Showing posts with label NHL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NHL. Show all posts

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Almost Two Months in, Lets Look at NHL Power Rankings

As the season is about to be 1/4 over already, I thought it was time once again to take a look at how I think the NHL stands up throughout the league.

1. Montreal Canadians. The Habs are on top of the NHL right now 20 games into their season. Their record stands at 14-5-1 and look to be the team to beat in the East right now.

2. Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens have just three regulation losses in 17 games played this season and are looking like a cup contender once again this early season.

3. Nashville Predators. The surprise team in the west thus far has cruised into a tie for second in the conference and are all alone on top of the ever so tough Central. Lets see if the trend continues.

4. Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts are off to a strikingly good start and are just one win behind the league best 14 that the Habs have put up.

5. St. Louis Blues. Even with losing Oshie for a stint this season, the Blues find themselves near the top of the Central once again. Lets just hope that they don't have another epic collapse like the end of last season.

6.Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks are another team in the top 10 of the league I thought wouldn't be there. Ryan Miller is a big part of this getting back to the Ryan Miller of old.

7. Anaheim Ducks. 11-4-5 the Ducks are this season, but I thought they would be much better than that. Still on top of the Pacific, the Ducks need to be careful because three teams below them are all within three points.

8. LA Kings. The defending champs are just as good as the Ducks and are charging for the top spot in the Pacific.

9. NY Islanders. Who would have thought the boys of Long Island would be the better of the two NY teams? Not me. And who is this Brock Nelson guy playing with Tavares? I hear he went to a good college.

10. Calgary Flames. Probably the biggest surprise in the West thus far. They came out of nowhere and Jonas Hiller in net is a solid addition for the Flames.

11. Boston Bruins. The B's are not doing as well as some of their faithful rubes would like them to be right now, however they still have 24 points, so I think things in Btown are going ok.

12. Chicago Blackhawks. Ok, 10-7-1 isn't where I thought they'd be either, but you can never underestimate one of the deepest teams in the league.

13. San Jose Sharks. Just one game above 500, could their be some trouble brewing in the "Shark Tank?"

14. Minnesota Wild. The streakiest team in the league it seems and they find themselves on yet another mini winning streak of 3 games right now.

15. Detroit Red Wings. The Wings are a team I'm still not sure what to think about. Their record says they are able to compete, but I'd like to see a few less overtime decisions to convince me they are legit and worthy of a 24th straight playoff appearance.

16. Winnipeg Jets. I picked them last in the Central, but they are proving their strength in the leagues toughest division right now.

17. Ottawa Senators. As the Sens look to move on post Alfie and post Speeza, they look to rely on defenseman Erik Karlsson to lead the team to victory the remainder of the season.

18. NY Rangers.  The East champs of last season are struggling early, but can they overcome their win one lose one mentality at just one game over 500 right now?

19. Washington Capitals. Another team with a lot of fire power, but not capitalizing on it. Could, and probably should be much higher in the standings.

20. Toronto Maple Leafs. They are coming off of the biggest, and most shameful loss in the entire NHL thus far, making fans once again throw jerseys on the ice. Kinda funny to think there was rumors for a second team here when their only one has struggled for so many years.

21. Florida Panthers. The youth movement is on in Florida and I see a lot of potential here. Maybe success wont come this or next year, but it will come for Florida. Their dozens and dozens of fans just need to keep calm and weather this storm.

22. New Jersey Devils. Jagr is still Jagr and the Devils are a team who could play spoiler with Corey Schneider as the backbone of this team.

23. Arizona Coyotes. Not much to say about this team. Very average in a place that hockey probably shouldn't be because the only ones who appreciate it there are mostly the ones who are there to get away from the winter.

24. Dallas Stars. Another team that I thought would start much better, but goes to show that you can have all the talent in the world, but you still need to work hard every shift to win.

25. Philadelphia Flyers. Can captain Claude Giroux rally the troops and get the Broad Street Bullies back in their old winning ways? I sure hope so for this team because Philly's fan base doesn't like to lose.

26. Colorado Avalanche. Sophomore slump for coach Patrick Roy. The Avs are showing their youth early on this season, even with the addition of Jerome Iginla.

27. Carolina Hurricanes. Still hard to believe this franchise has a Stanley Cup, but I can tell you one thing, it won't earn number two this season.

