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Wilderness Walk: Game Day Edition

Parise may come back, and also, tons of thuggery!

The last time the Wild played the Blackhawks, Parise scored a goal en route to a win. Might both those things happen again tonight?
The last time the Wild played the Blackhawks, Parise scored a goal en route to a win. Might both those things happen again tonight?
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Good news, everyone!

Tonight the Minnesota Wild play the Chicago Blackhawks, to start a brutal stretch of three games where they basically play the best teams in hockey.

So, where's the good news?

Niklas Backstrom has now been deemed healthy enough to play, and will serve as a backup to Darcy Kuemper tonight when the Wild face the Chicago Blackhawks for their last home game before a West Coast swing into San Jose, Anaheim, Colorado, and Calgary. Minnesota has taken two of the three games they've played against Chicago this season, winning the last matchup at the Xcel Energy Center back in December.

Oh, and Zach Parise may play his first game in a month tomorrow. That's good news, right?

Duh. Despite missing the last 14 games, Parise has still managed to be fourth on the team in points, second in goals, and first in shots. His ability to possess the puck would do wonders for a Wild team that has been winning, but often while getting out-shot by their opponents. We'll stay tuned in on this latest edition of #PariseWatch

On to the Walk.

Wild News

Signs point to Parise's return to Wild lineup Thursday vs. Hawks | Star Tribune- This should work out OK. I don't think the Wild are rushing him back out of any sort of desperation. They'll have seen how well that worked the first time, and I'm pretty confident they won't risk sabotaging their own season by making that same mistake twice.

Minnesota Wild: Zach Parise hopes to return vs. Blackhawks - Yay!

Parise could return Thursday vs. Chicago | Russo's Rants | Yay.

Tuesday (Time to find out what Wolves, Wild are made of) edition: Wha' Happened? | RandBall | Find out what people are made of.

Minnesota Wild: Injured Mikko Koivu says he'll be ready for Olympics - In Koivu news, will he be able to return before the Olympics? I hope so. A healthy Koivu-Parise line is necessary for the Wild.

Minnesota Wild stars advise families to stay home from Sochi - ESPN- Terrorist threats thwart travel.

Tending the Fields

TEXAS SLIPS BY IOWA 4-3 IN A SHOOTOUT- Johan Gustafsson was great, but it wasn't enough. Raphael Bussieres scored a goal, and Zach Phillips earned the point for the Wild by scoring with 30 seconds left.

Off the Trail

Rangers trade Michael Del Zotto to Predators for Kevin Klein | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- From the reactions I saw today, our own Ger was glad the Wild didn't make this move, while our former own Giles seemed a bit disappointed. What do you think?

Initial reaction: The plummeting stock of Michael Del Zotto to the Predators for Kevin Klein, straight up | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | Regardless of whether you like him or not, we can agree that the Rangers would probably have gotten a lot more for him had they traded him sooner.

How silly would the Hart Trophy be if we actually gave it to the person who met its literal definition? | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | I don't know. John Tavares isn't all that far behind in the scoring race. I don't really mind narratives being used to decide close races. I just mind when they're used to justify pretty silly choices, like Subban over Suter, or Cabrera over Trout.

Backhand Shelf Podcast, featuring Patrick Burke, Director of Player Safety for the NHL | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | Patrick Burke is super awesome, so you should listen to him.

Trotz says Dubynk has picked up some ‘bad habits’ | ProHockeyTalk- Like letting pucks in, losing.

Richard Sherman thinks hockey players are thugs, and we sigh deeply | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Well, regardless of who's responsible for it, punching people is a lot more thug-ish than getting excited over beating someone you hate after a game.

College hockey line brawl sees 160 penalty minutes, goalie fight tease (Video) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- More thuggery. And pretty rare for college hockey, where fighting is illegal.

‘Kevin Lowe must go’ sign outside Oilers’ administrative offices draws police attention | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Even more thuggery, being curtailed by good poh-lice.

Behind Enemy Lines

For more news and analysis on the Chicago Blackhawks, please visit our friends at Second City Hockey.

Blackhawks Drop Another Shootout - Second City Hockey- It didn't work out against the Stars on Tuesday, but could Chicago's legs be a bit tired against the Wild?

Rants & Musings : Corey Crawford - Second City Hockey- Corey Crawford deserves your respect, according to SCH.

The 2013-14 Chicago Blackhawks Roster: How It Was Built- F*?!ing Blackhawks! How do THEY work?!