Showing posts with label Minnesota Wild. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Minnesota Wild. Show all posts

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Keith Ballard Hip Check on Adam Pardy

Nice hip check by Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard on Adam Pardy. Big Buff and Pardy take exception and the Wild go on the power play. Of course the Wild's powerless play failed.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Mike Yeo: Zach Parise has a concussion

The Minnesota Wild received some bad news on the status of Zach Parise. According to Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo, Parise has suffered a concussion. In Parises' absence, Thomas Vanek is going to be reunited with former line mate Jason Pominville. The two played together when they were teammates with the Buffalo Sabres.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Mike Yeo updates Media on Zach Parise

This is not good news for the Minnesota Wild. Zach Parise is a key player in the Wild's lineup.

Updated: Zach Parise Injured - Upper Body Injury

The Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise is injured and not skating at the morning practice. Hopefully, he won't be out of the lineup too long. Zach is the heart and soul of the Wild. According the Minnesota Wild, Parise will not be going on the road trip.
Russo's Rants -- The Wild dropped its first home game of the season tonight to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the biggest concern after the game was the status of Zach Parise, the Wild’s leading scorer and heart and soul.

Parise didn’t emerge for the third period after sustaining what coach Mike Yeo called an upper-body injury. There were two big collisions I remember with Parise tonight. One came his first shift when he was bowled over from behind by Robert Bortuzzo. The other came 5:44 into the second when he was cross-checked the ice by Blake Comeau in the slot. Comeau received an interference penalty on the play.

So perhaps the injury stemmed from one of those two hits.

Yeo didn’t reveal the seriousness or nature of the injury postgame. He said he hoped to have a better update after practice Wednesday and said “I sure hope not” when asked if he felt it was serious. The Wild does leave after practice for a trip to Ottawa and Montreal (it’s actually a 3-game trip that also goes to Parise’s old home, New Jersey, but the Wild returns to Minnesota for a day-and-a-half after the Canadiens game), so the hope obviously is that Parise is on that charter to Canada’s capital.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Russo: NHL watching, but Thomas Vanek's agent reiterates client is in no criminal trouble

Interesting... It appears that Thomas Vanek spent over 1 million dollars on football betting.
Michael Russo, Star Tribune --- While the National Hockey League said Friday it will continue to keep an eye on a federal illegal gambling and money laundering case in Rochester, N.Y., that Thomas Vanek has testified in as the government’s prime witness, the Wild forward likely won’t face league discipline unless he faces criminal charges or bet on hockey.

Vanek’s agent, Steve Bartlett, told the Star Tribune Friday that “Thomas is not in any way, shape or form involved in any illegal activities or in trouble here.”

Vanek bet on football and was paying off a gambling debt, according to Bartlett.

Vanek’s in the news again because a defense attorney for a man who pleaded guilty to illegal gambling and conspiracy to launder money Thursday alluded to the fact that the check his client helped launder came from Vanek while he played for the New York Islanders.

In an interview with WHEC-TV’s Berkeley Brean in Rochester, N.Y., lawyer Jim Wolford, who represents Mark Ruff, said the $230,000 “check that was identified as far as the money laundering was a New York Islander check.”

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Torey Krug Injured after Slash from Zach Parise (Video)

Yesterday it was announced that Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug will be out for 2-3 weeks with a broken finger. Now we know how Krug broke his finger, watch the slash from Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise.

Should Minnesota be 8-0-0 Right Now?

The Minnesota Wild have had a dominating play style in each of their first eight games of the season, but little errors have not allowed them to win games that they probably should have won. The power play alone could be the biggest factor in all of this.

As of last night, only Buffalo and the Wild were the only two teams in the NHL without a power play goal in this young season, however, it is not for the lack of trying in the case of Minnesota. They are among the top in the NHL in power play shot attempts, but just have not been able to find the twine as of yet. A team will average three to four power plays a game, and the good power plays will usually score one out of every five power play opportunities. The Wild have all the tools in place to be considered a power play elite, but their current power play misfortunes are costing them games.

Lets look at Monday night's game at Madison Square Garden. The Wild went 0-4 on the power play, including two five minute major opportunities. If the Wild score on one of these, this game is sent at least to overtime and they earn a valuable point in the standings. That being said, I am not trying to make excuses for the epic third period collapse, just trying to say if the shoot first power play was finding the net on one in five chances, they very well could be 8-0-0 right now.

