With the NHL debut of young Mr. Jason Zucker tonight, we do our duty and introduce you to the first part of the organization saving rebuild. Let's just say that if the Wild's first three picks of the 2010 draft continue on their current trajectory, Brent Flahr is going to be enshrined somewhere. Maybe Chuck Fletcher can unveil the statue.
Zucker is in for some culture shock tonight. Sure, there are jokes to be made that the Panthers' roster looks like a bunch of college kids, but the truth is, the Cats are on the path to a first place finish in their division and a number three seed in the playoffs. That's going to be a bit of a change from facing the Golden Gophers or Fighting Sioux.
Sure, he was the captain of the US team at the WJC (they didn't do so hot, but he did), he was the WCHA rookie of the year, and named to the WCHA second all star team and the WCHA all rookie team. Big deal. The guys he is going to face tonight all did those same things in their respective youth. This is like being valedictorian in high school, and walking into your first day at MIT. He's not special anymore. He's a rookie, and one with just one day of NHL practice.
And, just so we're clear, if he doesn't pot a hat trick tonight, Wild fans will start calling for him to be traded. After all, no one likes a kid from the sunbelt.
Dan Chan, Hockey Wilderness:
Plays with alot of hustle and tons of energy. Has solid offensive abilities all-around; possesses a very good wrist shot. Willing to make the hit, go into the dirty areas and go into traffic. A very good skater with impressive speed. Extremely versatile. Has a solid build to play his style of game. Extremely confident.
Don Lucia, University of Minnesota Head Coach:
He is the type of kid that draws fans out of their seats. Because of his speed, No. 1. He can really go. He is probably as fast a player as there is in college hockey. He can shoot it. He has a very hard shot. He is very competitive. He has played three years on the World Junior team. He made it as a 17-year-old, that shows his talent level. He is a very dynamic player.
He can talk...
He can take a dirty hit...
He can take another dirty hit...
It seems there must not be TV in Denver. There are no clips on Youtube of Zucker, you know, playing hockey. Guess he'll just have to make his own highlight reel here.