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Wilderness Walk: Seven Is Heaven Edition

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Why did they leave Carey Price in for so long?

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Last night's game against Montreal ALMOST couldn't have gone better for Bruce Boudreau, Devan Dubnyk, and the rest of the Minnesota Wild. If it wasn't for a Tomas Plekanic goal in the last nine seconds of the game, it would have been a perfect night for the State of Hockey, but even after seeing the shutout go down the tube in the waning moments, it was a pretty awesome evening to be a Wild fan. When the teams headed for the dressing room after two periods of play, it appeared all but certain that with the Canadiens trailing 4-0, we would see Al Montoya start the third period in place of Carey Price. But we didn't. Then, the Wild scored again... And again... and once more for good measure. To be fair, Minnesota really dominated play and had a lot of excellent scoring chances, so even with a low shot total (Minnesota only put 24 shots on net) it wouldn't be right to blame Price for the loss. What was confusing about the game, though, is that as it became obvious that Price didn't have his best stuff, and the Canadiens clearly were not going to come back, Michel Therrien still opted to leave his star goaltender in the game to continue getting bombarded. For a goalie, there's an extremely fine line between "No, don't pull me from this game because I'm too proud," and "Get me out of here because I don't want to face another minute of this." That line usually falls somewhere between five and six goals against, so Price was clearly on the other side of that line tonight. After Price got the hook on December 18th against San Jose, the Montreal Gazette reported that there was some drama associated with Therrien's decision to remove Price, so perhaps he was sending a message to his goaltender last night. The drubbing conjured up memories of December 2nd, 1995, a night that would live on in infamy for the Montreal Canadiens, when Patrick Roy was left in for nine goals against the Detroit Red Wings, before finally being removed from the game. With the President of the team seated directly behind the bench (and strangely no plexiglass separating him from the players at that time), a humiliated Roy went straight to him and told him, "I’ll never play for Montreal again." Roy was promptly traded to Colorado, where he went on to win two more Stanley Cups.

I’m guessing that Carey Price is a little more proud and a lot more professional than that, so he probably won’t demand a trade after tonight’s 7-1 loss, but you have to wonder what effect this will have on him moving forward. It’s a crushing blow for his confidence, his relationship with his coaching staff, and his statistics. Fortunately for Wild fans, however, we were on the winning end last night, so we’re just going to dance today, as Freddie Mercury sings about Price’s woes. How appropriate is it that Freddie just so happens to be live in Montreal for this one?! Take it, Freddie!


Wild News

Dubnyk vs. Price was far from a goalie duel as Wild humble Habs | ProHockeyTalk
Smoke 'em if you got 'em (Michel Therrien).

Postgame: Montreal's last-second goal spoils would-be historic night for Wild - StarTribune.com
An awesome tidbit in here about Boudreau's feelings on Stewart almost getting him fined. Also, an update on whether Chuck Fletcher is still considering bringing back Eriksson Ek.

Niederreiter gets 2 goals as Wild romp past Canadiens 7-1
The quick AP reaction to Minnesota's GIGANTIC win over Montreal.

The Wild’s owner is thrilled with their success, but realistic about their Cup chances | ProHockeyTalk
Leipold getting excited!

Puck Lists: 30 NHL players with very 'Star Wars' names
Nino makes a top 30 list!! Lude Check is clearly the best one, though.

Tending the Fields

Kaprizov returns to rescue Salavat. January 10 round-up : News : Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)
"Salavat could at least point to the return of boy wonder Kirill Kaprizov as a cause for optimism." ...As can the Wild.

On Frozen Pond

Some of the best college hockey traditions | NCAA.com
Good times! Love that the Kohl Center gets some love. If you're a college hockey fan, definitely make it to Madison for a game some time.

Gophers/Badgers alumni faceoff for charity in Stillwater
Should be a fun Hockey Day event.

Updated boys' hockey state rankings: Jan. 11
Stillwater still cruising.

Off The Trail

Mailbag: Ilya Bryzgalov | The Players' Tribune
Can somebody get Bryz an FSN job, please?

Hockey goalie fight ends with one brutal knockout punch
***GOALIE FIGHT ALERT!***

Tuukka Rask takes Roman Josi blast off mask (Video)
Goalie masks are really not great if you get caught square, just above the eyes. Surprisingly thin protection there. Not a good moment for Rask and the Bruins.

Down Goes Brown: Rising and falling stocks at NHL's midway point - Sportsnet.ca
An interesting write-up by @downgoesbrown. Very good point on the rise of last year's bottom five.

Tracking The Enemy

Goals by Klingberg and Johns rally Stars past Red Wings 5-2 - StarTribune.com
Minnesota's next opponent gets a win.