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Wilderness Walk: The Tables Have Turned

Nyquist is suspended, an Olympian retires, and Staal tries to get through his slump in today’s news.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Thinking back to this time last year and the differences between then and now are staggering. The Minnesota Wild were still in the beginning stages of the brief Era of the Torch. The Dallas Stars, on the other hand, were on top of the West and the most entertaining team to watch in the entire league, scoring goals left and right (and having almost as many goals scored on them) with a combination of talented forwards and John Klingberg.

Now the Wild are one of the most exciting teams in the league (although the top prize in that category probably belongs to the Capitals) and are handily leading the Western Conference. The Stars, on the other hand, are struggling to score, really struggling to keep pucks out of their own net, and Lindy Ruff’s seat has got to be a few degrees north of comfortable.

The changes from last season to this will hopefully be illustrated quite clearly tonight as the Wild host the Stars. That being said, almost any team in the league is capable of beating any other team (sorry Avalanche), so the Wild would be wise to not rest on their laurels and come out hungry tonight.

Wild News

A six-game ban was appropriate for Nyquist – in this world | The Hockey News
Six games was the amount many people were guessing because the DoPS uses a lot of qualifying and mitigating factors... it's just a shame that player safety doesn't appear to be one of them.

Wild's Staal trying to work his way out of a slump -
The Wild need to balance letting Staal recover fully for the playoffs while also letting him work hard enough to get out of this slump.

Wild works on power play in practice; Dumba to miss more time -
They were 2 for 3 the game before, so it's not like it's completely off the rails.

What's wrong with Wild's Zach Parise? Nothing. Really.
His cap hit. That is something wrong with Zach Parise. He's playing well lately though.

Wild prospect Gustav Olofsson starting to stand out
Just don't stand out like you did during the Red Wings game, okay?

Two Reasons for Mikael Granlund's Career Year in Minnesota
He finally started to listen to all the fans yelling, "SHOOT!" We really can make a difference, people.

Wild's 5 Worst Draft Picks
Piece of advice: don't read the lists of players we could have drafted instead unless you like to weep in public.

Is it Really that Bad for the NHL if the Minnesota Wild Make the Stanley Cup Finals? | Cold Omaha
I don't care if it would make Bettman cry, I want the Wild to go all the way. In fact, that's just one extra reason to cheer for it.

Tending the Fields

Big Ten looking for some February magic as regular-season grind continues :: :: U.S. College Hockey Online
"In his Monday press conference, Wisconsin coach Tony Granato had some high praise for sophomore forward Luke Kunin , comparing his ability to release the puck to that of Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin." That is a very different side of Luke Kunin then what we saw at World Juniors.

Steady Reign earns victory over Wild - Press Enterprise

On Frozen Pond

Wednesday Women: Analyzing the races :: :: U.S. College Hockey Online
The names of some of those ECAC schools are really fun.

Behind Enemy Lines - Defending Big D

3 Trades That Could Improve The Stars Next Season - Defending Big D
Like it or not, Dallas would be wise to be sellers at the trade deadline so they can start preparing for next season.

10 Free Agents That Can Help Dallas in 2017-18 - Defending Big D
Stars can make some noise at the trade deadline and in the offseason with plenty of cap space

Off the Trail

Olympian Anne Schleper Retires

Power Rankings: No. 1 Capitals gearing up for long playoff run | The Hockey News
The Wild drop back a little bit.

Down Goes Brown: Why don't defensemen win the Hart Trophy? | The Hockey News
The Hart Trophy has become the trophy for best player on a successful hockey team instead of the individual player that most matters to his team's success. Not the same thing.

By the Numbers: Jaromir Jagr - Video - TSN
Someone please make a video detailing the career of the ice witches that have cursed Jagr to play until he either a) dresses for every team in the league or b) dies.

Game time is 7 pm CST and you can catch it on Fox Sports North if you aren’t lucky enough to have tickets.