The Wild's string of games facing surly opponents just got a little surlier as the Blue Jackets come to town under the leadership of fiery coach John Tortorella. This marks the departure of former Wild coach Todd Richards, following a listless 0-7 start in which the Jackets never established their defensive game and have suffered from porous goaltending. The expectations of the team were high to return to the playoffs, especially after the surprising acquisition of Brandon Saad, but the team has simply failed to launch this year, and Richards has become the casualty.
Of course that means the team will be extremely motivated facing the Wild, as they are seeing the effects of their terrible start and feeling them in more than just the loss column. Richards was known more as a mild, players' guy and Torts is known for being anything but that. His presence alone should provide some jump to the Jackets as they hit the ice in Saint Paul. Fortunately, the Wild have had recent practice against teams in similar situations, and this time find themselves facing a winless but motivated opponent on their home ice. The Wild will need to come out swinging, as the first home game after a road trip usually means dead legs in the first period.
It all makes for plenty of drama and another exciting game. We dedicate today's musical selection to Todd Richards, and how he must be feeling today. We Walk.
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