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Minnesota Wild

Wild In San Jose, Not Great But Still Good

##.thumb_wild.|Minnesota Wild.##I got a chance to catch the Wild in SJ on Oct 10th and let me tell you, they don’t look at all like you might remember. The Wild have been giving up a lot of odd-man rushes with their aggressive style at the point. Numerous times during the SJ game they had one defenseman at the point and that led to a few shorthanded chances on the PP. The Wild gave up a shorthanded goal to Columbus much the same way. And in the SJ game, they lost because SJ started hustling to loose pucks midway through the 2nd and beat them every time. Also, MN needs to step up and hit, not fight, just hit and hit hard, it was severely lacking in SJ.

Either way, it looks like the Wild could pull it together this season. If Sykora can fit in and gel like it looks like Havlat and Koivu will, well, those 40 shot games might actually begin to yield more than 2 goals. Besides the 9 minute 4 goal streak by SJ on the 10th, the Wild were, for the most part, good. Not great, but good.

There were a few blown assignments that led to goals. On the PK there was a bit of running around, but on the whole good — the forwards got too high in the slot to stop a pass had it come. But, at one point there were three Wild players who converged on Heatley, which left a man all alone in Backstrom’s face = 3-2 SJ. On the fourth goal, 9 seconds into the 3rd, Backstrom didn’t stop what was a dead on shot even if it did come quick and on a blue line in breakaway. More importantly, Marleau went in untouched; one defenseman seemed to lose an edge, Koivu got beat thinking the defense had it and Marleau just hustled it to the net, snapped the shot, 4-2 SJ.

Todd Richards seems to be trying from what I’ve read. He’s benched players he feels aren’t doing well (during the LA game) or aren’t skating hard enough. And I can see why, there were a few chances for SJ that were a direct result of slow skating to the bench for a change (Havlat noticeably). That said, the Wild’s new system looks a lot like the Sharks. Just like the Sharks program from the game said: “It looks like the Shark’s will be playing themselves in this one.”

I think it’s too early to write off the Wild though. Backstrom’s going to have to get stronger on the odd-man rush/breakaway situations. The kids are going to have to play the smartest hockey of their lives. And the whole team is going to have to learn about living with growing pains. I’m not looking for them to go to the playoffs necessarily, I just don’t want to see them blown apart. So far, so good.

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3 comments for “Wild In San Jose, Not Great But Still Good”

  1. They sound a bit more ragged than what I remember from watching them play the Coyotes…it is still early and the elves always seem to find their way.

    Posted by PuckGalNo Gravatar | October 14, 2009, 6:45 pm
  2. Welcome aboard!

    Posted by CanuckulheadNo Gravatar | October 15, 2009, 2:52 pm
  3. Thank you much Canuckulhead, we’ll see you this evening.

    Posted by CraigNo Gravatar | October 17, 2009, 4:56 pm

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