I've said this for a while, but I'm scared of the Blues.
Other than Chicago, they're the team I least want to see play against the Wild in the playoffs. They're big, fast, and physical. The Blues have owned the Wild thus far, and the Wild have been struggling as of late.
You would be forgiven for saying they're doomed.
But if the Wild can win, it would obviously be huge. As arguably the toughest team the Wild have on the rest of their schedule (along with the Kings), this game represents perhaps the Wild's last, best chance at having a statement game. The two points will also be all-important as the Wild continue on their quest to the magic 56-mark.
Like I said yesterday, though, the WIld's fate is very much in their own hands, even if they lose tonight. This is because the Wild have a slate of winnable games after tonight.
But it'd be great to get momentum, or you know, the two points. The Wild are still trying to adjust to the Jason Pominville addition, and absorbing the losses of Dany Heatley and Matt Cullen, so it would be great to see them overcome that adversity.
Onto the Walk.
Playoff Bubble Today
The Wild currently sit in the 7th spot in the Western Conference with 46 points, six points behind the Division-leading Vancouver Canucks, and two points behind the Los Angeles Kings for the 4th spot. Detroit sits in the 8th spot with 43 points, with Phoenix one point behind them.
Vancouver (52) defeated Calgary by a score of 4-1.
Phoenix (41) beat edmonton by a score of 3-1.
For Wild, playoff talk takes back burner | StarTribune.com- Detailing the Wild's attempts to gel down the stretch and round into playoff form. Also mentioned is why Zucker isn't on the team right now.
Wild's Harding could be headed to AHL for conditioning stint | StarTribune.com- This might be the best news of the day. Also included in the notebook are the reasons why Stoner sticks.
Josh Harding returns to Wild practice; lineup update vs. Blues | StarTribune.com- The Strib articles in blog form, so extra content for y'alls!
Minnesota Wild: It's about the play, not the playoffs - TwinCities.com- The Pioneer Press is also writing about the importance of rolling into the playoffs with momentum.
Is Mathew Dumba the Answer to Minnesota’s Defensive Woes? - Gone Puck Wild- Sorry, but no. No. Absolutely not. It's incredible that Brodin is playing this well as a 19 year old. Handing the reins of a Top-4 defenseman role in the playoffs to an 18 year old who has only seen NHL practices is basically suicide. If you have to, call up Scandella, who at least has NHL experience. I like Dumba a lot- there was no bigger Dumba-Wild 'shipper before the draft than me- but this is terrible, this idea.
Tending the Fields
The Third Intermission: The Des Moines Aeros? Really?- Still trying to make sense of whether the Aeros will really be moving to Des Moines.
Report: Aeros To Des Moines; Their Weird Toyota Center Fight Now Includes Talk Of Missing Office Equipment, Bad Ice & Iffy Wi-Fi - Houston- A comprehensive breakdown of the Aeros-Toyota Center struggle. The Wild clearly don't want to leave Houston.
The Third Intermission: A huge week starts now- But never mind all that, the Aeros have some games this week...
The Third Intermission: Aeros Lose Game, And Lose Another Goalie-...That they kicked off with a loss.
Guest Post: NCAA Frozen Four field pleads college hockey’s case | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Mike Snee talks about the benefits of universities throwing their hat into the NCAA Div. I. ring. The benefits, sadly, won't extend fully to the student-athletes who are putting their health on the line to make their universities truckloads of cash.
Potential destinations for NCAA Division I hockey - The Hockey News-...Think these schools might join Division I hockey? USC seems pretty intriguing.
Off the Trail
30 Thoughts: NHL players in Sochi Olympics won't come cheap | Hockey | CBC Sports- This week's 30 thoughts discusses insurance for Olympic participants, the Toronto-Vancouver-Luongo trade triangle, Steve Yzerman's deadline strategy and the goalie market, and Chuck Fletcher's deadline moves.
Everybody’s going streaking through the (final) quad(rant of the regular season) | Backhand Shelf- A look at the hot and not teams in the NHL right now.
Bryzzzzz: Was Ilya Bryzgalov benched for falling asleep in Flyers team meeting? | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- And you thought Roberto Luongo was having a rough go of it.
Randy Carlyle offers confounding take on Maple Leafs' play - NHL - Sporting News- Say what you want about the Wild head coach, but at least Yeo wouldn't be cool with the Wild not registering a shot in 25 minutes.
David Backes kisses all the puppies (Video) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- This is just a really cool story and video. I'm very grateful towards Backes and Barrett Jackman for bringing attention to this awesome project. And if you're looking for a pet, a shelter is a great place to to find one. My girlfriend and I have had our shelter dog, Doug Funnie, for almost 7 months now, and he's as sweet, loving, and adorable as any other dog. It's been wonderful for all three of us.
Elliott rediscovers himself just in time for Blues : St. Louis Post-Dispatch- Not good news for the West.
Blues by the Numbers: Welcome to the Team! - St. Louis Game Time- If you like the numbers, you can read this.
Blues Call Up Dmitrij Jaskin From Peoria - St. Louis Game Time- A new face the Wild will see tonight, perhaps?