Clark arrives in Minnesota | StarTribune.com- A very dense blog, with plenty of stuff about Zucker, Clark, lack of practice time, the Zucker contingency plan (Nothing I suggested yesterday), and radio play-by-play guy Bob Kurtz getting hit in the head with a puck.
Zucker skates lightly after hit to head, Perry suspended for illegal check | StarTribune.com- The paper version, with talk about Perry's suspension. While it's a good sign that Zucker was at practice, I'm not holding my breath for Zucker to play tonight. Particularly when concussion symptoms can lurk and show up a few days later.
Reusse: Wild's less-heralded rookie Brodin is thriving in NHL | StarTribune.com- I think Brodin's season is impressive enough when you don't put it in contrast with Granlund's struggles but whatevs, Reusse. Brodin gets some much-deserved attention.
Wild owner Leipold sees a title, and hopes it's soon - TwinCities.com- As do we. This is more of a feature on Leipold than a discussion of the implications of that statement, which would be a boring article, seeing as every owner thinks that.
Minnesota Wild: Defenseman Brett Clark adds 'experience and poise' - TwinCities.com- Feature on Brett Clark. Pretty shrewd set of moves for Fletcher, trading away an extraneous depth contract to get a depth contract of use to him, all while picking up a late pick for his troubles. It's nice to get yet another puck-mover into the fold, and it's nice to see the Wild be proactive in trying to improve upon the Falk/Prosser combo, despite the defensive success the Wild have enjoyed thus far.
Brett Clark Addition Is Bad News For Young Minnesota Blue Liners- The Hockey Writers- More on Brett Clark and what he brings to the team.
Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold: Business is "as good as ever" - Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal- Enjoy reading how futile your lockout-induced vows to withdraw your support for the NHL were.
Minnesota Wild Prospect Pipeline Paying Big Dividends - Gone Puck Wild- It's all kinds of insane that three rookies are stepping into significant roles with the Wild. Almost as insane as their best prospect not being one of them.
Tending the Fields
NHL scouts re-rank 2012 NHL draft - The Hockey News- Mathew Dumba fell to 17th in these rankings. While he's definitely not enjoying the same caliber of season he did last year, I'm still a huge Matt Dumba fan. With all due respect to Grigorenko, Teravainen, and Trouba (whom I didn't like coming into the draft, but is shutting me up by blowing the NCAA up), I'm still pretty confident with the Wild taking their chances with Dumba.
Off the Trail
Corey Perry suspended four games by NHL for hit on Jason Zucker | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- The big news of the day, with the Wild and everyone else, here's the national side of it.
NHL teams should think twice before pulling the trigger on long-term contracts | Backhand Shelf- Justin Bourne writes about the drawback to the ability for teams to resign their players at an extra year than other players.
Zach Sikich’s 14 minutes of fame: How trainer became Anaheim Ducks’ emergency goalie | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Lost in the Corey Perry dirty hit was this cool story about Anaheim's Paul Deutsch.
Buffalo Sabres trade rumors involve Ryan Miller, Tomas Vanek and Jason Pominville | Home Ice - SI.com- If you hurry, you can be the first to suggest the Wild bring Thomas Vanek home. Not Austria, the other home.
The man who solved Alex Ovechkin | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- On the flip-side of yesterday's Gretzky-Lemeiux comps for Crosby.
NHL Midseason Report: Fighting Is Up! So Are the Canadiens! … But Not the Flyers - The Triangle Blog - Grantland- Down Goes Brown provides us with yet another midseason review.
Free Jake Gardiner: Agent uses Twitter to pry client from Maple Leafs’ shackles | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- It worked really well for Petr Sykora, so why not?
The Los Angeles Kings’ Twitter game is on another level | Backhand Shelf- If anyone in charge of staffing the Wild's Twitter feed is reading this, rest assured, I can not only quote Wayne's World, but Office Space, Idiocracy, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story with the best of them. Or at least, I do pretty well for a 15-year-old with a wife and a kid.
Splitstville: Avalanche at Wild - Mile High Hockey- Their preview of tonight's game.