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Wilderness Walk- 01-31-2013: Rivalries, Rants, and Recaps Edition

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You know the drill. We got links. You click 'em. You read 'em. You get to be knowledgeable when talking about the Wild. All your dreams come true. Let's go!

What?! The Blackhawks wear red, too?!?! And another chapter to this rivalry is written...
What?! The Blackhawks wear red, too?!?! And another chapter to this rivalry is written...
Hannah Foslien

Fun game, huh?

I was logging some time at Pub Trivia last night, which meant that I got to watch the third period and on instead of listening to the audio feed, as my lack of cable often reduces me to. And though I missed all the scoring, it was a tense, but entertaining game, from what I saw.

Anyway, you know the result by now. The Wild won, which would have left the previously undefeated Blackhawks to suffer the ignominy of being vanquished by their biggest rival*, were it not for Detroit, St. Louis, Vancouver, San Jose, Nashville, probably Columbus, and whoever currently owes Patrick Kane 12 cents.

The Wild and their loyal fans have a day of rest now, and that's good. The Wild are going to need it when they go into the belly of the Honda Center beast. Yes, they will be facing off against their other biggest rival, the Anaheim Ducks, a team that still has four whole members from the fabled 2007 Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup with the Wild. Needless to say, the four players still remaining from the Wild's 06-07 roster will carry over this bad blood to make this an exciting rivalry game.

And, oh boy, I don't even need to tell you about the game after that, when the Wild go toe-to-toe with their other other biggest rival, the Phoenix Coyotes, who played the Wild something like four times last year.

But on with the news of the day. So, what do we got? We have a whole lot of Wild News, and a whole lot of not much else. But it's a lot of Wild news, so let's take a cold shower to get over the excitement of a slate of gripping rivalry games, and dig in to the news of the day.

Wild News

Preview/Recap City

Josh Harding gets the Wild cage tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks | Welp, that worked out well.

Backstrom's relief effort sparks Wild in shootout win | Russo's recap blog in article form!

Wild, with points in 3 consecutive games, ends Chicago's winning streak | Russo's recap article in blog form!

Minnesota Wild: Matt Cullen keeps plugging along -- and scores - I need to take exception to Cullen's Sweedish coach's ketchup bottle analogy. Ketchup bottles that you squeeze are fairly efficient- you squeeze them, and ketchup comes out in the manner you wish, assuming you understand that the more pressure you put on the bottle, the more ketchup comes out. The bottles of ketchup in which the ketchup comes out at an irregular rate and amount are made of glass, in which squeezing the bottle will do nothing. I'm saddened that Matt Cullen would take to heart advice from someone who can't fully comprehend the concept of a ketchup bottle. Good thing he's pretty. And scored a goal.

Zulgad: Wild coach makes all the right moves in win over Blackhawks | 1500 ESPN Twin Cities- Yeo's got guts. Read all about it.

Cullen, Wild hand Chicago its first loss with 3-2 shootout victory- Derek's recap at State of Hockey.

First Round Bust: Game Seven: The Hangover- First Round Bust's recap. It's by Nate. Read it.

Hitting The Post: 30WR: Gm 7 vs. CHI- Nick's recap at Hitting the Post. Read it. It's 30 words. You can read 30 words.

Wild Features/Non-Recap Blogs

Coach, GM stay patient as Wild's Granlund adjusts | Russo's Wild Notebook, mostly on Granlund. It's a tough situation to navigate. On one hand, he killed it at Houston, so it seems that he doesn't have too much more to learn down there, but on the other hand, a 48-game season makes it harder to give a rookie all the time he needs to adjust. Let's hope Granlund turns it around, and quick.

First Round Bust: "Rivalry Wednesday" Introduces Us To The Unknown Wild-Blackhawks Rivalry- Nate at FRB apparently thought Chicago and Minnesota wasn't a big rivalry. n00b! (But seriously, it's a less sarcastic take on the idea of forced rivalries. Definitely worth your time.)

Reusse: Leddy trade to Blackhawks remains a sore spot to fans | I'd be negligent if I didn't link to this article (and to be fair, this isn't so much a "WOW, Chuck Fletcher really screwed up on that one" article, so much as it is an "Well, the fans are just going to always say 'WOW, Chuck Fletcher really screwed up on that one', but come on. The Cam Barker trade was a complete disaster, but is it because the Wild gave up Leddy? No. If the Wild had acquired a young blueliner that was actually good, say Alex Goligoski, and the price was Leddy, I don't think anyone would be complaining. That trade sucked primarily because of Cam Barker being Cam Barker, rather than Nick Leddy becoming a super stud.

Can we just all be honest about who Nick Leddy is? He's a nice puck-moving/offensive defenseman, sure, but is anyone rushing to crown him among the best young d-men in the game? If so, I haven't heard them yet.

Look, I don't wish to rip Leddy, or tell you he's subpar. He has talent, is succeeding at a young age, and should be in the league a long time. Of course I'd take Leddy on my team. And duh, I'd undo the Barker trade if given a time machine, and I'd maybe do it even before I bring Michelangelo to Vienna in the 1910's to teach Hitler how to paint well (which, of course, would prevent WWII. You're welcome, future time travelers!). But let's be realistic- the Nick Leddy trade isn't standing between the Wild and a bright future. So can we not hear about it every time Chicago comes to town? Or every day?

Off The Trail

Are the Vancouver Canucks "Cody Hodgson’ing" Roberto Luongo’s stats? | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | Speculation over whether Mike Gillis of the rival Vancouver Canucks are pumping Luongo's tires. At least someone is. Important to you, because no matter who Luongo is traded to, it'll be a rival. Even if he's traded to the Hershey Bears.

The Oilers didn’t win the Nick Schultz for Tom Gilbert trade. Nor did they lose it. | Edmonton Journal- Debated whether to put this in Wild News. I decided I needed to go "Cody Hodgson"-ing up this section. Anyway, revisiting the Gilbert-Schultz trade, it's nice to see that after Gilbert's Suterian start last year, they appear to be benefitting in the long run with that trade.

NHL - Dany Heatley leads pack of rebounding stars - ESPN Insider story, so the short version: Dany Heatley last year? Not so good. Dany Heatley this year? Sooooooo goooood! Also, Kane, Eric Staal, Markov, and Vanek are doing better than last year.

NHL expansion to Toronto, Quebec City ‘most likely’ in next 3 years; NHL denies plan in place | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- With realignment coming to shake up the Wild's rivalries, it makes sense for the League to add two new teams to the NHL. What this means for the Wild: TWO MORE RIVALS!!!!!!!!

*If you're sick of jokes about the Blackhawks-Wild "rivalry", you should quit now. I'm saying "rival" in this post more than they say "Tebow" on First Take.