Last night, I did something I normally do not do. Around eight o'clock, I went to Target and bought Iron Man 3. The BluRay + DVD + Digital Copy version. (Just $27.99. You should look into it.) I never buy movies, mostly because I know they will eventually be on HBO or Netflix, and that FX will air the third installment alongside the first two in marathon style every Saturday morning for the length of time.
But I did, and it was worth it. The Iron Man series is one of the few "comic book" movies that doesn't suck. Did you Captain America isn't about David Backes? What the hell is up with that?
What were we talking about? Oh yeah. Hockey. I mention Iron Man 3, because, like every other Marvel movie, there is added content after the credits. One of the benefits is you get to see the line, in nondescript text, "Tony Stark will return." This is important for Disney and Marvel to mention for obvious reasons when you see the movie (no spoliers). But it serves as a reminder that life isn't going to end at the end of a movie.
That line resonates today as the great hope, Jason Zucker, has been sent to the
Houston Aeros Iowa Wild to start the season. Meanwhile, the former great hope, Mikael Granlund, made the team, and is, as of this moment, skating on a line with Kyle Brodziak and Matt Cooke. Right where everyone dreamed he would be after that sweet lacrosse style goal in that one game in the World Little Kid League. Or something like that.
Thank goodness FBJ made the cut, and has a line assignment that would have had Wild fans jumping off the IDS building last spring. Otherwise, I think Russo would have joined me in the wonderful world that is retirement.
Take a serious look at yourselves, Wild fans. A real, good look. You are freaking losing your minds that Jason Zucker was sent to play top line minutes in Iowa, rather than stay with the Wild and play an extra forward role that likely would have seen him slotted in a spot that is not what he was drafted to play. You know, like the former savior is doing in practice today.
Damn you, Chuck Fletcher and Mike Yeo. Damn you both, I say, for developing talent the proper way, and awarding roster spots to the guys who earned them and not the guy the fans want to be in love with! How dare you not demote Justin Fontaine and allow Zucker to be one the fourth line? How dare you not trade Zach Parise and rip the C from Mikko Koivu's sweater while benching Niklas Backstrom in favor of Darcy Kuemper? How dare you not buy out Dany Heatley in violation of league rules and free up a spot for Zucker? How dare you trade for Jason Pominville and bring in another potential 70+ point forward, clearly stealing Zucker's spot? How. Dare. You. Sirs?
But hey, everyone is just giddy with excitement that Fontaine, the only living person capable of restoring Duluth's place in the hallowed halls of Minnesota hockey greatness, made the team. Good for him. The guy everyone jumped up and down about his being the lead scorer of goals and points for the Aeros is now your fourth line grinder with the real potential to sit in the press box for long stretches of time. The same guy who showed such massive intelligence and sophistication by tweeting out a gay slur shall now be celebrated as a conquering hero.
He's one of us, though. So it's OK. Except, you know, he was born in Canada. Ignore that fact, because... HE'S ONE OF US!!!!! UMD! UMD! UMD! (Someday, maybe I'll come out of retirement to research how long one must be in Minnesota to actually be one of us.)
The Wild, in one roster announcement, went from Stanley Cup favorites with Fontaine scoring 90 goals and 200 points from the fourth line, to the embodiment of Hockey Prospectus' 29th in the league prediction with the demotion of Zucker.
Incredible that a team boasting the best roster they have had in... well... maybe ever... is being skewered about Jason Zucker. Parise, Koivu, Pominville, Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Charlie Coyle, Heatley, Backstrom, Josh Harding... some other guys in there, too... but Zucker is going to be the make or break, here? Come on, folks.
Zucker will be back, Fontaine will either sink or swim in the only NHL role he will ever likely get, the team is not going to finish 29th in the league, and the Oilers named Andrew Ference their captain today. ANDREW FERENCE. For real. And you're freaking out that the Wild sent a kid to Iowa to better develop his abilities? Andrew. Ference.
Someone tell Vikings fans that they can go back to watching Christian Ponder under throw passes and leave hockey to the big kids, will ya?