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Wilderness Walk: 02-27-2013

Yeah, you read right. There's no edition today. I'm not forcing it. Just read your links.

Mikael Granlund, being surprised, flattered, and humbled by the extension of my birthday wishes.
Mikael Granlund, being surprised, flattered, and humbled by the extension of my birthday wishes.

After I last left you, the Wild went home, licking their wounds after a pretty bad loss to the Calgary Flames Saturday. That was not a fun game to watch. Hoping that the Wild could at least go 1 for 2 in beating a team that they should beat, I was unbelievably frustrated for the first 54 minutes.

I mean, really? I know they've won 2 of 3 from them, but what about Calgary is so difficult for this team. I know Calgary is one of those teams that are always better than they seem on paper, but come on, Wild. Kipprusoff is gone, and Wild Killer Jerome Iginla hasn't exactly been his usual Wild Killing self against them. So what's the deal? Even though Zucker and Parise helped the Wild pull that one out, I can't shake the feeling that the last two games against Calgary should be easier than they've been.

Anyway, two points is two points, and it's a much-needed two points. The Wild kept pace with the playoff bubble, and now sit at 11th in the conference, but three points out of 4th. It's not exactly time to breathe easy, but a day where the Wild doesn't get closer to the panic button is a good one. It would just be nice to see the Wild dominate a team they should beat.

Unfortunately, that chance won't come in the next few days, as the Wild square off against Phoenix and Anaheim, both teams which are inside the playoff bubble, on the road. It's too early to call it make-or-break, but there's so little margin for error in such a tight conference to think that it's not. 3 out of 4 points on a tough road trip would be very welcome.

So, after our small look ahead, let's continue on to today's links.

Wild News

Parise, Wild edge Calgary in OT | Russo's recap for the newspaper.

Wild 'fights' through adversity to beat Calgary in overtime- Russo's blog, highlighting a very good performance by the penalty kill.

Clutterbuck placed on injured reserve; Wild update | Today's big roster news. They weren't intending to call up anyone in the free spot that Clutter left, but my early guess is they might as insurance for Coyle.

Coach says Granlund's progress is obvious | Hopefully, he'll start progressing to a scoring line. Agree with the article- he's doing fine, despite not meeting the incredibly high expectations set for him.

Minnesota Wild's OT win has Mike Yeo breathing easier - And good thing for him, too. If it were me, I'd be worried about a name coach like Lindy Ruff floating around, especially when you consider how fast Bruce Boudreau was snapped up last year.

Parise's power play goal in overtime powers Wild to 2-1 victory at home- YAY! WE WON! Derek at State of Hockey News has a game recap. Still the most detailed recap you'll find.

NHL Realignment Benefits the Minnesota Wild Immensely - Gone Puck Wild- A look at what realignment means to the Wild. It's an exciting notion, for sure. Rivalries that make sense (Chicago, St. Louis, Winnipeg) will be a welcome addition in the quest for the Wild to forge their own identity, with the shadow of the North Stars still looming over parts of the fan base.

Charlie Coyle’s hit to the head of Matt Stajan: worthy of a suspension? (VIDEO) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Due to the circumstances around it- Stajan coming back right away being the primary one- I don't think it will be one. If it is, though, I can't really complain, especially after my strong words at Taylor Hall last week. It's just stupid to make contact with the head on a late hit. Regardless of intent or dirtiness, or anything else like that, isn't exactly going to endear you to DoPS. If he receives a fine or a suspension (and my guess is a fine), Coyle will be one questionable hit from being a repeat offender, with only 7 games under his belt. Not worth it.

First Round Bust: Dany Heatley And The Amnesty Buyout- Good article, making some good analysis on whether the power play is being hurt because of a deference to Heatley. I still don't think Heatley is going to be a recipient of the amnesty buyout next year. If it does happen, my guess is that Fletcher isn't the General Manager, because you don't eat that kind of money without something going pretty badly.

Tending the Fields

First 2013 NHL Mock Drafts--Minnesota Wild Results - Gone Puck Wild- Dakota breaks down the Mock Draft results for the Wild thus far. All three of them think the Wild want a winger with a mix of size and skill. All things being equal, I don't think the Wild go there. There are guys in the system that fit that bill. What this team needs after getting a puck-mover like Brodin, and a dynamo like Dumba is a Trouba-type blueliner who fits the size/skill bill. Also, the nastier, the better.

Off the Trail

NHL memo details new realignment plan for 2013-14 season | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- So, some more stuff on realignment. There's been some progress made, this time about the inequality the conferences/divisions/whatevers have, and how it relates to the playoffs.

Philadelphia Flyers reacquire Simon Gagne from the LA Kings | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- All right! Are we starting to do trades now?!

Michael Ryder returns to Montreal in deal that sends Erik Cole to Dallas | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Hell yes, we are! Maybe I just don't pay enough attention, but I'm really surprised that Ryder scored 35 goals last year. Whoa, crazy-crazy!

NHL Awards Watch: Sidney Crosby vs. Patrick Kane; surprise leader for Norris | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- No Calder love for Brodin. Again. All sorts of bias at play here, folks. East Coast Bias. West Coast Bias. Canadian Bias. East Side Bias. You name it, they've got it in for our guy. Shenanigans, I say!

Refs’ Perspective: Authority and the Ref: How to Dodge a Hail of Cookies | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | Fun guest post at Backhand Shelf.