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Wilderness Walk: Dry Spell

Wild can’t do anything but watch the scoreboard until Friday, plus NHL news and notes

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NHL: Nashville Predators at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to scoreboard watching, Wild fans. Welcome to the Tragic Kingdom.

Nine. That is the Wild’s tragic number. The number of points that the Wild don’t get (combined with any points that the team in the 8th playoff spot earn). Heading into Tuesday’s games, that number was nine.

And all the Wild (and their fans) can do is scoreboard watch. For three long days. Until Friday. Five games to go in the season. The Knights are next, followed by the motivated Coyotes, the always tough Jets, the Kings, the Bruins and the Stars. Every game is critical.

In the meantime, let’s enjoy the news and notes from around the NHL and college hockey as we walk on a beautiful Wednesday.

Wild News

The 2018-19 Wild: Extremely unlucky or just not very good? -
In sports (and in life), there is a tendency to seek answers to a variation on the question, "Is it better to be lucky or good?"

Tending the Fields

THE WILD WIRE - #23 | Iowa Wild

Down on the Farm: Menell continues making strides in Iowa
When Brennan Menell arrived at Minnesota Wild training camp last season, few gave him a chance of getting to the American Hockey League.

On Frozen Pond

U women have talent to rebound from NCAA title game loss -
The Gophers will return much of their core next season, with several new faces coming onto a team that finished national runners-up.

Off the Trail

Pingpong, gyroscopes and needles: Surveying the landscape of concussion treatment options – The Athletic
With increased awareness about concussions & long-term brain health, more and more players are seeking outside treatment for their injuries.

Prospect Need to Know: Early playoff heroes - TheHockeyNews
Several 2019 draft hopefuls are taking the CHL post-season by storm early on, while kids from the Oilers, Islanders and Lightning are also hot right now. Learn more about them and more in our weekly roundup.

Washington Capitals visit Trump White House with Stanley Cup
Though it’s been what’s seemed like years since the Washington Capitals captured their first Stanley Cup last spring, their much-publicized championship celebration didn’t officially conclude until Monday.

Stanley Cup Madness - Who was the best champ of the past 16?
How well do recent champs stack up to the ridiculously stacked 2002 Red Wings? Which versions of the Penguins and Blackhawks are best? Vote here.

Around the League

NHL hits perfect balance as 30-goal scorers skyrocket - TheHockeyNews
The NHL has seen an increase in goals this season, with 38 already hitting the 30-goal mark with just over a week to go in the season. Will it continue to rise in the future?

Is John Tavares having the best season by a UFA signing of all-time? - TheHockeyNews
Now second in the NHL in goals, Tavares has a strong case for the best year-1 output of any UFA signing in NHL history.

Svechnikov's 20-goal output has him heading up the class of overlooked rookies - TheHockeyNews
Andrei Svechnikov has been as advertised for the Carolina Hurricanes, breaking into the league and netting 20 goals as a freshman. Given that this is his 18-year-old season, too, Svechnikov has fired his way into exclusive company.

"We're going to be aggressive in the off-season": Panthers GM Tallon vows to fix leaky blueline - TheHockeyNews
Florida has five players set to reach career highs offensively, the second-best power play in the league and average 30 shots per game. Favorable results have been hard to come by, though, because of the Panthers' porous defense.

Lightning sign Jon Cooper to contract extension
If not the Stanley Cup or Jack Adams, a reward had to be in store for Jon Cooper given his efforts behind the Tampa Bay Lightning’s incredible season.

Raffl signs two-year contract with Flyers
Michael Raffl signed a two-year, $3.2 million contract with the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. It has an average annual value of $1.6 million.

By the numbers: Analyzing the race for the final wild card spots – The Athletic
For each of the remaining teams still battling for a wild card spot, here’s the ‘how’ and ‘why’ for what their chances mean.

Down Goes Brown: Ranking the ten best first-round matchups we might realistically see – The Athletic
It's time to start looking ahead to the single best time to be a hockey fan: The first round of the playoffs.

With injuries to goalies on the rise, what is being done to protect them? – The Athletic
As manufacturers tweak equipment and the league modifies rules, NHL goaltenders continue to pay the price for standing tall in the crease.

New York Islanders: Andrew Ladd out for Season
The New York Islanders will be without forward Andrew Ladd for the remainder of the 2018-19 season and the entirety of the postseason.

Morgan Rielly - Norris Trophy Winner?
With this benchmark point total, Rielly became the first Leafs blueliner since Borje Salming in 1979-80 to eclipse the 70-point mark. In his sixth NHL season, Rielly has been simply incredible in delivering on the sky-high potential Brian Burke promised when he drafted the Vancouver-native fifth overall in 2012.