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Wilderness Walk: Putting Down Roots

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The Wild begin their eight game homestand with the second game of a back-to-back against the Blackhawks and other news.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Winnipeg Jets Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve ever had to travel for work for a long stretch, then you’ll be familiar with the happy feeling you get when you return home and know you will be there for awhile. The Wild’s chance to enjoy the warm fuzzies will be cut short as they have to focus on the visiting Chicago Blackhawks one night after having played on the road against the Winnipeg Jets. Tonight’s game marks the beginning of an eight game homestand because the NHL schedule is a strange thing and the less time spent trying to make sense of it the better.

Wild News

New line of Pominville-Coyle-Niederreiter sparks Wild win over Jets – Twin Cities

That line may have been thrown together so Gabby has more time to take the measure of Alex Tuch, but success like that might keep the band together.

Line shifts pay off for Wild in victory over Jets to complete long trip - StarTribune.com
Nino Niederreiter is now the Wild's leading goal scorer. Can he please get some more minutes?

Blackhawks prepare for ’biggest game of the year’ — vs. the Wild – Twin Cities

This feels like a significant role reversal, but the Wild have actually had the Blackhawks' number during regular season play for awhile. It's just those pesky playoff games we have to worry about.

Ironman Charlie Coyle credits health, Wild's training staff - StarTribune.com
If Coyle has been playing injured just for the sake of this record, I'm going to be angry.

Boudreau, Wild appreciating Eric Staal's resurgence - Sportsnet.ca
Eric Staal has been tremendous, but I would still put him behind Bruce Boudreau and Devan Dubnyk in causes of the Wild's success this year.

On Frozen Pond

Amazing Ann-Renée :: USCHO.com :: U.S. College Hockey Online
Sign. Her. Up.

TMQ: Is there a right time to leave NCAA hockey early for a pro contract? :: USCHO.com :: U.S. College Hockey Online
Tough question for young players. Extra time to work on skills and build up physical attributes is good, but you risk significant injuries without any financial recompense to do so.

College Hockey News: Blog " Blog Archive " Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Feb. 6

The Big Ten needed the boost from Penn State's rise to No. 1, but until the Nittany Lions and other programs sustain success like the Gophers and Badgers, it will be a red headed stepchild of NCAA D1 hockey.

Behind Enemy Lines: Second City Hockey

Jordin Tootoo drops Antoine Roussel in fight during Blackhawks-Stars - Second City Hockey
To quote one of the commenters, "I normally don't condone fighting, but Roussel."

Joel Quenneville is now the longest-tenured coach in the NHL - Second City Hockey
That won't change for awhile.

Off the Trail

30 Thoughts: Better for Claude Julien that uncertainty is over - Sportsnet.ca
That former Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien's march of uncertainty is over is better for everyone involved. That and more in this week's 30 Thoughts.

Scientist: NHL's demand would harm all ongoing CTE research - Article - TSN

If NHL top brass wants to convince anyone that they actually care more about players' health than money, they should respect the ongoing scientific examination.

If goaltending gets coaches fired, should Maurice worry? - Sportsnet.ca
I expect the sudden availability of Claude Julien has made Paul Marice's seat a few degrees warmer.

Five potential destinations for free agent coach Julien | The Hockey News
Please, please, please let him go to one of these places instead of Winnipeg. I'd hate to see what he could do with that much talent.

Down Goes Brown: Turning NHL Trade Deadline into gambling heaven - Sportsnet.ca
Anybody want to take on a little action?

Sharp, frustrated Stars may be in for trade deadline shakeup - Sportsnet.ca
Bad goaltending = hot seat for coaches. Just ask Mike Yeo, Ken Hitchcock, Claude Julien, and Paul Maurice. Whoops, got a little ahead of myself there.

Forty years later, the hidden message of "Slap Shot" goes unheeded
As the NHL celebrates the 40th anniversary of the classic "Slap Shot," it should finally heed the film's hidden message: Fighting is stupid.