28. Columbus Blue Jackets. Todd Richards is showing the Blue Jackets exactly what he gave Minnesotans in his two years behind the bench there. Inconsistency. I want to say last season wasn't a fluke, but it's becoming harder and harder to say that.

29. Edmonton Oilers. The team who dominated the 80's, is having trouble finding success since their Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2006. I wonder if any moves will be made to try and fix this. Funny to think that if you have three straight first overall draft picks you'd be better right?

30. Buffalo Sabres. They probably should stay snowed in for the rest of the season. 20 games in and they finally have five victories. Sorry Buffalo, I'd start playing for that draft pick.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

From Warroad, Minnesota, Number 29 Brock Nelson

As if UND fans needed an introduction to Brock Nelson, the rest of the NHL world is getting a taste, finally, of what UND fans saw in his two seasons representing, the then Fighting Sioux, colors and that is the ability to score goals and help produce them. Tonight was no different, scoring his fourth goal of the season for the Islanders, and the game winning goal in tonight's contest against the Rangers as well.

Playing on the Islander's top line with John Tavares, Nelson has found his niche to find the net in this young season. He has tallied a four point night, and is tied for top scoring in the NHL with 7 points with the likes of Rick Nash and John Tavares. Now I do understand that the season is very young, but I see him playing as well, if not even better than, when he played with Danny Kristo and Corban Knight in his 30 goal sophomore campaign at UND.

Brock has put the NHL on notice that he is one to keep a sharp eye on in the near, and probably the distant future. Look for Nelson to impress on the ice for many seasons to come. UND fans knew what the Islanders were getting, now everyone knows what they have, a future superstar.

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?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Danny Kristo on the Rangers 2014 Training Camp Roster


The question is, will Danny Kristo stick with the Rangers and make the team out of training camp.  The Rangers appear to have a pretty stacked training camp roster this season.

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 wild.com, 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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Preseason Power Rankings

Well it's almost time for NHL training camps to open up again so I went through each of the 30 rosters and put together my complete power rankings based on what I thought the depth of the roster was going into the upcoming season. So, here it goes.
1. LA Kings
2. St. Louis Blues
3. Boston Bruins
4. Minnesota Wild
5. Chicago Blackhawks
6. San Jose Sharks
7. Detroit Red Wings
8. Anaheim Ducks
9. New York Rangers
10. Pittsburgh Penguins
11. Colorado Avalanche
12. Dallas Stars
13. Montreal Canadiens
14. Philadelphia Flyers
15. Tampa Bay Lightning
16. Vancouver Canucks
17. Toronto Maple Leafs
18. Washington Capitals
19. Nashville Predators
20. Columbus Blue Jackets
21. Carolina Hurricanes
22. Arizona Coyotes
23. Edmonton Oilers
24. New Jersey Devils
25. Calgary Flames
26. Ottawa Senators
27. New York Islanders (might be a little low)
28. Winnipeg Jets (again maybe a little low)
29. Buffalo Sabres
30. Florida Panthers

Now I know that everyone will think that there should be some tweaking somewhere in this power ranking, but remember, it is the preseason and it is only the opinion of me based on the current rosters. However, do remember that I predicted that the Blue Jackets would make the playoffs in September last year and almost everyone laughed at me. Just saying. I'd love to hear your opinions on the subject. Tweet me your top 5 @siouxhockey33, comment on this post, or even email me your complete 30 team power rankings at siouxhockey33@gmail.com to see where we are similar or differ in our opinions.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This Day in Hockey History

So sitting between classes looking for something to do, I decided to look up what happened on this day in hockey history, but quickly found out that not many interesting things happened on August 26th for the sport of hockey. However, here are the few things I did find in order by year:
1938- Montreal Maroons dropped from the NHL
1971- Then all time shutout leader, Terry Sawchuck, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame
1980- The Stastny brothers, Peter and Anton, were signed by the Quebec Nordiques becoming the first pair of non North American players to play in the NHL. This signing was huge for the future of the NHL because if this doesn't go down, there could have possibly been no Lidstrom, no Ovechkin, no Malkin, no Datsyuk, no Sedins, and the list could just go on and on.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Breakdown of the Hockey Rink



This one is kind of funny, the break down of the NHL Hockey Rink. I would like to have one for college with the Wehr's Corner.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Time for a coaches challenge for the NHL



Based on what we have seen this past weekend, I think we could make the argument that it’s time for the NHL to have a coach’s challenge, or some kind of video review system for certain kinds of plays. More specifically, there's no reason why the NHL shouldn't be able to review goalie interference. The NHL is the best hockey league in the world, but even their officials are human. Thoughts?
Damien Cox, The Spin – And the notion of a coach's challenge for replay review, a concept he's championed for several years, is suddenly more popular than ever.

