Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
Now big questions have to addressed this offseason...
One, obviously has to do with Yeo. GM Chuck Fletcher is safe, I believe. If Yeo isn’t safe, it would come from the GM, not the owner. And with Lindy Ruff and maybe even Dave Tippett dangling, this will be a lasting topic unless Fletcher publicly puts it to bed.
But Fletcher will have to evaluate everything, and that includes the job he is doing.
I still think the Wild’s future is bright, but the Wild isn’t big enough up front, isn’t fast enough and doesn’t have enough finishers. The blue line is an issue. It nThe Wild will have to find a way to accomplish this. If you don’t get to pick first or second overall or third overall or whatever, like Chicago did with Kane and Toews, and Pittsburgh did with Crosby and Malkin, it’s hard to replicate that route.
But bottom line: The Wild outchanced Chicago for large portions of this series. But as has been the trend all year with the team, it has to work excruciatingly hard to finish, while other teams seemingly don’t.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Aggravating game because it was hanging in the balance early and even late for the Wild to either take or get back into. But the Wild’s power play – now 0 for 15 in the series – failed and failed and failed, especially on back-to-back advantages to start the third period.
Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise each were minus-2 and now are a combined minus-11 in the series. Parise’s been limited to one goal, Koivu, who just doesn’t look to be skating well to me, has been limited to no points.
“We’ve got to score on them. It’s as simple as that,” Parise said when asked how much he and Koivu need to step up.
Koivu said, “You can’t get frustrated. Obviously it’s hard. It’s tough when you’re trying to create and it’s not going in. Players go through that. I have to be able to find a way to get it to the net and keep creating.”
Coach Mike Yeo said of the two forwards, “It probably wasn’t the greatest of nights, but if you know them the way I do, you are very excited to see them play Thursday night.”
from Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune,
It’s not Minnesota Nice to wish ill upon people, but this is the best possible scenario, given the way The Captain is playing....
The only way Koivu got his name in the boxscore was by taking ridiculous penalties. Three of them. He finished minus-3, and the details were as telling as the results....
As talented as the Blackhawks are, the Wild trailed 2-0 midway through Friday’s game, and trails 2-0 in the first-round playoff series, largely because Koivu isn’t earning his letter.
Whenever the playoffs are over, Koivu needs to cede the C to Parise, the team’s best player and leader. Or maybe that should happen on Saturday.
One other note on the game, Ryan Suter played just over 41 minutes
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
The Wild left Minnesota yesterday completely confident Pominville would play after practicing yesterday. But Pominville, who missed the regular season’s final two games after being elbowed in the head by Dustin Brown, woke up not feeling well today, I hear.
Yeo wouldn’t confirm that when I asked but said Pominville is “just not quite ready. This is a big game, but you’ve got to look at the big picture and we have to make sure that when we get him back in, we get him back in for good.”
more on the Wild/Blackhawks game tonight...
from Bob Sensevere of the Pioneer Press,
BS: In every sport, there have been teams that struggle at the end of a regular season and then have renewed life. Is that what you're expecting to happen?
CL: There is no better example than what happened last year with the Los Angeles Kings. The L.A. Kings only won four of their last 11 games and they lost their last two games. Still got into the playoffs and end up winning the Stanley Cup. We don't have to go very far to find a model. We think our team is very much like the Kings. We go hot. We go cold. We did it all season. Now we've got to go hot, and we think we can.
BS: Is that what you're telling your friends?
CL: That's what we're telling everybody. This is a whole new season. Everybody does talk about it, but it's the hot team with the hot goalie and hot players that will now start to rise. We think we've got a chance to do that.
BS: Just getting into the postseason lifts an enormous weight off a team, doesn't it?
CL: The pressure is not on us right now. We're going to go out there and have fun. We're going to play probably looser than we have been in a long time. We think this is now our time.
The Wild are up 2-1 against the Avalanche after two periods.
We play [Saturday], we play very soon here and it’s the biggest game of the year, so we absolutely can’t afford to waste any time analyzing [the 6-1 loss]. We played a very good game against an LA team [Tuesday] and we need to play that style tomorrow.
“We have no choice. We have a Game 7 tomorrow. This is where you show what you’re made of, this is what careers are made on and these are opportunities that you don’t get very often. It’s an absolute opportunity. It’s a Game 7 to get to the playoffs.”
-Matt Cullen of the Minnesota Wild after losing to Edmonton 6-1 last night. More on the Wild from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org