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Wilderness Walk: Harding in Iowa Edition

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Josh Harding has cleared waivers and is back to the AHL.

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Hey, Wilderness!

As you know, #HardingWatch ended yesterday morning, as it was discovered that Josh Harding had gone through waivers unclaimed, and would be reporting to Iowa.

I said this on Twitter yesterday, but this turned out to be a really savvy move by Chuck Fletcher. By all accounts, Harding wasn't going to be able to get NHL-Ready within the confines of a conditioning stint, after which he would have to be in the NHL or placed on waivers, anyway. So what sending Harding through waivers now hoped to (and did) accomplish was to get the waiver process over with while Harding was least likely to be claimed.

Solid game theory by Chuck Fletcher.

As for the Minnesota Wild, they're on yet another hiatus, one that will end tomorrow. In the meantime, it's weird to see this team do what it's done (Dominate possession, win 10 of 17 games), and still be 10th in the Conference. There are two reasons for this: The first is that the Wild have played fewer games than anyone in the Conference, having at least one game in hand against everyone, and two or more against 6 teams ahead of them in the standings.

The second is that they're not losing late enough. The Wild join the Vancouver Canucks as the only team in the Conference to not have lost a game in overtime. If you're gonna lose, get that loser point, because it makes a difference. Winnipeg, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Jose all have 10 wins on the season, and are ahead of the Wild only by virtue of loser points.

That said, two points tomorrow against Philadelphia would be pretty cool, too.

On to the Walk.

Wild News

Wild's father-son trip will be hard for Suter, Parise | Star Tribune- Tough trip for two of the Wild's veterans as Suter lost his father earlier this year and Parise's is battling cancer.

Wild's Harding clears waivers, headed for Iowa | Star Tribune- We discussed this. Wishing him continued health in Iowa.

HockeyBuzz.com - Tony Dean - WildHBcommunity: Chuck Fletcher Handles Josh Harding Situation Perfectly- When Harding's future with the Wild was in doubt, The Dean had some thoughts.

Breakdown Breakdown - Minnesota Wild - Articles - Homepage - Wild Xtra- Aaron of Wild Xtra looks at what happened to cause some Goals Against for Minnesota.

Advanced Stats: What are they good for? - Minnesota Wild - Articles - Homepage - Wild Xtra- Addressing both of Mike's problem with advanced stats in hockey here. 1) No, raw Corsi, Fenwick numbers don't account for things like strength of schedule. It's a problem with pretty much every sports statistic? The solution? A larger sample size. The data that we have on this season now is better than what we had two weeks ago, a month ago, on October 10th, etc. There are also possession numbers that are weighted for all kinds of factors- quality of teammates, competition, score effects, etc. Advanced stats in hockey are in their early stages, and of course they will develop and continue to get better. But (smarter people than me who are collecting this data) at where they're at right now, and the fact that a statistic isn't perfect now is no reason to throw them out.

2) They are exactly what you want them to be. No one is claiming that even the best statistics we have are a flawless oracle. They're just there to measure a team's performance so we can make educated guesses about their future. That's what a prediction is. Of course it's going to be wrong sometimes. And in cases where it is wrong, it's important to find why it's wrong. In Colorado's case last year, Semyon Varlamov was absurd last season, and the Avalanche had really good special teams. Those things can buoy a bad 5v5 team. Ask the 2002-03 Wild.

As for the notion that the Avs gave the Wild a good run for their money, they did force it to seven games, but there's not much of a reasonable case that the Wild didn't dominate that series completely. Honestly, the Wild should have won 5-6 of those games.

Tending the Fields

Minnesota Wild Prospect Update: Duke Settles In, Michalek Gets a Pair of Wins- Reid Duke has 5 goals and 11 assists in 16 games since being traded from Lethbridge to Brandon. Also, Alex Tuch has 8 points in 10 games, which is more points per game than Charlie Coyle put up in his Freshman year, and right around the pace Mario Lucia was at last season.

2014/15 WildXtra High School Hockey Primer - Articles - Articles - Homepage - Wild Xtra- Wild Xtra gives you some dates to know with HS season coming up. And of course, you can read our Minnesota HS Hockey Coverage on Saturdays!

Off the Trail

Gordie Howe tribute from Keith Olbermann is just about perfect (Video) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Gordie Howe suffered a second stroke, is not doing well.

Olli Maatta returns to Penguins lineup two weeks after removal of cancerous tumor | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Good to see Maatta back after what had to be a scary time in his life.

Cup winner wants cap relief: Kings GM wants NHL salary-cap solution in Slava Voynov case | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Dean Lombardi has a legitimate gripe here. Voynov can't play. So why can't there be some sort of emergent relief for LA?

Who makes Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015, and will it be Lindros? | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Hall of Fame Intrigue.

Applying Some Baseball Rules to the Hockey Hall of Fame- Sean MacIndoe applies some of Baseball's rules to the Hockey Hall of Fame, making it two HoFs Barry Bonds can't get into. At least this time, he doesn't deserve to be there, anyway.

2014-15 NHL season -- #NHLrank goaltenders - ESPN- Darcy Kuemper shows up on this list!

Taylor Hall calls Dallas Eakins question 'stupid' | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- If you don't like these rankings, or where Kuemper lands in them, then Taylor Hall has got your back.

Report: Stars "Closing In" on Multi-Year Extension for Jason Spezza | theScore- Well-deserved, after Spezza took Dallas to the heights of 13th in the Conference.

Franson emphatically denies Leafs are playing to get Carlyle fired | ProHockeyTalk- Steve Simmons asks a question that got an explicative in return.

Rocco Grimaldi plays AHL, NHL games on same day - ESPN- Really cool story, this happens very rarely.

America doesn’t care about P.K. Subban, according to Sports Illustrated | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- George Bush Doesn't Care About Hockey Players!

Video: Clutterbuck steals puck, scores shorthanded goal | ProHockeyTalk- Nice goal, but I'm still fine with having Nino.

NHL scraps the dry scrape, makes goal review change at GM meetings | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Finally, the biggest non-story in the NHL is over, and some of you people can stop bleating about something that takes 5 minutes.