Our long national nightmare is over.
Yes, Wild fans. Jason Zucker, having been killed and buried in the NHL, has been resurrected and will now be on a line with Mikael Granlund and Devin Setoguchi.
Hopefully, this will be the spark the Wild needs to get themselves out of their eight-game funk. It's necessary that this team turns it around, and soon. The Wild are, in all likelihood, playing in their first must-win game of the season. Victories by Dallas and Columbus, as well as loser points awarded to Detroit and Phoenix, have tightened the standings up considerably, with those teams being within three points or less of the Wild's 7th seed. Columbus is one of their direct competitors, and they really need to get this taken care of until the pressure turns up a lot. The Wild's playoff odds are down to 90%, which seems good, until you realize that Detroit, Dallas, and Columbus have the potential to put the Wild one point out of 11th place tomorrow. Hell, a regulation loss to Columbus alone knocks their playoff odds down to a touch over 80%.
This game is huge. Two points of breathing room seems like quite a valuable thing this time of year. But it ain't gonna be easy. "The Beej" work hard, and have sneaky talent on their team. The Wild will take them lightly only at their own risk.
So, now that you know the gravity of this game, you may now take a Walk.
Zucker returns, and Wild juggles lines | StarTribune.com- This is the big news of the day. So, I gotta say, I'm liking the idea of these lines. Coyle might not have the ideal offensive production to play with Parise and Koivu, but it was working. On the second line, Bouchard brings the playmaking, Brodziak brings the grit, and Pominville's two-way play, in theory, ties that room together. Zucker and Setoguchi's speedy goal-scoring being centered by Granlund's playmaking seems like an obvious match, and Clutter-Rupp-Mitchell is a solid 4th line. Excited to see it.
Wild practice Friday: Suter sits out, Zucker recalled, new-look lines | StarTribune.com- I thought it was a good point that Yeo made when he said that Pominville had the first line buzzing in St. Louis. I just don't want to see crap about Pominville failing on the first line, which I probably shouldn't mention, because all I have to do to avoid that is not read the Star Tribune comments.
Oh! Also, Suter is hurting now. We'll have to keep an eye on that.
Pominville Trade, Cullen & Heatley Injuries Hurt Wild Chemistry- Definitely an argument to be made here. There's been an awful lot of turnover, and on-the-fly changing. But, hey, with Matt Cullen out, doing something was a preferable idea. I've few regrets (other than paying QUITE so high a price) about the Pominville trade.
Hitting The Post: Wild Guest Color Commentator: Arnold Schwarzenegger- Apparently, The Ruler of California has time to watch St. Louis Blues games. What are you paying him for?
Tending the Fields
Hey top-ranked draft pick: Who are you rooting for down the stretch? | Backhand Shelf- Seth Jones is really hoping that the Wild lose out and win the lottery. Too bad for him, he'll probably be stuck with the edmonton oilers for their 4th consecutive first overall pick.
NCAA Frozen Four: Quinnipiac flies past St. Cloud State, will meet Yale for national championship | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- This was filed later than when I got the Walk up Thursday night.
After compound fracture, St. Cloud State’s Drew LeBlanc’s hard work pays off with Hobey Baker Award | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Cool story. I had no idea about him overcoming a compound fracture. And now he's on the Blackhawks. Good for him.
Off the Trail
Pernell Karl Subban for Norris? | Backhand Shelf- This would have been a better story if the virtues of Ryan Suter would have been extolled more.
Taylor Hall slash needed response from NHL - The Hockey News- I'm very happy that the edmonton oilers can have a dirty player on their roster, and have the NHL go out of their collective ways to excuse all of the dirty crap he does. Anyone else in the league gets this kind of coddling and excuse-making from the League?
Thoughts on Thoughts: NHL players in Sochi Olympics won’t come cheap | Backhand Shelf- Justin Bourne's follow-up to Friedman's 30 Thoughts.
NHL Death Watch: Here are the tragic numbers for your non-playoff teams | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Hopefully the Wild can avoid getting their own shiny tragic number tonight.
Buffalo’s Tyler Myers done for year with broken leg | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Well, Buffalo should just pack it in now. Season's over.