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Wilderness Walk: Mile High Hunt

Wild prepare to take on the Avalanche before the All-Star Break, plus NHL news and notes in the walk.

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Minnesota WIld v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Wild gameday! Tonight at 8:30 p.m. the hometown team heads to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Pepsi Center has been a recent house of horrors for the Wild, who have lost four of the last five at the Avs while being outscored 22-8.

A win against their Central Division rival is critical, as the Avs are only a point behind the third-place Wild (53 points), tied with Dallas at 52.

Today’s critical stat: the Avalanche are currently dead last in the league in PIMs with 486. Hopefully new Wild defenseman Brad Hunt, acquired after the Vegas game on Monday from the Golden Knights, will help the Wild take advantage and improve their 15th ranked power play.

For more information on the Wild’s newest blueliner, check out the article from yesterday.

A big game, against a key opponent, with an opportunity to sit pretty in the Central while they rest up during the All-Star Break (except, of course, for Devan Dubnyk, who will represent the Wild in the festivities in San Jose).

It’s gameday. Let’s walk.

Wild News

Vegas haul: Wild wins, moves into playoff spot, deals for Knights defenseman -
Charlie Coyle's eighth goal of the season broke a 2-2 tie and sent the Wild to victory over Vegas, and into the third spot in the Central Division.

New Wild defenseman Hunt relishes 'new beginning' -
Wild gains experience in trade with Vegas for former Bemidji State star.

Wild-Colorado game preview -
Like the Wild, the Avalanche has been up and down lately — going 2-2 over its past four games.

Vegas one day, Wild the next: Riding along on Brad Hunt’s post-trade trip – The Athletic
The morning after the Wild dealt for the depth defenseman, a certain reporter found himself on the same flight. This is their story.

Dellow: What can the NHL’s last three turtle derbies tell us about the playoff race in the West? – The Athletic
Dallas, Minnesota, Colorado, St. Louis, Edmonton, Vancouver, Anaheim and Arizona are locked in a turtle derby for the sixth, seventh and eighth playoff spots. Will any team go on a run?

Which Wild team will show up in Colorado?
DENVER – The Wild will be on the ice Wednesday night against Colorado, but which Minnesota team will show up against the Avalanche is anyone’s guess.

Tending the Fields

THE WILD WIRE - #14 | Iowa Wild
After Iowa Wild’s 4-2 win over the Ontario Reign on Saturday night, I was thinking about how the more experienced players really stepped up in the victory.

On Frozen Pond

Champlin Park's third-generation goalie anything but routine
With his coaches feeling he was snubbed for select team play, senior Brennan Boynton has upped his game and boosted the Rebels’ hopes for the playoffs.

Off The Trail

NHL debuts House of Chel during All-Star Weekend
Esports event, streamed on Twitch, features Wild forward Brown, famous gamers playing EA SPORTS NHL 19

The Strangest Superstitions in NHL History
As professional athletes, NHL hockey players will do whatever it takes to be successful on the ice. On top of their on and off ice training and preparation, many players throughout NHL history have adopted strange, often disturbing superstitions in order to ensure their on-ice success.

All Things Gritty

Gritty, S.J. Sharkie headline NHL Mascot Showdown at All-Star Game
The 2019 NHL Fan Fair™ presented by SAP at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center will be the site of the fifth annual NHL Mascot Showdown™ presented by Playmobil as part of the 2019 Honda NHL® All-Star Weekend, Jan. 24-27, in San Jose, Calif. Fifteen Western Conference Mascots, led by the San Jose Shark's own S.J. Sharkie™ will face 14 Eastern Conference Mascots, guided by last year's Most Valuable Mascot ThunderBug™ from the Tampa Bay Lightning and introducing rookie sensation Gritty™ from the Philadelphia Flyers, in four days of friendly but fierce competition.

Around the League

A brief history of teams trading away recent top-five picks and the five ways it can work out – The Athletic
Could Jesse Puljujarvi join the list of recent top-five picks that were traded away? History shows us there are a number of different outcomes for these types of deals.

‘It’s getting out of control’: Death of the circus trip has made life a lot more hectic for Blackhawks – The Athletic
As​ he relaxed in​ his locker stall following​ a morning skate​ last​ week at Madison Square Garden​ —​ about a 25-minute subway​​ ride from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, a 25-minute drive from Newark’s Prudential Center, and an easy train ride from Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center — I casually asked Jonathan Toews if he ever thought about the differences in travel playing in the Eastern Conference, particularly the New York area, versus the Western Conference, particularly Chicago, the second-easternmost city in the West.

Edmonton Oilers Last Few Days: 'Of Course, They Did'...
The Edmonton Oilers have proven transactions made over the last few days are more proof of a team who continually makes odd choices. This is nothing new.

Vancouver Canucks Locked in Big Western Conference Battle
Heading into this weekend's all-star break the, so-called, rebuilding Vancouver Canucks are in a battle for the playoffs in a very tight Western Conference

Florida Panthers Hoping for Another Late-Season Surge
Last season, the Florida Panthers shook off a disastrous start & caught fire after the break. Now they're heading into the break hoping for the same.

New York Islanders Getting a Barry Trotz Culture Change
Barry Trotz is on his way to changing the culture in his first season as New York Islanders coach and bringing that proud organization back to prominence.

Boston Bruins Hope to Be Healthy After Mid-Season Break
Boston Bruins almost made it into their mid-winter break completely healthy. A nearly full roster had them excited about what they could do after the break.

The San Jose Sharks are a Stanley Cup threat with one potentially fatal flaw - TheHockeyNews
The Sharks are a dominant puck possession team with a high-scoring top six, deep forward corps, offensively gifted blueliners and a few shutdown rearguards. If their goaltending doesn't show up, though, San Jose's Stanley Cup hopes might rest on shaky ground.

Adam Larsson is struggling and the ship keeps taking on water in Edmonton - TheHockeyNews
The Swedish defenseman will always be linked to the trade that sent Taylor Hall to New Jersey, but the team surrounding him in Edmonton hasn't helped. Once again, the Oilers become a case study in development drama.

Matthews, Maple Leafs continue productive contract talks, GM says
Negotiations with Marner remain on hold until season ends, according to Dubas

Glen Metropolit and the struggle in searching for what’s next after hockey – The Athletic
From an unlikely rise to the NHL to an unceremonious end to his career, Metropolit is trying to find purpose -- and a passion -- in the next chapter of his life.