The Minnesota Wild dropped the ball again last night, now losing 5 of their last 6 games. The bright spots however are how they have seemed to play in these games. They are not playing bad hockey right now, they are just not scoring enough goals to win. Sure there have been lapses, that happens to even the best teams around. 3 of those 5 losses earned the Wild an OT point as well, so it's not all bad and tonight's regulation loss was their first loss in 60 minutes since visiting the Dallas Stars on Mike Modano night.
Tonight, the Wild have another chance to get this monkey off their back. The New York Islanders will play happy host to your Minnesota Wild tonight. This marks the first time Nino Niederreiter will visit his former squad and of course we'll get to see former Minnesota fan favorite Cal Clutterbuck in action as well. Matt Moulson will also return to face the team he started the season with, but was first traded to the Buffalo Sabres before becoming a deadline deal when the Sabres sent him to Minnesota for Torrey Mitchell and a pick.
We don't have a whole lot of game left to get this train back on track, things need to start building for the playoffs or the Wild could find themselves in a similar situation as last season when it came down to the last game. If the Wild back into the playoffs or worse yet miss them altogether, it will raise some very serious questions in regards to Coach Yeo's future with the squad.
Now, to get completely off topic here, I was listening to the great Lou Nanne talking with Dan Barriero last night on KFAN and he mentioned an interesting scenario which he chuckled about but could not be out of the realm of possibility. The Wild need goaltending help, not just now, but going forward as well. The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers have a gem in Sophomore netminder Adam Wilcox.
Now Wilcox was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning (for some reason SBN has him in the Winnipeg Jets organization) in the 6th round of the 2011 draft. He has yet to actually sign with the Lightning however, so the pressure will be on for him to sign with the club after this season. Now if Wilcox were to play out his Junior year and not sign with the Lightning, he would become a free-agent after next season and have a little more control over where his future would lie.
He's one of us, from South St. Paul in fact. Perhaps Nanne is just dreaming out loud, as I would imagine it's not likely this is going to happen. The kid is a stud though, and if he can keep up his performance and play out his Junior year at the U of M, what's to stop him from wanting to sign with his hometown club?
Like I said, Nanne was likely just dreaming aloud, but it really perked my ears up. At any rate, I've rambled on far too long now, lets get to the Walk.
Boston drops Wild for ninth consecutive victory | Star Tribune
The Wild should have learned a valuable lesson in their loss last night. You cannot rest on the Bruins. Yeah, I'm looking at you Koivu on that 3rd goal.
Wild out of their depth in loss to Bruins - TwinCities.com
We have the depth, but this team just hasn't figured out how to put the puck in the net. At this point in the season I don't think I'm going out on a limb to say that is just not going to change. Defense will be key to any sort of playoff run for the Wild.
Wild: Dany Heatley not happy; Mike Yeo says that's good - TwinCities.com
So Heatley is not too happy. I have a suggestion, fix yourself and quit complaining.
Tending the Fields
Solar Bears lost early lead, fall 4-1 to Kalamazoo - Orlando Sentinel
The Solar Bears scored first but the WIngs got the last laugh.
Off the Trail
Thomas Vanek 'decided a year ago' he wanted to hit free agency - CBSSports.com
Vanek finally confirms what we've all known for a year.
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang back at practice after stroke - NHL.com - News
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returned to practice Monday less than two months after having a stroke.
Sabres recall goalie Hackett on emergency basis (Updated) | ProHockeyTalk
After injuries to Michal Neuvirth and Jhonas Enroth, Hackett will get a chance to prove himself with the Sabres.
Flyers fans had hockey jerseys censored at Penguins game | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports
The jersey's are probably a little foul, but if you're complaining about bringing your kid to a hockey game and having to "explain" this to them, when the game is as violent as the NHL can be, especially between 2 bitter rivals like the Flyers and the Penguins, perhaps you should just leave the little ones at home. There is a lot worse going on in an NHL arena than having to explain to your kids that Neal swallows means "nothing". But that's just me, feel free to disagree.
Handicapping the rookie race for the NHL’s 2014 Calder Trophy | Home Ice - SI.com
Has Nathan MacKinnon stole the show after Thomas Hertl lost his season to an injury?
NHL Power Rankings: Mysterious Flyers making noise down stretch - NHL - CBSSports.com
The Wild have dropped out of the top 10 according to CBS Sports. Interestingly enough, the Columbus Blue Jackets have jumped 6 spots into the top 10. I suppose that's what winning games as opposed to getting the loser point will do for you.
Wilcox leads array of Gophers' Big Ten hockey season honors, voted Player of the Year | Ice Gold | StarTribune.com
A lot of Gophers getting honored in the inaugural season of Big 10 hockey.
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NHL Recap - Buffalo Sabres at New York Islanders - Mar 15, 2014 - CBSSports.com
Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo scored first-period goals, and the New York Islanders went on to a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
New York Islanders have tough call when it comes to 2014 vs. 2015 draft - CBSSports.com
After trading for Thomas Vanek in October, the Islanders sent a conditional first-round pick to the Sabres. They'll have to decide whether or not to keep in 2014 or hold onto their 2015 first-rounder.