The season is long and I am sure once one goes in, they will gain their confidence back and pucks will start going in with the extra man. Who knows, maybe two birds will be killed with one stone if Thomas Vanek is able to score the first power play goal for Minnesota.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

John Moore Suspended Five Games for Dirty Hit on Erik Haula

I was hoping for a longer suspension. Rangers defenseman John Moore is a repeat offender and was suspended just last spring during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Apparently, he didn't learn his lesson from the last suspension that he received.
NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman John Moore has been suspended for five games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula during NHL Game No. 122 in New York on Monday, October 27, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

Moore is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $51,859.75. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

Moore was assessed a match penalty 7:12 into the second period.

For a full explanation of the Department of Player Safety's decision, complete with video, please click on the following link.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rangers John Moore to Have Hearing for Dirty Hit on Haula

The NHL's Department of Player Safety will have an in person hearing with Rangers defenseman John Moore for his dirty, high, dangerous hit on Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula.
Scott Lewis, Sports Net -- New York Rangers defenseman John Moore will have face a supplementary discipline hearing as a result of his check to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula on Monday night.

John Shannon on Twitter: “Let’s get that right…John Moore will have a hearing for hit on Haula…while still no indication on Kreider on Brodin.”
Moore is a repeat offender: Last season, the NHL suspended Moore during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs for two games for a dirty hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Dale Weise. As history tells us, a suspension during the Stanley Cup Playoffs are usually shorter than the regular season.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ryan Kesler Hits Mikael Granlund at the End of the Game With Unnecassary Hit

I know this is about four days late, but it's something that I feel strongly about. This hit on Ryan Kesler on Mikael Granlund with .02 seconds left in the game is unnecessary.

Second, Kesler is one of the biggest frauds to play the game of hockey. He dives and embellished up and down the ice. That in my opinion cheapens the game of hockey and is poor sportsmanship. This is also the reason why I don't like the rule that prohibits fights after five-minute minute mark of the third period.
46.12 Instigator in Final Five Minutes of Regulation Time (or Anytime in Overtime) - A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime shall be assessed an instigator minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting, and a game misconduct penalty, subject to the conditions outlined in 46.22.
This rule gives players the ability to run around the ice and take runs at other players, without fear of retribution. With that bush league move, Kesler should earn himself a beat down the next time the Wild play the Ducks.

Michael Russo thought that the Ducks were taking runs at the Wild in the second and third periods.
The Ducks, getting dominated like Boudreau asserted, definitely tried to go after the Wild’s lesser players physically in the second and third periods. Ryan Getzlaf went after Jonas Brodin all game, and once Coyle jumped to Brodin’s defense. Astonishingly, referee Eric Furlatt gave Coyle four minutes and Getzlaf two (nothing for two cross checks on Brodin) and no extras for Anaheim even though both Getzlaf and Matt Beleskey removed their gloves to fight. The ignored calls on Anaheim and the fact the Wild wound up on the PK turned the momentum bigtime for several minutes here. The Wild still escaped though.
Again, the Wild seem to run into the refs that are having bad performances on the nights the Wild are playing. That's fine, maybe the Wild should start taking runs at the other teams star players if this behavior continues.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Wild Make Avs Night One to Forget

With a season of very high expectations in Minnesota, the Wild open the regular season at home against division rival, the Colorado Avalanche. The two teams met 13 times last season, regular season and playoffs, and Minnesota advanced against the Central Division champs to the second round of the playoffs after a game 7 overtime victory. 

With a roster deeper than most in the NHL, Minnesota came out flying and made the Avalanche look like they didn't belong on the same ice as Minnesota. Jason Pominville scored the lone goal in the first, but the overall period was dominated by Minnesota. The score made the game seem much closer then it actually was. The period would end at 1-0, but the Wild put up 17 shots to Colorado's 5.

As the second rolled around, the floodgates opened for Minnesota as four different players would tally goals in the period. Just over four minutes in, soon to be breakout defenseman, Jared Spurgeon, finds a lane, takes his shot, and boom, the Wild are up 2-0. Not even three minutes later, the top line strikes again. This time it was Zach Parise who lights the lamp right off of an offensive zone face-off. Minnesota's offensive zone presence in the second period kept on pushing shot after shot on net, and much of this was due to amazing puck support deep in the zone and the wonderful cycle. As the period drew to a close, Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Suter would both find the twine as a total of four of Minnesota's 21 second period shots found their way behind Semyon Varlamov. His night would end here. 

