The Minnesota Wild are now 2-0 in the 2017 preseason. Yeah, none of it really matters as players are fighting for spots, not playing with their normal parings, and the games don’t mean points in the standings. Hell, the Avalanche went 6-0 in the preseason last year and then finished a whopping last place in the regular season. They also lost the draft lottery after that season.
It’s not like we can really make assumptions quite yet regarding the team, but we can talk about the performances on the ice. So here we go.
- Matt Cullen in green. It’s his 20th damn season in the NHL. It’s not like he needs the preseason to prove anything, but it’s just so, so very good to see him out there. He looks spry for almost 41. I wish to be that fit at 31, and it isn’t going to happen. The green looks good on him.
- Alex Stalock was good. He’s motivated to play well for his hometown Wild team, and be a true viable back-up to Devan Dubnyk. Sure it might as well have been the Manitoba Moose on the ice, but a shutout is a shutout, is a shutout.
- Them new green sweaters. I was holding my final opinions on the jersey’s until I saw them under the bright lights and on the ice. The green is great to have back, rather than the red. The numbers pop off the TV screen and are easy to read, which is a great feature of the white sweaters too. Though the breezers look like a slightly different shade of green, the uniform as a whole really kind of works in its general simplicity. Also, hoping that the 3rd jersey, whenever they debut, features that awesome “M” logo.
- Jared Spurgeon is so dreamy. He scored the lone goal of the game and just picked a corner on Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck. He is just so good.
- Marcus Foligno isn’t as bad as I thought. While I will admit that my expectations are really low for him, and the term of his new contract is too long, I can see what he does that makes him valuable. He does take the body and it’s a good thing for this team. But he is active in the offensive zone when chasing down the loose pucks heading around the dasher. I can see what they like about him.
- Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle are physical beasts. They just skated around and beasted their shifts. Nino was good, Coyle was good. They are just good. Love it.
Not So Good
- Tyler Ennis had one good play in the game before taking a puck to the schnozz. He went off the ice under his own power, but bloodied by the puck. He did come back to the bench in the third period, but overall, I didn’t really notice him.
- The power play wasn’t particularly good. I thought the PK was far better in terms of performance than the PP. Now, I know that they haven’t had any practice on special teams in camp as of yet, but after a crap tonne of opportunities in Winnipeg the other night and scoring just two goals, the Wild were stymied on its chances.
- The Fox Sports new graphics package. I don’t mind the flat color look, but the boxes were too big, and the font was too small. It looked like someone forgot to click “auto-fit” for the Excel spreadsheet cell. And the scoreboard in the upper left is just too big and it’s just way too much empty space.
Fox's new graphics on a hockey broadcast pic.twitter.com/apvzUvDje5— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) September 22, 2017
4. Luke Kunin isn’t really helping himself. Look, I don’t think he looks out of place by any means. I just want him to score and be the stud I think he’s going to be. He didn’t put away a couple of the chances he had on Thursday night’s game, and didn’t take as many shots as I was expecting him to take. It’s probably me just expecting too much, but I just haven’t seen what I thought I was going to see yet in these last two games.
5. The game as whole was just boring. And yeah, I know it’s preseason. Preseason in any sport is mostly boring, but this game had little flow to it, and even less offense. It’s not like any of the goalies were peppered with pucks. I am really hoping that Saturday’s game against the Avalanche features a bit more action.
That’s it for preseason Game 2 and the Wild are victorious again.