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Wilderness Walk: 1 More Sleep Edition

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Today marks the beginning of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and just one more day until the Wild take the ice against the Blues. At least there's NHL Hockey today.

Preparing to mute the Notes.
Preparing to mute the Notes.
Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

The quest for Lord Stanley's Cup begins today as hockey fever sweeps the land.  The anticipation continues in the Wilderness as we patiently wait one more day before things get under way in St. Louis.  This is a joyous time of year for those fan bases who have weathered the storm and begin their second season.  Another great thing about playoff time is the entertainingly inordinate amount of #hottakes offered across the hockey world, and we have done our best to include many of them for your viewing pleasure today - previews and predictions galore to feed your insatiable hunger for hockey.

A developing story to follow in Minnesota was the mysterious absence of Matt Cooke with Ryan Carter getting his reps in practice.  We learned later in the day that Cooke was feeling discomfort that was not related to his previous injury (sports hernia).  It is still possible he cracks the lineup, but also possible we see another member of the 5th line jump up to the 4th.

Today's musical selection is meant to renounce the sleep we are supposed to get tonight, but anticipation of things to come may well prevent.  We Walk.

Wild News

Article: End of the (Regular) Season Grading: Defense - Minnesota Wild Talk - Wild Xtra
WX gives their grades for the defensemen.

Playoff Preview: How the Wild Will Beat the Blues - The Hockey Writers
THW Preview

HockeyBuzz.com - Tony Dean - WildHBcommunity: Beating the Blues is Best Way to Begin Stanley Cup Run
Tony Dean looks at what the Wild will face through the playoffs

Why The Wild Will Win The Cup - Minnesota Wild | Features
A homer #hottake from Wild.NHL.com

Wild vs. Blues first round playoff preview: Minnesota Wild edition - Along the Boards
ATB Preview

Coyle's Physical Play X-factor For Wild - Minnesota Wild | Features
#PlayAngry, Chowdah.

Dubnyk’s Play Gives Wild Confidence Heading Into Postseason - Minnesota Wild - News
Duby Snacks will be the next big thing.

Wild to rely on speed in first-round series with Blues - TwinCities.com
Fast > Big.

Wild's Matt Cooke, Jordan Leopold win final Game 1 spots - TwinCities.com
One YAY! One NO!!!!!  I'll let you decide which is which.

Behind Enemy Lines

38 Videos of a Bad Hockey Player; Or, The Sordid History of Steve Ott and the St. Louis Blues - St. Louis Game Time
In what has been an otherwise successful year for the St. Louis Blues, Steve Ott has been a black mark. This post will show you how and why. If you're an analytics person, there are data and charts...

Tuesday Links - Killer Red Wedding - St. Louis Game Time
Steve Ott isn't good. But you knew that. Also, a dude plays hockey in the snow with his dachsunds and people reacted to the Red Wedding so awesomely a couple years ago. And other things.

#BecauseItsTheCup

2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs picks from NHL.com, NHL Network writers, analysts - 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs
NHL.com, NHL Network predict the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs with first-round picks, conference winners, Cup champion and MVP selections.

NHL playoffs 2015: First-round watchability rankings
The NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are here, and they are must-watch television for even the most casual sports fans.

Playoff First Round Offers Intrigue, But Little Rivalry - Articles - Articles - Homepage - Wild Xtra
Every spring, as the season winds to a close, any website with even a passing interest in the NHL publishes daily "playoff matchups," a constantly updated what-if slot machine of potential first round series. From mid-March until the final day...

NHL -- Emotion, singular focus help make the playoffs a special time
The playoffs elicit special emotion and singular focus from players and coaches, and all but one team each season will end up haunted by missed chances and what could have been.

Top weaknesses for Western Conference playoff teams - 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs
Ben Arledge identifies the top flaw for every Western Conference playoff team, explaining how these weaknesses could lead to a first-round loss.

NHL Playoff Picks: Times are changing - Article - TSN

Playoff Preview - Western Conference - Article - TSN

Off the Trail

Senators assistant coach Mark Reeds dies after cancer battle - CBSSports.com
The 2014-15 season had plenty of storylines, including players felled by the mumps, legal problems, the collapse of two powerhouses and epic dysfunction in Toronto.

Patrick Kane of Chicago Blackhawks cleared to return for Game 1 - Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round
Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has been cleared to play Wednesday in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the Nashville Predators.

Senators assistant coach Mark Reeds dies after cancer battle - CBSSports.com
The Ottawa Senators are mourning the loss of assistant coach Mark Reeds who passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 55.

2015 NHL playoff field team Power Rankings - NHL - SI.com
New York Rangers top SI.com's 2015 NHL playoff field Power Rankings.

2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs: 5 things to know about Predators vs. Blackhawks - CBSSports.com
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are here and the Eye on Hockey staff is getting you ready for the first round with five things to know about every series. Here's Predators-Blackhawks.

LOOK: Montreal bar creates Stanley Cup replica made of bacon - CBSSports.com
The most delicious trophy in all of sports is in Montreal.