Nelli's Notes

Holy shit are the wild rolling. This team has a completely different vibe, and we now see Billy's vision coming to life. Ryan Hartman looks like the player Chicago thought they were getting. It should be noted that Kirill has just been shoveling him the puck, making his job a whole lot easier. Kirill is a game changer. I would have paid him 12 million if he wanted it. He is the first player in Wild history to crack the top 20 in points since Gabby. That could be made up, but it feels amazing to see him sitting in the top 5 for the entire league. Russian gas truly works. My only request is that we put a translator on the staff for him.... Like what is the reason we need to call a translator to have an interview with him?? It feels like his translator is just making shit up. Whatever, who cares about interviews, Kirill is dialed in right now and he is doing all the talking with his play. The greasy Russian just flys around and it feels like he has a chance to score every time he touches the puck. The powerplay is something that bothers me because we are allowing the other team to easily lock down Kirill when he is playing the bumper spot. If we could play even strength the entire game, I would probably consider it. It has been so fun to watch Kirill make plays for other people and create opportunities for himself at the same time. His hockey IQ and vision on the ice are elite level and I think he only gets better from here. Zuccy has been a shock to me since we signed him. I was literally pissed (and still kind of pissed) at that monster contract we gave him, (5yr x 6mil) but in hindsight having someone to teach Kirill the ropes is pretty nice. He has way more skill / jump than I ever imagined at 34, hopefully he can stay healthy.

It doesn't make sense that Fiala can't slot in with Kirill. Where is the Kevin Fiala we have seen for the past two years? Something tells me Kevin is going to go on a ten-game point streak and get all these haters off his back. Dating back to last year during the playoffs Kevin seemingly can't capitalize on his chances. It feels like he has 20 grade-A chances a night and gets unlucky. My opinion: we will not be seeing #22 for much longer in Minnesota. Love Fiala and everything he brings to the ice. However, he kind of gives off a diva vibe while the rest of this team is lunch pail-esk. I don't know. It pains me to say that because Kevin works his ball bag off, but in the end of the day, points are points.

Flying off the cuff here: The goaltending needs to be upgraded for this team to have any chance at going on a run. Yes, our goalies have been getting wins and hanging in there. It doesn't feel playoff caliber though. Kappo seems like a great dude and works his tail off when Cam is resting, but it feels loose when he is in net. Odd rebounds or letting in a cupcake. I think the Wild will have to trade someone and it feels like a goalie in return is high on the list for Billy. My ideal trade situation would be to give a prospect and Kappo for Flurey. I know that is an insane trade that won't happen, but Idgaf. I hope spurgy comes back soon so we can take Jonny Merrill off the first defensive pairing. Holy fuck do I love Jonny boy though. He seems hilarious. Every time the camera is on him it's just like who the hell is that guy. When I look at our D-core on paper I get scared. They have been playing well so I have no ground to stand on, just something to keep an eye on if injuries pile up. My honest opinion is that Brodin makes Dumba 10x better and no one pays attention to that because Jonas is such a good skater. It is hard to hate on anything involving this team considering they have covered the spread in most of the games this $zn $$$.

The Wild have been very entertaining and coach Dean has this team by the nutsack. Some of the games seem like lucky wins, but I am here for any game that ends with a Wild W. Dean is very simple, but it isn't boring. He lets the boys zip it around while also making them understand that there is a certain standard that needs to be met defensively. It is obvious Billy has made that the standard since the beginning of the year and my god is it showing. The young guns down in Iowa are developing well in Iowa too. IN BILLY WE TRUST. The feeling of having a GM who is clear with expectations must be relieving as a player. No BS, just do your job and this thing should work. Culture is one agenda item Billy has been on since the start and we are finally starting to see it pay off. There is no more "oh we made the playoffs so its okay"....... Nah, it is Stanley Cup or bust. That isn't to say that a first round win wouldn't be awesome:) There is a new sheriff in town holding everyone accountable to win Lord Stanley's Cup and it feels great.

Looking ahead, the Wild have had a few lay-ups on the schedule. It is great to know we can win those games, but don't be shocked if we see a couple of losses to teams that are more playoff ready. We have beat up on bottom feeders and won a few big games. TOR in town on Saturday will be a gut check for sure. That team is an absolute wagon so it should be a barn burner. This is where we wanted to be after Thanksgiving, on top of the central division. Better yet this team is exceeding expectations and as of 12/3 we are on top of the Western conference. Is that good? 2nd most goals in the league. Is that good??? Sheesh. Let’s go to pound town on some losers down the stretch and give every Wild fan the best Christmas present they could ever imagine. If you made it this far, kudos to you. You been so good to me - You know you make me want to (Shout) Lift my hands up and (Shout) Throw my hands back and (Shout) CMON NOW

The opinions posted here are not those of Hockey Wilderness.