"Now people are seeing what happens in a critical game and a critical situation that can cost people jobs," he said today.

"Why not? It works in the NFL."

Expanding the use of video review and giving coaches the opportunity to challenge calls are both likely to be hot topics this week, including today at the competition committee and Wednesday when the GMs meet.

If it were up to Tallon, coaches would be able to challenge both goalie interference calls and offside plays leading to goals, neither of which currently can be reviewed.

"I'm saying one time per game, one goal, one time per coach," he said. "That's it. It's not going to happen that often.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Bylsma is now the "blue chip" of the NHL (RW77)

I understood the firing of Ray Shero but, Bylsma is now a free agent and I think it is going to cost the Penguins.

Oh, I can understand the why behind the move, but I still think it is a mistake.  The truth is, hockey is a team sport.  More a team sport than the NBA.  I believe with the star talent the Pens have right now, translated (somehow) to the NBA, it would be the Pens vs. Heat in the Finals most every year.  The truth is, though, two stars don't make a championship team.  Even Gretzky had more big time players on his Oiler teams when he won all those times.

In the end, the person who paid the price was Bylsma.  He leaves the Pens with a fabulous record as a head coach (especially since pretty much nobody thought much of him when it first took the job in Pittsburgh).

So where does he end up?

There are currently (as of June 6th) three coaching vacancies (not counting Pittsburgh) in:  Florida, Carolina, and Vancouver.  Let's also not discount the crazy rumors surrounding Carlyle in Toronto.  I do not believe that any team has recently fired its head coach as soon as another guy became available, but I could be wrong.... but if it were to happen this offseason, Toronto would be the team.  From what I've read and heard, Toronto feels that they're on the cusp of being very competitive and they might feel that Bylsma could take them to the promised land...

However, they somehow have been more adamant about waiting until next year to steal current Red Wings' boss Mike Babcock.  It's too bad, if this were true mind you, that it didn't happen now because I wouldn't mind Bylsma heading up the Wings.  Then again, all signs point to current AHL Coach of the Year and former WMU head coach Blashill as Babcock's successor.

How about Florida?  Ron Wilson just interviewed for that position and Florida, forgive me, seems to be the destination for old vet NHL head coaches to try to rekindle old times.  Bylsma isn't that desperate.  I do not see him joining Florida, even if Dale Tallon is the GM.

Carolina?  They may make a play for him, and after all, former Penguin great Ron Francis is now the GM.  I don't see him going to Carolina either.

I think for the second straight time, the Canucks take a head coach from the East to lead them.  Bylsma would be a good fit for their game style and may even improve the lagging production of the Sedins, Kessler, and Raymond.  Heck, he may also make radical changes like eliminate diving (thus ending Bieksa and Burrows' careers in Vancouver).

How long will Byslma be a free agent?  Not long.  I'd be shocked if he was still unemployed by the 4th of July.  I would not be surprised in the slightest if he was employed before Fathers Day.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Grimaldi Takes Talents to South Beach



Ok, I know I am a day late on this on, but I needed to figure out how I wanted to word this post. As it was announced yesterday, UND Junior forward, Rocco Grimaldi signed with the Florida Panthers yesterday. The California native would sign a three year entry level deal worth around $3.2 million. Rocco was drafted 32nd overall, which is the second pick of the second round, in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I myself have some memories in the two full seasons I was able to see him skate at UND, but my favorite memory is probably when he scored his first goal against Minnesota back in November of 2011. It was a game I was fortunate to be attending while back home for a weekend my freshman year, but what made it most memorable was his celebration. Replicating his idol, Tim Tebow, it possibly was the best celebration in college hockey that season. However, Rocco would miss most of this season due to a knee injury, and was forced to take a medical red shirt for the remainder of the 2011-2012 season.