As one would expect, the Wild took a little off in the third, but did enough to maintain a shutout and still have much of the offensive zone play. There were still a couple of great scoring chances right on top of the crease for Charlie Coyle, Zach Parise, and Jonas Brodin, but were unable to put the puck home. As the clock ran down, there were many things you could take from this game and just say wow. Maybe it was the franchise record 48 shots on goal totaled for Minnesota, or the five different players who found the net tonight. 

Special teams was a spot where Minnesota was not that great at last season, but today showed a gigantic improvement. In four power plays surrendered to the Avs, Minnesota would not allow one single shot. This was not the 27th ranked penalty kill from last season. Although the power play did not score tonight, they still looked dangerous with crisp puck movement, and a willingness to shoot the puck multiple times.

Minnesota's top line put on a show tonight as well. the trio of Pominville, Parise and Granlund totaled a combined seven points, and were a combined plus 10 rating on the night. The trio also totaled as many shots, 16, as the complete Avalanche roster could muster up for the game. They looked in mid season form and were controlling the game like they were the best line in the entire NHL. If this keeps up, I could see this tremendous trio to possibly total 200 combined points come seasons end. This line is dangerous and the NHL needs to take notice of this. 

Having a quiet night tonight was Thomas Vanek. The newly acquired forward only put two shots on net, but I expect many great things from him this season. I don't think that he played to his full potential tonight.

The Avs and Wild face-off once again on Saturday night, but this time at Pepsi Center in Denver. Will the Avs have a response to this beating, or will the Wild come in and spoil the home opener party for Colorado?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Zach Parise not a fan of the Dump and Chase

s/t to Chris Peters. Former UND All-American Zach Parise isn’t a fan of the dump and chase. I know a few UND hockey fans that will agree with Zach’s opinion. This has been a topic of much debate on Sioux Sports.

Me personally, I know why you see the dump and chase in college hockey. I have seen UND run it from time-to-time. College hockey teams tend to lineup at the blue line and it’s tougher to just skate across the blue line. If they refs aren't calling the obstruction closely, and they're letting the players "play the game", sometimes teams will have no choice but to dump and chase the puck in to the offensive zone.   It is what it is. The NHL is a much different game than college hockey, and I don't see the dump and chase going away anytime soon.
Michael Russo, Star Tribune -- “I read a study this summer that showed shots generated off carrying the puck in as opposed to dumping it in, and it's like 4-to-1. It's not even close,” said Parise, who is set to make his preseason debut with linemates Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville against the Penguins on Thursday night. “I just found it so interesting because everyone's like, ‘Forecheck, forecheck, forecheck.'
Personally, I am not a big fan of the advanced stats either. In a nut shell, the stat that matters the most is wins and losses. Also, goals and assists are what drive a hockey player's salary. Ugly wins count just as much in the standings as pretty blow out wins.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Does Former Gopher Goon Stu Bickel have a Chance of Making the Wild

If former Minnesota Gopher Goon Stu Bickel is going to make the Minnesota Wild out of training camp, it’s going to be as a fourth line punching bag.  You're probably wondering why I say punching bag? Bickel isn't a very good fighter, and he's definitely not a feared heavy weight. But he would fill a roll that the Wild need.
Chad Graff, Pioneer Press -- Bickel, who has played about one-third of his games in the NHL at forward, is hoping to show the kind of versatility that could earn him a spot on the roster.

Bickel, a 27-year-old former Gopher from Chanhassen, continues to climb up the depth chart in training camp. If he shows he can play forward Thursday night, it'll be another step in making the Wild out of camp.

"The more versatile a player is, the more opportunity is there for him," coach Mike Yeo said.

Bickel got into two fights during the Wild's 2-1 exhibition loss in Winnipeg on Monday, and he would add physicality and grit that the Wild lack without him.

He played 67 games with the New York Rangers in 2011-12 and 2012-13 -- and got into 28 fights.
Bickel has played in 67 NHL games and has scored an paltry (0g-9a—9pts), but has racked up an impressive 157 minutes in penalties. If Bickel makes the Wild out of training camp, it will not be for his offensive skills, which he obviously lacks.

