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Wilderness Walk: How deep does the rabbit hole go?

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Niklas Backstrom executes the Statue of Liberty play as Chris Kunitz moves in to score behind him
Niklas Backstrom executes the Statue of Liberty play as Chris Kunitz moves in to score behind him
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The downward spiral continues as the Penguins beat the Wild handily by a score of 7-2.  The Wild once again came out with a jump, but a simple defensive breakdown led to the Wild being down a goal in the first period.  In a twist, the Wild offered sustained pressure and generated offense throughout the first two periods until the wheels really fell off following a failed power play to open the third.  In a game that neither Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin scored a goal (both had assists), the Wild allowed goals on bad rebounds, from the blue line, and just five seconds into a Charlie Coyle minor penalty.  We even got to see John Curry for a cup of tea in the final stanza.

The loss has the team looking ahead to a game against the lowly Buffalo Sabres, a game the team's spirit can ill afford to lose.  But they may have to do so without the NHL leader in TOI after Ryan Suter extended an elbow to Steve Downie's head.  The play did not result in a penalty but will likely merit discipline as Downie did not return to the game.

On a positive note (stick tap to Russo's positivity initiative), the Wild did receive some secondary scoring from guys who really needed it, with Jonas Brodin and Justin Fontaine finding the back of the net and Erik Haula grabbing an apple on the Fontaine goal.

We start the Walk with the only thing that can save this season:

Wild News

Wild's woes continue in loss at Pittsburgh | Star Tribune
Russo is living in Groundhog's Day.

Minnesota Wild: Niklas Backstrom shelled in 7-2 rout - TwinCities.com
"When Niklas Backstrom got to the Wild bench after being pulled in the third period Tuesday, he slammed the door so hard it failed to hatch and swung back at him."  aka the season in a nutshell.

Ryan Suter’s elbow knocks Steve Downie out of the game | For The Win
As Marco Scandella before him, the mild mannered NHL TOI leader serves an elbow to Downie's temple

Wild midseason analysis: Free fall shows it's not 2014 anymore | Star Tribune
Giving proof to the saying that if you repeat a lie long enough and loud enough people will start to believe it, even the players are blaming "compete level" now. Couldn't be the sloppy passing, the dumping and chasing, or anything else.

Minnesota Wild: Darcy Kuemper, Marco Scandella skate in Minnesota - TwinCities.com
We miss you, Pizza.  And heck, we even miss Darcy.  Come back soon you guys!

Minnesota Wild: Is Mike Yeo Treading on Thin Ice?
Let's ask Twitter.

Sidney Crosby on J.P., Mike Yeo; Wild lineup updates and more | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com
Mike Yeo has at least one fan.

Rand and Scoggins: Wild the worst of our disappointing teams | Star Tribune
You know it's a disaster when Rand is jumping on the team.

Tending the Fields

New coach 'Torch' lights up Iowa Wild
John Torchetti brings personality and perseverance to a franchise that needs both qualities.

Iowa Wild Hockey News Releases : Iowa Wild Summons Olivier Archambault

And Zack Phillips is a healthy scratch.

The Ice Hole

Rankings :: USCHO.com :: U.S. College Hockey Online
Look who's on top of the College Rankings.

Off the Trail

Remembering Dominik Hasek's dominance with the Buffalo Sabres - CBSSports.com
A stick tap to the Dominator as #39 is raised to the rafters in Buffalo.

Simon Gagne won’t return to Bruins this season after father’s death | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports
This will hit close to home for Wild fans.

LOOK: Sharks' John Scott wears shirt with picture of him celebrating goal - CBSSports.com
If you look at nothing else, look at this, it will make you smile.

NHL Power Rankings: Shrewd Predators climb to top - NHL - CBSSports.com
We have a new leader, and guess what?  They beat the Wild too.

RECAPS

Tampa Bay Lightning at Philadelphia Flyers - 01/12/2015

Toronto Maple Leafs at Los Angeles Kings
The league buried the lead here: the 1st star of the game really SHOULD be Drew Doughty's porn 'stache.

Also, make sure that you catch the latest episode of the Hockey Wilderness Podcast, where Dustin Nelson of Gone Puck Wild comes by to discuss Yeo's job security, potential Head Coach replacements, Fletcher's responsibility for this mess, and much, much more.