Rocco was by far the fan favorite in his time at North Dakota, and with good reason. He was fast, and would dazzle the crowd with his great hands. However, his likeness to pull the flashy moves would cost UND at times where taking the shot would be the better option. However, when they did work they were all highlight reel goals that would leave the entire crowd speechless.

Grimaldi would lead UND in points this year with 37 and would make a statement in the NCAA tournament as well. His presence was well felt on the ice greatest in the Wisconsin game when he would earn his first collegiate hat trick, leading UND to a 5-2 victory.

It is hard for me to say if Rocco will have success in the NHL, or even make it into the NHL, but we wish him the best of the luck in whatever his career has in store for him.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Minnesota Wild: Breaking down Matt Cooke's Suspension History

Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I don't think people realize how many games and times that Matt Cooke has been suspended by the NHL. Here's a break down of Cooke's illustrious history and the number of games that he ended up sitting as a result of his bush league play. Like I said in another post, "I also have to wonder if the NHL's Department of Player head Brendan Shanahan already has Chuck Fletcher's cell phone number in is speed dial?"  I think it's just a matter of time before Cooke is suspended again by the NHL. 

2013/07/05        Signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Minnesota Wild to a three-year contract.
2011/04/27        Missed the last 10 games of the regular season and 7 playoff games (suspension). (17)
2011/03/21        Suspended by the NHL for the remainder of the season and the first round of the playoffs.
2011/02/20        Missed 4 games (suspension). (4)
2011/02/09        Suspended by the NHL for four games.
2009/12/04        Missed 2 games (suspension). (2)
2009/11/29        Suspended by the NHL for two games.
2009/01/31        Missed 2 games (suspension). (2)
2009/01/27        Suspended by the NHL for 2 games.
2004/02/21        Suspended by the NHL for 2 games. (2) [TSN.CA]

Bellow, is a typical Matt Cooke play that happened during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 


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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Seabrook banned for three games



None of us should be surprised that Brent Seabrook suspended three games by the National Hockey League.
NEW YORK -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook has been suspended for three games for interference and charging against St. Louis Blues forward David Backes during Game 2 of the teams' First Round Stanley Cup Playoffs series in St. Louis on Saturday, April 19, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 15:09 of the third period. Seabrook was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for charging.
Brent Seabrook on the hit.
“It wasn’t my intent,’’ a contrite Seabrook said regarding his check that leveled Blues forward David Backes and earned Seabrook a game misconduct. “I was just trying to make a play on Backes. I thought the puck was there. I was on [Alexander] Steen. I was just coming down the wall and I just tried to finish my hit.’’
Former UND forward Chris Porter on the Seabrook hit.
When (Backes) went down like that, I thought it gave us a little bit more push to finish it off …" winger Chris Porter said. "He's our leader. We'll do whatever it takes to get him back. If that's winning a couple of games more, then so be it."
Former All-American goalie Ryan Miller said this.
“I didn’t like it,” Miller said. “I don’t think a lot of people who are hockey fans and have seen they way they’ve been calling things should like it. I imagine the NHL will have something to say about it but it’s not up for the players to decide. We’ll see what they do with it. But it certainly was not what we want to see.”

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

(Video) Hockey Night In Canada 2014 Playoff Opening



What an awesome video. Hockey is the greatest game on the planet. The Stanley Cup is also the pinnacle of the NHL's season. Should be a good run. This is one downside of having DirecTV, I no longer get CBC.
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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Two Games Without Heater and Two Wild Wins

For the first time in his career Saturday, Dany Heatley was a healthy scratch for the Minnesota Wild as they played Phoenix, in what quite possibly was the biggest regular season game for the Wild to this point.

Being demoted to the fourth line this season, Heater hasn't done much for the Wild, but I still will say the trade to San Jose to get him was one worth while. It got rid of a Martin Havlat who really didn't do much of anything for the Minnesota Wild.

However, is the offensive fuel for Dany Heatley running on empty? I think these past two games have shown that. His veteran presence in the locker room is probably one that is well liked, but his lack of production on the ice is one I think the fans won't miss.

