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Wilderness Walk: Achy Breaky All-Star Break

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Quite a comeback from a team that could have easily quit. It's great to see a hop in the Wild's step, even when they are down.

Zach Parise scores 2 in the 3rd to force OT.
Zach Parise scores 2 in the 3rd to force OT.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Down 4-1 with 14:00 to go, your Minnesota Wild decided they wanted to extend their play further into the All-Star break.  Zach Parise put the team on his back and carried the Wild into the extra session, sandwiching two goals around a Thomas Vanek score to force overtime.  Darcy Kuemper, who had come on in relief during the second period after Devan Dubnyk experienced his first true adversity in a Wild sweater, could not stop the Red Wings in the shootout.  The Wild were forced to walk away with the loser point to close out play before the break.

The scoreboard was unfriendly to Dubnyk, as a couple bounces and deflections ended up in the back of the net, but Kuemper was able to stabilize the goaltending and hold the score to set up the eventual comeback.  Besides Parise doing what Parise does and causing all sorts of ruckus with his two 3rd period goals, Ryan Suter found himself back in the plus column with 2 assists and Vanek also added a goal and assist.  Since ending the losing streak, the Wild have earned 5 out of 8 possible points and enter the break 7 points back from the 2nd Wild Card spot.

(Warren mistakenly wrote a Walk article for today so here's an excerpt from it, just so his hard work doesn't go to waste - Ger):

I have a love-hate relationship with the Detroit Red Wings, minus any amount of love. I hate them! Absolutely, can't stand them. I'll admit it though, this pure hatred is based entirely off of jealousy.

They are the model franchise, have been good forever, have a rich history, great jerseys, and legendary players. I hate all of it. They have everything Minnesota's pro hockey teams wish they had. And they totally stole the "Hockey Town" nickname from Warroad.

This Wild team is puzzling. I feel like I've aged a few years by simply watching them play. The thing that puzzles me the most is that to the naked eye the Wild seem to be playing pretty well for large chunks of games. And then somewhat mysteriously the wheels just fall off.

Spotty defense, unlucky bounces, sloppy turnovers, and terrible goal tending can all be blamed.

It's been a confusing year.

But hopefully the All-Star break will give the guys some much needed time to find their game again. And hopefully they keep battling like they did in the 3rd against the Wings!!!!

We start the Walk with an Ode to one of our last trips to the great Joe Louis Arena:

Wild News

Wild rallies for big third period, falls in shootout to Detroit | Star Tribune
After seeing flashes of a month ago, Zach Parise found a different gear.

Wild comeback ruined as Detroit wins in shootout - TwinCities.com
#loserpoint

NHL Recap - Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings - Jan 20, 2015 - CBSSports.com

Wild: NHL All-Star Game a respite of sorts for Ryan Suter - TwinCities.com
Everyone except Iron Man gets a week off, maybe he will play less than 30 min in the All-Star Game.  Maybe not.

NHL All-Star Game will be family affair for Suter | Star Tribune
Keeping an NHL family name in the All Star Game.

Wild won't play Darcy Kuemper, Mikael Granlund vs. Red Wings - TwinCities.com
Well, that lasted a little more than a period.

LOOK: Wild fan mocks Packers fans after NFC Championship loss - CBSSports.com
ICYMI

Also- remember to catch the latest episode of the Hockey Wilderness Podcast. Episode #25: "Hockey Dubnyk in Minnesota" discusses the Dubnyk trade and all it's implications, Ryan Suter's ice time, whether the Wild can leap-frog any teams in the standings, and what we thought of Dumba in his most recent call-up.

We also introduce the Hot Take Line, where you can participate with a question or response to the show by leaving a voicemail message at (218) 348-1002. Here's the podcast, ICYMI:

Tending The Fields

Iowa Wild Hockey: Wild beat Lake Erie in OT

The Ice Hole

2015 NHL Draft Central Scouting Service midterm rankings - Prospects
Surprisingly, there are other players not named McDavid or Eichel entering next years' draft

Off The Trail

Tough night: Sharks lose Wingels, Braun (upper body) ‘for a while’ | ProHockeyTalk
Things are getting worse for one team ahead of the Wild in the standings.

Jersey-tossing Leafs fans ticketed by police, banned for year | ProHockeyTalk
"It seems like we're giving the guy an extra couple minutes to flip everybody off and to mock our real fans."

WATCH: Dion Phaneuf fights Eric Staal after hitting Jordan Staal - CBSSports.com
Toronto Maple Leafs captain had a run-in with the Staal brothers, Jordan and Eric, on Monday night. It ended with Eric blasting a puck through Phaneuf for an empty-net goal.

WATCH: Stars' Jordie Benn launches Marian Hossa's stick into netting - CBSSports.com

VIDEO: Patrick Sharp gets leveled by Shawn Horcoff, drops the gloves - CBSSports.com
Because it is always beautiful to see a Blackhawk punished.

WATCH: Predators coach berates ref for winking at Blackhawks bench - CBSSports.com
I really would like to see a transcript from this exchange

Recaps

NHL Recap - Boston Bruins at Dallas Stars - Jan 20, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Vancouver Canucks at Tampa Bay Lightning - Jan 20, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Nashville Predators at Montreal Canadiens - Jan 20, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Arizona Coyotes at Chicago Blackhawks - Jan 20, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers - Jan 20, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Edmonton Oilers at Washington Capitals - Jan 20, 2015 - CBSSports.com