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Wilderness Walk: 8 Games to Sochi Edition

Your Minnesota Wild had an off-day on Sunday, but will be back on the ice for practice today before making the trip down to Dallas for another round against the Stars.

Matt Cooke
Matt Cooke
Hannah Foslien

Good morning Wilderness! If you are fortunate enough to have today off of work then I have just 1 finger I'd be remiss not to show you! As you may already know, Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars will likely not see any supplemental discipline for his elbow to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke. This should come as no surprise to anyone across the NHL who is familiar with the Department of Player Safety Jokes.

Your Minnesota Wild have just 8 games remaining on the schedule before they, like every NHL team take a vast majority of February off from hockey in North America and a select few take their talents to Sochi, Russia to represent their respective countries in the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Wild play just 3 of their remaining 8 games at home, and stuff a 4 game road trip against some tough teams and one team trying to figure things out still. Their final game before the Olympics falls on February 6th, which for those of you who know me, know this is the most fantastic day on the Gregorian Calendar as it's my birthday.

The remaining games go as follows:

Date / Time(cst) Home Away
Tue. Jan. 21 / 7 pm Dallas Stars Minnesota Wild
Thur. Jan. 23 / 7 pm Minnesota Wild Chicago Blackhawks
Sat. Jan. 25 / 9:30 pm San Jose Sharks Minnesota Wild
Tue. Jan. 28 / 9 pm Anaheim Ducks Minnesota Wild
Thur. Jan. 30 / 8 pm Colorado Avalanche Minnesota Wild
Sat. Feb. 1 / 9 pm Calgary Flames Minnesota Wild
Tue. Feb. 4 / 7 pm Minnesota Wild Tampa Bay Lightning
Thur. Feb. 6 / 7 pm Minnesota Wild Nashville Predators

As you can see, it is not an easy road for the Wild to the Olympic break. With just 5 games in the month of February the schedule gets pretty tight for the remainder once the Wild return to action on February 27. In the final 2 days of February, and the month of March (33 days) the Minnesota Wild will play 17 games. Included in that stretch are 4 days off the first full week of March which crams 14 games into the final 24 days of March. You can keep your college Basketball tournament, I'll take this NHL version of March Madness any day of the week.

The Wild had Sunday off, so not much news coming out of the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild will be back on the road tomorrow as they make the trip down to Dallas to have a rematch against the Stars.

Wild News

Nate Prosser--The Everyman's Hero | Gone Puck Wild
Prosser has been a pro's pro, and does his job when he's called upon. Gotta love this guy with how little he sees ice time and never complains about it.

Why did Jamie Benn escape suspension for this Matt Cooke elbow? | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports
I suppose the excuse is better than "because it's Matt Cooke" but it's still pretty lame. In a league that allows penalties when the opposing player lifts your stick into his face, you would think being in control of your self at all times was a real consideration in the NHL Department of Player Safety Jokes, then again ....toe pick.

Wild OK with carrying three goalies, might get Parise back next week | ProHockeyTalk
With all the talk of the Wild looking to bring in a veteran goalie to shore up injuries and the situation regarding Josh Harding and his MS medication, those questions seemed to have been answered and perhaps a new question needs to be asked. Just who do the Wild move if they can find a willing trade partner looking for a goalie?

Minnesota Wild: Josh Harding practices but isn't ready to play -
Harding may be on the way to Iowa for a short rehab stint to get him ready to come back to the NHL.

Tending the Fields

Hockey Day Minnesota 2014: High School hockey enjoys its place in 'the Pit' | State of Hockey News
Moar coverage from #HDM2014.

Laxidasicle Meanderings

Wings cruise past Minnesota Swarm, 15-8, to snap three-game losing streak
The Swarm drop another one at the X, bringing their record to 1 - 3 on the young NLL season.

Off the Trail

Sidney Crosby named captain of Canadian Olympic team; also, water is still wet | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports
PHEW! Glad that is settled! I was beginning to worry.

John Tortorella’s awkward history with faceoff fights, Bob Hartley | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports
So, Torts has some sort of history with this sort of thing. This, does not surprise me ...

Baseball analyst sparks Internet debate over NHL in wake of Flames-Canucks brawl - The Hockey News
Now, as much as I agree with those firing back at Peter Gammons who covers by far the dirtiest major league sports in the North American continent in regards to PED's, that doesn't necessarily make his observations about the Canucks / Flames line brawl and Tortella's subsequent invasion of the Flames locker room wrong. A lot of non and fringe hockey fans are turned away by displays like this. Obviously baseball has its brawls as well, and they have their own "code" when it comes to plunking the opposing batter in retaliation. Umpires in MLB however are much quicker to drop the hammer on players that participate in such activities.

Ice surface for Stadium Series game at Dodger Stadium coming along despite high temps in L.A. - 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series LA - Ducks vs. Kings
An ice surface in L.A., who would have thunk it.

NHL player fines put to good use - Sports - The Boston Globe
In case you were wondering what happens to the money when a player is fined.

NHL - NHL, NHLPA have come a long way in a year since the lockout - ESPN
An ESPN article makes a rare appearance in today's Wilderness Walk. No, I haven't been drinking.

NHL Recap - Washington Capitals at New York Rangers - Jan 19, 2014 -
Rick Nash scores twice as the New York Rangers beat up on a Washington Capitals squad that is heading in the wrong direction.

NHL Recap - Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks - Jan 19, 2014 -
The Chicago Blackhawks needed a shootout to get past the Boston Bruins at the Madhouse on Madison.

NHL Recap - Tampa Bay Lightning at Carolina Hurricanes - Jan 19, 2014 -
Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes using 2 goals from rookie defenseman Mark Barberio who can now get a haircut.