If Wild decide that Bickel is going to be their designated punching bag, then he has a chance to play a few games with the Wild this season. Meh. Currently, the Minnesota Wild have no "real" punching bag/goon. So far in the preseason, the Wild have been in three fights. Bickel has been in two of those fights, Wild forward Jason Zucker was fought Simon Despres and didn’t fare so well. That being said, Zucker isn’t a pugilist and his job is to generate offense and score goals.

Pioneer Press: Wild's Justin Fontaine: Small-town boy starting to make big impact

Speaking of former college hockey players. Former UMD Bulldog Justin Fontaine is in camp with a new contract trying to cement a roster spot with the Minnesota Wild. Fontaine is on a one-way contract so he could end up playing for the Iowa Wild to start the season.
Chad Graff, Pioneer Press -- Justin Fontaine insists this Wild training camp is no different from last year's.

The two-year, one-way contract he signed this summer doesn't change his mind-set from a year ago when he was in the final year of his contract and fighting just to keep his job.

It's impossible to ignore how different things are for him, though.

For the first time in his career, he has job security in the NHL.

Rather than auditioning for a roster spot, Fontaine was tapped to play Thursday night's exhibition game against the Penguins alongside skilled forwards Thomas Vanek and Mikko Koivu, his chance to show he's ready for a bigger role on the team.

"I think there's a different feeling for him," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "There's no question he's coming in with the sense that he belongs here, the comfort level that he doesn't have to worry about whether one mistake might be the difference between him going home or staying."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Harding Suspended Kuemper Signed

Well as I reported earlier, Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding suffered a foot injury that would sideline him indefinitely. The Minnesota Wild have now suspended Harding for the cause of his injury being non hockey related. Other reports had said he broke his foot because of kicking a wall.

However, any goalie question marks that the team has had just hours ago about who was going to be their number one going into home opener have finally been solved. It was announced about an hour ago that Darcy Kuemper has been signed to a two year, one way contract, averaging around $1.25 million a season.

With this signing, the Wild are now able to focus, without any of the drama of who is going to be the number one goalie and, in my mind, finally solidified the position for the season, baring injury of course. All of the pieces are now in place for a very strong season, and a possible Stanley Cup run come April and May.

More Goalie Drama with Harding Injury

Well as if the one question mark couldn't get any worse for the Minnesota Wild, Josh Harding is out indefinitely with a foot injury. Harding, the likely Wild starter, allegedly broke his foot yesterday after kicking a wall.

Now we have the problem with who fills his shoes? Kuemper is unsigned and Backstrom is only useful in a back-up role. There are a few options out there as of right now. Thomas Vokoun is healthy and ready to play and don't forget about Martin Brodeur either. Then there is the goalie who said he wanted to resign with the Wild, Ilya Bryzgalov.

It was announced earlier that Ilya Bryzgalov has been offered a Pro Tryout Contract and invited to Minnesota Wild Training Camp. This seems like the most likely option for filling the place in the absence of Harding, especially with not being able to reach an agreement with Darcy Kuemper. Bryzgalov will be suiting up for the Wild starting this Friday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Early Minnesota Wild Line Combinations

On my way home from classes this morning, I was listening to Paul Allen and Michael Russo on the Nine to Noon show on KFAN for some preseason Minnesota Wild talk. Right now it looks as if Parise is playing with Granlund and Pominville, which puts Vanek down with Koivu and Coyle.

Now I know that many of us Wild rubes wanted to see Vanek with Pommer and Granny, however, according to an interview Russo did with Coach Yeo yesterday, he said that Parise playing with Granlund and Pommer was the lethal combination at practice thus far.

Russo also believes that come opening night, you will see Jared Spurgeon playing along side of Ryan Suter due to his outstanding play at the end of last season and in the playoffs. I couldn't agree more, however he has a lot of proven chemistry with Marco Scandella already, so why screw that up when it already is a pretty good combination?

                                                                                   That being said, I am not too sure if Jonas Brodin
is worthy of top line defense minutes right now. After his facial injury last season, his play really fell off and was not the dynamic defenseman pre injury. I think that his playing style should be well complementary of Scandella so I see no problem if these two start out the season together, giving Spurgeon the top line minutes he has earned.

