How could I properly explain the Minnesota Wild’s hockey rivalries to a non-believer? Sometimes we hate a hockey team because of certain players (Ladies and Gentleman, meet Darcy Tucker). Other times, we hate teams because of an on ice event (The Mattias Ohlund "Chopper" incident). As a native Minnesotan, sometimes I just flat out hate a team because of where they are from (Greetings from Dallas!).
"(Belanger) said he's never done that before, that he's had only one 5-minute major (for elbowing), but the same is true if you shoot somebody," Chimera said. "You only have to shoot somebody once to be dirty. It's a dirty hit and there's no need for it. My back was turned the whole way."
The Wild continues to wait patiently for free-agent winger Alex Tanguay to make a decision on his future.
While sources say the Wild hasn't budged on a one-year, $2.5 million offer -- the max it can legitimately offer the playmaker and still be comfortably under the $56.8 million salary cap ceiling -- the Wild has continued to talk to both Tanguay and his agent.
The biggest reason why the Wild hasn’t developed the superstars, it’s never had a lousy year.
It’ll be interesting to see if that happens without Jacques Lemaire here. As one longtime NHL exec said to me today, "Lemaire kept that team above water so long, I think a lot of people are intrigued to see how good they’ll be with a new coach. Because there’s not a lot there and there’s not a lot coming up. Getting the right coach there is as important if not more than the right GM."
In the third, after Okposo tried to remove Zidlicky’s kidneys, Clutterbuck and Okposo were having an unbelievable barking match from penalty box to penalty box. Then Clutterbuck started gesturing. I thought he was pretending to wipe tears or something. After the game, I asked Clutterbuck what he was doing and he said, "Told him to shave his neck. I told him if he can’t grow it on the rest of his face, why try at all?"
Minnesota Wild: Another team on the playoff bubble, and another team that stood pat. Michael Russo of the Star Tribune explains how it went down:
I was told by a very good source that Marian Gaborik was in play, but clearly the Wild wasn't able to find a market. Asked if he tried to trade Gaborik, Risebrough would only say, "No." Like I said, I trust my source though, and it would make no sense that the Wild wouldn't at least dangle a carrot.
Assistant GM Tom Lynn said the Wild was in a "major deal" up until this morning, and then it fell through. Talking just now to Risebrough, and reading between the lines as you'll read tomorrow, I think it was for Jokinen again. The Wild was just not willing to give up a young player and definitely not willing to give up a first-round pick in any big deal, Risebrough said.
Olli Jokinen on the Wild would have been an interesting fit, but giving up a No. 1 for a player that still wouldn't elevate Minny to elite status was probably a smart decision.
We need to make a total 360 here and figure this thing out.
Harding, meanwhile, is seven years younger than Backstrom, making a bargain basement salary (and likely to again when he re-signs this summer) and has posted excellent numbers in spot duty this season.
Minnesota's money would be better spent elsewhere than on keeping Backstrom, and the Wild's silence on the issue leads me to believe they think the same. It'll be interesting to see how he performs elsewhere — and what sort of contract he gets to do so.
Given how well backups have performed this season, you have to wonder if the Red Wings' strategy to spend little on their 'tenders makes the most sense in a cap system. Other than the truly elite, goalies are simply too inconsistent to invest big dollars in them long term, and there are already some real ugly contracts out there.
The Marian Gaborik situation has reached a potentially catastrophic juncture.
If Gaborik has surgery, Lynn said he would be out until "at or near the end of the season," meaning the Wild just might be stuck with an untradeable asset.
Surgery will be Gaborik's decision. It's clear Gaborik at least is trying to avoid surgery because he has been skating all week in hopes of practicing with the team.
This is by far the worst-case scenario for the Wild, which tried to sign Gaborik to an extension last summer. When it couldn't, the Wild began shopping him around the NHL.
But with the trade deadline March 4, if Gaborik has surgery, it would be virtually impossible to trade him.
Yesterday afternoon, I received an email from an always iron-clad source telling me that Marian Gaborik went to Colorado to see a specialist over the break. I wrote that in today’s paper because I got it confirmed from a secondary source.
What I didn’t write today is that the source also said it was recommended Gaborik have season-ending surgery.
This is catastrophic, and I’m not talking about what this does to the team this season.
The Wild likely would have an untradeable asset, one that would likely walk at the end of the season. From Gaborik’s perspective, there is no chance he’d command anything close to around the $8 million a year the Wild offered him at the start of the season.