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Wilderness Walk: Game Day Edition, Take 1

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The Wild face back to back home games against the two teams circling the 3rd playoff spot in the Pacific. The Flames and Kings are also in the discussion for a wildcard spot, but the Jets and your Minnesota Wild currently have that on lock down with 8 games to go.

The Wild look to find their home game against the Flames
The Wild look to find their home game against the Flames
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Huge news in the hockey world today as the National Women's Hockey League was introduced and will begin for the 2015-2016 season.  The league will start with 4 teams and will compensate its players.  There will be franchises in Boston, Buffalo, New York and Connecticut.  Because it will pay its players, the NWHL will have different rules than the CWHL.  Please give the articles a read.  This is a great step forward for the game, and one would think it would find its way to Minnesota quickly if successful, as this market is ideal for professional Women's Hockey.

The Wild return to action tonight after one day of rest and one day's hard practice to challenge the Calgary Flames at Xcel Energy Center.  The Wild have played to a pedestrian 4-4 in their last 8 at home, but most recently beat the Blues last Saturday and escaped with no one getting hurt.  The first games of homestands tend to affect the legs a bit, and the Wild will have to protect against an early onslaught, and can ill afford to let any more teams treat them like the Islanders did in the first period on Tuesday.  The Wild needs to be engaged from the opening faceoff and play a full 60 minutes against a Calgary team that can grind out wins.  The Flames enter the game 1 point out of a playoff spot and will be a desperate opponent.  Winnipeg has climbed back to within 1 of the Wild, who hold a 4 point cushion on 9th place Calgary.

Anno Duby (The Year of Our Duby) continues in full force, and Duby will be the key player to reasserting the Wild's home dominance.  Duby's numbers haven't been as good at home as on the road, but that is more of a story of how the team has played in front of him against some very tough opponents with elite players who can score at any time.  Should be a very fun back-to-back if the Wild can keep its legs fresh.

We start today's Walk with a song from my favorite band that no one's heard of, Particle.  These guys absolutely rip.

National Women's Hockey League

NWHL, new women’s hockey league, promises to pay players | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports
The first four teams in the new women's league: The Buffalo Beauts, Boston Pride, New York Riveters, Connecticut Whale. #ItsHappening

Outlook Hockey: Player's will be paid in the new National Women's Hockey League
How the NWHL is setup and how it differs from the CWHL

Wild News

To The Point: Should Oilers go after Lehner or Dubnyk? - Sportsnet.ca
SO. MUCH. LOL.

Chris Stewart's pregame sprints have Wild keeping heads up | Star Tribune
Chris Stewart is, as Wild teammate Charlie Coyle says, "massive

Dubnyk deal paved way for Wild's playoff run | Star Tribune
When Sid writes about the Wild, you have to give it a read.

Tending the Fields

Grayson Downing's Potential Impact With The Minnesota Wild
GPW discusses the forecast for new college free agent addition Grayson Downing

On Frozen Pond

Gophers hockey: Adam Wilcox sets slump aside to lift Minnesota - TwinCities.com
No, you are not hallucinating, that is Chad Graff writing about the Gophers.  And doing a fine job of it.

NHL -- John Buccigross: Everything you need to know for NCAA hockey tournament - ESPN
Bucci lays it down for you.

Off the Trail

Senators coach: Stop throwing burgers, donate to food banks instead - CBSSports.com
Senators head coach Dave Cameron would like fans to start donating to local food banks instead of throwing hamburgers on the ice.

Judge denies NHL's motion to dismiss concussion lawsuit - CBSSports.com
The NHL's motion to dismiss concussion litigation filed against the league by former players was denied be a U.S. district court judge based on insufficient arguments.

Former New York Islander, Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine savors one last visit to Nassau Coliseum - NHL.com - NHL Insider
Pat LaFontaine was thrilled to be honored for one last time at Nassau Coliseum and to be able to share the night with family and friends.

NHL Playoff Death Watch: Crazy night ahead in Eastern Conference | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports
From Yahoo Sports: Since we're down to the final moments of postseason life for teams in contention, Puck Daddy solemnly begins a daily countdown to annihilation.

Adam Kimelman's projected first round of 2015 NHL Draft part II - 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale's projected first round of 2015 NHL Draft part II - 2015 NHL Draft

Central Scouting meeting to set final 2015 NHL Draft rankings - 2015 NHL Draft

Recaps

NHL Recap - Montreal Canadiens at Winnipeg Jets - Mar 26, 2015 - CBSSports.com
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) As he made save after save, Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec earned the full support of the hometown crowd.

NHL Recap - Colorado Avalanche at Vancouver Canucks - Mar 26, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs - Mar 26, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - San Jose Sharks at Detroit Red Wings - Mar 26, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - New York Rangers at Ottawa Senators - Mar 26, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Nashville Predators at Tampa Bay Lightning - Mar 26, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - New Jersey Devils at Washington Capitals - Mar 26, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Los Angeles Kings at New York Islanders - Mar 26, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Pittsburgh Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes - Mar 26, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Anaheim Ducks at Boston Bruins - Mar 26, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Arizona Coyotes at Buffalo Sabres - Mar 26, 2015 - CBSSports.com