Some fun times in the Wilderness right now. The Wild have won their fourth game in a row, defeating the hated Detroit Red Wings on Rivalry Night. And when I say "Rivalry", I'm referring to a rivalry that not only doesn't exist now, but will not exist even when realignment happens. Isn't marketing the best?!
There was plenty of good stuff to see in this game, despite the fact that being outshot 38-19 isn't going to do any favors for the Wild's Corsi stuffs. Devin Setoguchi is still continuing to ride his hot streak, and his 20 points in 29 games is the closest to his Joe Thornton's Wing season as he's ever had. Koivu scoring a massive response goal when they needed it most. Pierre-Marc Bouchard continuing to play himself into a viable trade piece. The blue line duo of Brodin and Suter continuing their streak of awesomeness. Hell, pretty much everything but Dany Heatley taking a nap in the second.
Oh, and did I mention the four-game winning streak? In general and on the road? That's pretty decent, too.
Up next are two off days, followed by a Saturday home game against San Jose. Ryan Suter says he expects to win, and after these last 15 games, are you going to argue?
Let's go for a walk.
Playoff Bubble Today
The Wild currently sit 3rd in the Conference, by virtue of their 36 points, and their division lead (2 points and a R/OT win advantage vs. Vancouver). They would be fourth in the Conference without the divisional setup. San Jose is the last team in the playoff bubble with 32 points.
Colorado defeated Dallas in regulation by a score of 3-2.
San Jose edged Edmonton in the shootout, winning 4-3.
Red-hot Wild keeps growing as a team, climbing the standings | StarTribune.com- I'm not an intangibles kind of guy. To me, it's just some stuff that gets applied after the fact. When a team does well, it's because of confidence, and when it does poorly, it's because of a lack of confidence, and everyone's gripping the stick too tightly, etc. That said, when stuff about confidence gets written like this, it can only be a good thing. The Wild are doing well, and it's nice to read about how confident they are, especially after the first 10 games.
Minnesota Wild roll over Red Wings on the road - TwinCities.com- Pioneer Press recap.
Setoguchi scores twice as the Wild break 13-game winless drought in Detroit with 4-2 win over the Red Wings- State of Hockey News recap, with a lot of Aeros stuff at the end.
Hitting The Post: The Man with No Name- Some constructive criticism for this Hitting the Post review: Not. Enough. Haikus. There were exactly zero, which is infinity too few.
Niklas Kronwall demolishes Charlie Coyle on hit; was it a head shot or high stick? (Video) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- After ranting about how people in the Dept. of Player Safety judge solely by injury, I'm probably doing the same here. I can see it both ways- Coyle was uninjured, and his head was down, but that's a violent hit, and the head was hit, and Kronwall has a rep. I think the minor penalty was sufficient, and this certainly isn't a suspension.
First Round Bust: Dany Heatley has the Hand of God- I AM ONE WITH THE GODS!!!!!!!
Five Questions: Minnesota Wild's Chuck Fletcher on building a winner - NHL.com - Five Questions With…- Chuck Fletcher talks with NHL.com about the big picture.
Wild notes: Contract issues will pop up shortly | StarTribune.com- ...Speaking of the big picture. Russo talks about why the Wild won't be big spenders in the trade market, or free agency for that matter. And that's a very good thing. I'm not worried at all about a contract crunch if the Wild go down this road, because worst case scenario, for there to be a tight fit with these young players will mean that they're good. I can deal with that.
Minnesota Wild: Morning skate more like a practice - TwinCities.com- Another notebook, this time about how to get in practice time when there are no practices.
Minnesota Wild: Brett Clark still not able to crack lineup with new team - TwinCities.com- Speaking of lack of practices, this is currently the main casualty of it.
One to watch: Minnesota rookie Jonas Brodin | ProHockeyTalk- A quick look at Jonas Brodin. I'm posting this, because love for Brodin is an automatic addition now. Unless you're Rant Sports.
Minnesota Wild Trade Watch: Matt Cullen and Niklas Backstrom Staying Put - Gone Puck Wild- I said this yesterday: Duh. There's no good reason to trade either. Backstrom is playing really well, and is the only solid, known quantity in goal the Wild have. Cullen's speed is the lynchpin of the second line, and with Setoguchi playing so well, you can't mess with that. Neither of those things will happen.
Tending the Fields
First Round Bust: Louie Nanne Profiled In Penticton- A nice feature on a seemingly nice kid with a good attitude. I don't think he'll make it to the Wild, but I'm rooting for him, especially after the crap he took in some circles when he was drafted. As FRB mentions, his 1G and 4A make him the current playoff points leader for Penticton.
Off the Trail
NHL in danger of overdoing outdoor games - NHL - Brian Cazeneuve - SI.com- Well, we didn't have to worry about it this year. THANKS, LOCKOUT!!!!!!!!!!
Five NHL rule changes GMs should recommend at their fancy meeting | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- What one writer thinks the GMs should have decided.
NHL GMs debate shootout rules, expanding video review for blown calls | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- What the GMs actually decided. I think there's some overlap.
Making Sergei Kostitsyn a healthy scratch after his line change gaffe was taking the easy way out | Backhand Shelf- Justin Bourne expresses disagreement with Barry Trotz' handling of Kostitsyn's recent blunder.
The Chicago Blackhawks are slightly better than the Anaheim Ducks…at everything | Backhand Shelf- And that's why they play the games.
The sad saga of Dan Boyle, moveable object | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- He was the hero for San Jose tonight, though. Maybe that buys him some time.
The $14 million cap hit NHL player is nearly here | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Of course, Rant Sports will still be telling us that Parise and Suter's contracts will impact the Wild's cap situation negatively.
In all seriousness, though, it'll be interesting to see how high contracts will get now that the term a player can get is limited. It makes sense that a cap hit that high, or at least of, say $12 million, is going to happen eventually. If Philadelphia was crazy enough to do what they did to Weber, there'll be another team desperate enough to abandon reason.