Maybe Heatley was the thorn in the side as of late, keeping guys like former UMD Bulldog Justin Fontaine off the ice and I'm sure many will agree to this, and because of this, I don't see Heater getting much, if any, playing time until the playoffs, if he even gets any there.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tough Road Trip Ahead for Minnesota

After last night's head shaker, the Minnesota Wild now find themselves leaving home on what could be their toughest road trip of the season. On this trip, the team will make stops in St. Louis, Phoenix, LA, and their last stop is at the Madhouse on Madison against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Tonight two huge points are on the line as the green and white invade Scottrade Center in St. Louis to play the first place Blues. In the two teams last meeting at Xcel, Minnesota would rally for one point as they would fall in the shootout. However, many positives would come from this game. One, this proved that the Wild are capable of skating with the top dogs in the NHL. Two, they are able to overcome adversity coming from behind, tying the game in the third, and sending it to overtime and eventually the shootout.

Tonight's game may be a little different though. Minnesota, who just played last night, is coming into St. Louis after a 5-2 loss against the Vancouver Canucks.  Yes they would throw 31 shots on goal, but had major struggles to capitalize on premium scoring chances, and had a few costly turnovers. I would expect Ilya Bryzgalov to get the call in St. Louis tonight as the Wild look to get the much needed two points and remain the top wild card team.

After tonight, Minnesota travels to face a Phoenix team who sits just three points behind the Wild for the top wild card spot. This is probably the biggest game of the season for Minnesota, and a must win in regulation. The Coyotes are a team that not many talk about, so there is no pressure on them making their season a lot less stressful on this team.

From the desert the Wild will travel to Hollywood as they face-off against the LA Kings at Staples Center. Minnesota really has not done too well in LA in recent history, but need to change history in order to keep their playoff push strong. LA is also the new home to the first ever Minnesota Wild draft pick Marian Gaborik. Although Gabby would have many injury problems towards the end of his time in Minnesota, New York, and Columbus, he is always a threat to score when he is on the ice and makes this LA offense that much more lethal. The Minnesota defense is going to have to be at the top of their game or LA will blow this one wide open.

Finally, from LA Minnesota travels to the Windy City to play the Chicago Blackhawks. These two teams have had a lot of history in the last two seasons, including last year's playoffs, and look to have another tight battle on the ice. Minnesota has found some success playing in Chicago this season and lets hope they can continue to have it.

The road doesn't get much easier as the season draws to a close for Minnesota, but this tough end of season schedule might be just what this team needs to prime themselves for the playoffs. It is looking like right now the Wild will be playing the winner of the Pacific Division, provided no major changes in the standings between now and the second week in April.
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Who's to Blame for Home Loss?

Not much can be said about tonight's game for the Wild, except, well I can't think of anything to say. This game left me with no words and scratching my head wondering what they need to do to find the net.

The Minnesota Wild would control much of the play in tonight's home game against Vancouver, but would find themselves surrendering the first goal to David Booth. However, just over a minute later, Charlie Coyle would find the twine when he would flat out snipe Eddie Lack. The teams would go into the locker room tied at one, but Minnesota probably should have been up by two goals for how much they controlled play. They just were not getting the bounces they needed.

As the game went on, things were still being controlled by the Wild, but the flood gates would open up in the third for the Canucks. A couple of power plays and bad turnovers later, the game was quickly 5-1 in favor of the bad guys. Nino Niederreiter would put one late goal in for the Wild, but that's exactly what it would be, too little too late.

Outshooting the Canucks 31-19 tonight, the Minnesota Wild and fans like me are left scratching their heads wondering what they could have done different tonight. More often then not, they did not get any second or third quality chances in the offensive zone, even though they were controlling most of the play.

Another thing that would cost them is too many costly turnovers. The Canucks are a team you can't make these kind of mistakes against or they will find the back of the net and tonight was a good example of this.

Goalie Darcy Kuemper also looked a bit off tonight, however, each and every Vancouver goal was scored from a high percentage scoring area, or off of a deflection. Kuemper can't be completely to blame for this loss. That being said, five goals against on 19 shots isn't that good at any level of play, and improvement is needed.

The gist of it all is that our key guys need to contribute more consistently in key games like tonight, and on the upcoming road trip. With guys like Parise, Pominville, and Moulson not finding the net as much as they should, it leaves playmakers like Koivu and Granlund sitting in the dust getting ridiculed because they aren't producing points either.

It's time for the veteran leaders to take charge and lead this team into the playoffs. They can't keep missing out on key points coming down the stretch, otherwise they could be sitting on the outside, much like the Toronto Maple Leafs are right now in the east.