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Wilderness Walk: Duck Soup Edition

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The Wild lose to the Ducks and face the first goaltending dilemma of the season.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

December 5th.  The day the Wild finally added some goaltender drama to their season.  After years of cursed netminders, it's a miracle the team made it this far with relative peace between the pipes.  Last night, Darcy Kuemper surrendered five goals to Anaheim and got benched for the third time in four home starts.

Drama!  Start Backstrom!  Bring up Harding!  Trade Kuemper!

We just can't have peace and quiet.  That being said, I'm hesitant to blame last night's loss entirely on Kuemper.  He was left out to dry a few times by the defense and none of the goals were technically "bad."  In post-game interviews, Kuemper very calmly pointed out that he didn't think he was fighting the puck and that it's not a mental thing right now.

As a Wild fan, we're just going to have to live with Kuemper's growing pains.  Every young goaltender goes through stretches of games with below average play.  If you want them to become more consistent, you have to let them iron out the wrinkles on the ice.

I can sense this will be a season-long conversation, so on to the Walk!

Wild News

Darcy Kuemper exits early again as the Wild rallies, then blows third-period lead to Anaheim | Russo's Rants | - Hey the power play scored twice!  That's more important than a win, right?

Minnesota Wild: Darcy Kuemper's subpar effort puts rally to waste - - Nice positive: Christian Folin had one of his best games and is starting to look more comfortable as a pro.

Wild's Matt Cooke not close to returning - - Not great news on Cooke.  Sure, he's not essential to the team right now, but he certainly would help. - Parise discusses Wild's 'terrible' power play - Over the Boards - Parise is very candid on his assessment of the power play and is very careful not to throw the coaching or scheme under the bus,

Agent denies bookie’s claim Thomas Vanek had $10 million gambling debt | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports - Other big news of yesterday: A bookie claims Vanek was $10 million in debt, Vanek says that's ridiculous.  Will this ever end?

Can Nino Niederreiter or Jason Zucker Hit 40 Goals? - I don't think it's possible this year unless a lot of luck is involved.  Or if Nino actually got the minutes he deserved.

Minnesota Wild Sorting Hat - On a lighter note, let's put the team into Hogwarts houses!

Tending The Fields

Johan Gustafsson & Raphael Bussieres Sent To Alaska of the ECHL - Gustaffson needs to get time in goal while Harding stays in Iowa and Bussieres is recovering from injury,

On The Frozen Pond

High school hockey: White Bear Lake's courageous captain - - If you read only one article today, make it this one.  Both heartbreaking and inspiring.

Off The Trail

Craig MacTavish really doesn’t think Oilers are his disaster | Puck Daddy - The Oilers' press conference was as brutal to watch as their team.

Boston Bruins have problems, most of them self-created (Trending Topics) | Puck Daddy - I generally have respect for the team Boston has built over the last five years, but trading Kessel and Seguin is always going to hurt.

theScore: Seguin: I'm sick of losing - Speaking of Seguin, he's not that excited about losing.  Who knew?

Super 16: Atlantic contenders ready to push Boston Bruins - Super 16: NHL Power Rankings - The Wild remain in the rankings and gain some ground.

Corsi vs. Tango - Do We Need To Adopt Weighted Shot Differential? - Blueshirt Banter - For the stats enthusiasts out there, take a look at Blueshirt Banter's response the new "Tango" metric.

George Parros, the thinking man's enforcer, retires | Puck Daddy - Parros always seemed like a stand up guy.  Best of luck to him after hockey.

NHL Grab Bag: Money Pushups - I actually think Evander Kane is hilarious for posting more money photos.

Super Pekka v. Average Pekka: Quantifying the Difference - On the Forecheck - Pekka Rinne is having an amazing season for the Preds, but is it sustainable?