Your Minnesota Wild Playoff Primer

Show of hands: who knows that the NHL playoffs are starting tonight? Monkey, you don\’t count.

Anyway. For the first time since the 1991 season (Norm sucks!), I\’ve watched a lot of Minnesota hockey this year. As such, I will offer up a few talking points before tonight\’s series opener against the Colorado Avalanche.

Talking Point #1: The Wild are pretty good.

The won the Northwest division title for the first time ever, in a year where all five division teams were in the race for the playoffs down to the season\’s final weekend. Essentially, the Wild have been playing playoff-type games for a month now. Of course, since Colorado is also in the NW, so have the Avs. Whatever, the talking point still stands.

Talking Point #2: The D is a little banged up.

(And that\’s me being polite about it.) The Wild are minus top defensemen Kurtis Foster (out for this year\’s playoffs, and perhaps next year\’s playoffs with a broken leg, due to the most recent exhibit for the elimination of touch-up icing), and Nick Schultz (out for at least this series with an appendectomy). This means we\’ll be seeing a lot of Brent Burns and Kim Johnsson on the blue line. That\’s not so bad. We\’ll also be seeing a lot of Marty Skoula, so cross your fingers that increased ice time doesn\’t also increase the number of bafflingly awful giveaways (he tends to have one per game). Petteri Nummelin should be a solid minutes-eater against Colorado at least. And (with a nod towards the Russoville commenter who coined this one), we\’ll be seeing a lot of Statler and Waldorf Carney and Hill. Oy.

Talking Point #3: The offense needs to score.

Yeah, that insight is right up there with \”the team that scores the most goals will win\”, but so be it. The Wild have struggled to score goals this year. Quite simply, the onus is on Misters Gaborik, Demitra, Rolston, Koivu, and Bouchard to step up. That\’s your key to the series, IMO.

I\’m not going to offer any predictions. It\’s been a fun season of puck watching, and I\’m hoping for at least one series win out of the guys. The West is a killer conference, though, so they gotta go earn it.







9 responses to “Your Minnesota Wild Playoff Primer”

  1. alex Avatar

    And of course, when I say “broken leg” and “appendectomy”, what I really mean is: “lower body injury”.

  2. alex Avatar

    The refs for Game 1: Don VanMassenhoven and Mike Hasenfratz. Both sound like Yosemite Sam curse words.

  3. monkey Avatar

    And, for the record, I’m temporarily more stoked about the Frozen Four than the NHL (show of hands who knows what that is (alex, you don’t count)).

    I haven’t been watching the Wild so much, but I can’t imagine they’ll do well without two top D. Much as I love Gaborik and Rolston and crew, I can’t see many goals in their future. Then again, the Avs aren’t so great if Forsberg and Laperriere aren’t playing well (read: elbowing, spearing, cheap-shotting), so that’s the key to me…

  4. alex Avatar

    To be fair, I consider Burns and Johnsson the best two D we can put on the ice. If Jacques can do a good job with matchups (and hey, he’s Jacques), he can hide W&S and they’ll have a shot.

  5. jake Avatar

    It’s rough here. got to be at 5 wild games this winter, but can’t finagle any playoff tix.


    Also, i’m feeling the sting of succumbing to my wife in not getting the HDTV last fall. Knew i should have stuck to my guns.

    And, for the record, my hand was up for both of your “do you know that hockey exists” comments. christ, it’s minnesota… the land of hockey!.

    That being said, just in time for hockey playoffs, we’re expecting 4-8 inches of snow today! woo hoo…

  6. wadE Avatar

    Lots of things to comment on…

    Wild… suck… the D is going to haunt them in this series. Gabby needs to turn into Joe Sakic for us to have a chance. I’m not seeing any 1-0 games in this series. Avs in 6 :-\

    I am aware of the Frozen Four and how the f*** did Notre Dame get in?

    Jake… how did *you* of all people not get an HDTV? Couldn’t you get something cheap (and awesome) via your job??? I’m shocked!

  7. jake Avatar

    yeah, i can/could. but wifey quit her (admittedly, well-paying) job to go work for americorps – paying her a stipend – and now we’re worried about paying in $1k for taxes and making enough to see if we can afford a mortgage…

    I can get free/cheap stuff from the company, but it tends to be audio related more than video. there’ll be some TV’s trickling through in the next couple years… I’m sure it’ll be a priority when we get a house.

    thanks for your concern, wadE.


    ps. ND not only in, but waxed in the finals of the Frozen Four… Coulda been close, tho. “Kicking in the goal”… pshah.

    pps. did anyone expect 3 OT wild/lanche games in a row? geez. Keep it up wild!!!!

  8. anderswa Avatar

    > Don VanMassenhoven and Mike Hasenfratz. Both sound like Yosemite Sam curse words.

    for the record, that comment made me spew diet mountan dew out of my nose. they truly are the rootenest, tootenest referees this side of the pecos.

    i watched the entirety of last night’s game, staying awake until an almost-unprecedented 12:01. exciting stuff, and the wild really deserved to win.

  9. wadE Avatar

    I hate it when I’m right… :-\

    Why is it that MN sports franchises are so apathetic when it comes to FA moves?

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