Then you also have to address the third defensive pairing. Keith Ballard was plagued with injury for much of last season, so that was a disappointment for all you Gopher fans who follow the Wild as well. Ballard is almost a shoe in right away to be playing as a defender on that third pair, but who plays with him? As of right now, it looks as if Christian Folin will be along side him to open the 2014-2015 season, but I still say don't count out the hard hitting youngster, Matt Dumba. In his games with the Wild last season, before going back to juniors, Dumba proved that he had what it took to be a solid NHL defenseman, who holds a legit scoring threat on the blue line. However, in the one game Folin was able to suit up for Minnesota last season, he recorded an assist, his first NHL point, and was a plus three against the always tough St. Louis Blues. It will be interesting to see how the third defensive pairing plays out. Could Ballard even be the odd man out? I doubt it right now, but it is an 82 game season so lets see if he stays healthy, or is a little more present on the blue line when he is playing.

Transitioning back to the forwards, specifically lines three and four, you know almost for certain that Haula will be centering Nino on that line, but who will be the winger on the other side? Will it be Matt Cooke, or Jason Zucker? With Zucker being out most of last season with injury, he is a great unknown as to how he is going to preform this season, however, when he is healthy, he has shown us that he is deserving to play with the big club no matter what. I think you start Zucker on that third line with Haula and Nino and put Cooke down with Brodziak and Justin Fontaine. The Cooke-Brodziak-Fontaine was a line that had shown some chemistry last season, and sure, why not have a potential 20 plus goal scorer on the fourth line with Fontaine?

With training camp starting this Friday, it should be interesting to see how the lines pan out come October 9th when the Colorado Avalanche roll into town.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Minnesota Wild: Nino Niederreiter signed to a Three-Year Contract

And then there was one RFA left to sign. This is good news for the Minnesota Wild. The Wild didn't want to go into training camp with Nino Niederreiter unsigned. Nino's deal is worth 8 million dollars over 3 years. So the Wild have him signed through the 2016-17 season. That leaves Darcy Kuemper as the only unsigned restricted free agent.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Minnesota Wild Announce New ECHL Affiliate

There has been a lot of hockey news in the past day or so, and more coming from the Minnesota Wild camp today as well, and no it isn't anything about the Darcy Kuemper situation. The Wild have announced an affiliation with the ECHL's Alaska Aces.

The Aces have been very successful as a franchise in the past few seasons, winning three Kelly Cup Championships in the past nine seasons, including this past season.

Included in the agreement, according to, the Aces will serve as a resource for developmental efforts for both Iowa (AHL) and Minnesota.

UND fans may take notice at a familiar face on the Aces roster, and now in the Minnesota Wild system, Evan Trupp. Trupp played four years at UND and was a member of the Aces for their championship winning team last season.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Kuemper and Wild at Impasse

I am hoping this is the beginning of the end for the stalled contract talks. The Minnesota Wild can't afford to let Darcy Kuemper get away. Incidentally,  Kuemper could have filed for arbitration in July but didn't. 
Michael Russo, Star Tribune -- With training camp set to open next week, unsigned Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper is threatening to sign in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League if the Wild doesn’t sign him to a one-year, one-way contract, his agent said Monday.

“Basically, Chuck and I are stuck,” agent Jeff Helperl said of negotiations with Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher. Fletcher did not comment on the negotiations.

Helperl wants a one-year deal where Kuemper would be paid his NHL salary whether he plays in Minnesota or with the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Des Moines. The Wild is offering a two-year deal where in the first year Kuemper would make a significantly lesser salary during the time he plays in Iowa.

“It comes down to Darcy has to play somewhere this year,” Helperl said of the KHL option. “Minnesota, they’re stuck on giving Darcy a two-way deal and I think Darcy deserves more. … By no means are we shooting for the moon at all. I just want to get a one-way contract and get Darcy playing more games, and wherever that’s going to be, it’s going to be.”

Helperl had a chance to file for arbitration July 5 but did not. That would have resulted in a neutral arbitrator awarding Kuemper, 24, a contract if one couldn’t be agreed upon prior.
If the past is any indication of the future, Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding have had their share of health issues and neither goalie has been able to play a full season that last two season. You have to figure that Kuemper is going to be up with the big club sooner rather than later.