Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Playing against his first legitimate opponent since being dealt to Minnesota, Dubnyk allowed three goals on 23 shots for a nightly save percentage of .870 as the Wild were beaten 3-1 by a Columbus Blue Jacketws team that had managed just one win in their previous five games.
The Wild's problems go deeper than goaltending, of course, as evidenced by the one paltry goal they scored Monday. In fact, if you ignore their wins over Buffalo and Arizona (which hardly count these days), the Wild have managed to score more than two goals in just two of their last eight games (and they lost one of those games in overtime).
The Wild are in Detroit on Tuesday night for their final game before the All-Star break. They sit eight points behind the Calgary Flames for the last wild card spot in the Western Conference, with four team to leap over to get into the postseason. In other words, whether we see Great Dubnyk (Custance's view) or Average Dubnyk (Burnside's view), the Wild are cooked and GM Chuck Fletcher is going to have to resign himself to being a seller at the trade deadline.
continue for Strang on the Leafs, LeBrun on Flames/Kings and Custance on the Canes...
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
Fletcher said, “We need to find out what our team really is. I’ve been waiting for the answers to come from the inside. I’ve been calling around for weeks. It’s not easy to get teams to sell players early. Most teams are still in and we’ve been waiting and hoping that the answers would come from within, but we’re at a very critical time right now. We’ve got to stabilize here. We’ve got to find a way to win a game and start to play the right way. You’re not just going to snap your fingers and everything’s going to get back to normal, but we’ve shown at points of this year we’re a good hockey team, we have good players, we have good coaches and we need to find a way to become a good team again. Right now we’re not a good team and this is a small step. Everybody’s lost confidence and that happens when you go through these stretches.
“I thought it was time for me to give this team a shot in the arm and we’ll keep trying. We’ll see if we can add more pieces. If we can do it great, but it has to come from the inside too and maybe this is a spark they need to get going.
“I think Mike’s a good coach, and I think we have a good team. But right now we’re in a perilous position for our season and we have to win some games. We’re capable of doing it. But we have to stabilize here. We’ll see where it takes us. We’ve got to get going. We’re better than this. It’s time. It’s more than time.”
Fletcher again said that Yeo is safe.
“We’ve got an overall performance issue here,” he said. “I’m not looking at Mike at all right now. He’s our coach. He’s a good coach.”
Here is the video explanation.
via Bob McKenzie tweets,
MIN GM Chuck Fletcher not firing Mike Yeo today but is likely to trade for goalie. Speculation is he's close to landing PHX G Devan Dubnyk.
Not saying trade is official but appears to be headed in that direction. Stay tuned.
Looks official enough for me.
added 5:16pm, Coyotes press release below...
via Michael Russo tweets,
#mnwild coach Mike Yeo: “To say that I’m not worried, of course I am. I’m a realist. I know what’s going on.
Yeo: I’m not going to sit around & mope, feel sorry for myself. I’ve got a job to do & now is when I have to do it better than ever #mnwild
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
If that 7-1 loss in Dallas 10 days ago was “rock bottom,” what was Tuesday’s 7-2 beatdown to the Penguins?
The scene inside the Wild locker room after a 26-minute player-only meeting included skates angrily being slammed into equipment bags, more words like “embarrassing” and Zach Parise, still in his skates, staring at the carpet despondently holding a rolled-up ball of hockey tape.
“I feel like we’ve been asked [how do we get out of this] for the last three weeks now. We’re not getting out of it,” a perturbed Parise bristled minutes before.
“We’re so easy to play against. We lose battles, we don’t bump off draws, the details of our game are terrible.
“We don’t even make it hard on the other team. They tic-tac-toe right around us.”
Yup, same old, same old.
Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter will have a hearing Wednesday for an elbow to Pittsburgh Penguins forward Steve Downie during a game at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday night.
Suter was not penalized on the play at approximately 4:24 of the second period. Downie left the game and did not return.
The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: elbowing. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.
The Flames won the game 7-2.
via Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
Suter tonight also elbowed Steve Downie in the head in the second period and Downie never returned. Suter will have a hearing with the NHL on Wednesday and faces a suspension. If he is suspended and with Falk hurt, Jon Blum will draw in and the Wild will need a defenseman -- I'd assume Matt Dumba.
Suter said it was a fluky play and doesn’t think he will be suspended, that he went to reach for the puck and when he put his hand back on his stick, that’s when Downie skated into his elbow. The video is being inspected by the league and it did look like his elbow jutted out.
I saw Suter talking to Sidney Crosby at the end of the period and he said he was telling Crosby to apologize to Downie, telling Crosby that you know that “I’m not that type of player.”
“I personally never want to see anyone get hurt,” he said.
Watch the incident below...
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
You just keep waiting for the turnaround to happen for the Minnesota Wild, that string of 10 games or so when those shots currently hitting the post start going in or all that offensive zone time they generate actually translates into goals. And yet, here we are on Jan. 12 and the Wild are in last place in the Central.
In fairness, you have to consider the division they play in and point out that last in the Central is kind of like being right in the middle of the Metropolitan, but still. It's bad.
The Wild's 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday was their fifth straight. After the game, Mike Yeo put it this way according to Wild beat writer Mike Russo: The clock is ticking. It's ticking on their chances of getting in the playoffs and it may be ticking on the time Yeo has left on the job.
read on for Burnside on Ducks/Jets and Strang on Jimmy Howard injury...
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
The Wild’s a depressed, broken, absolutely lost team right now, and I have no clue how the Wild fixes this.
It’s sloppy, has forgotten how to play defense, how to compete for anything remotely close to 60 minutes. It’s lethargic and outskated, outplayed and outworked in almost every single game.
Other than that, things are just peachy right now as the NHL’s most disappointing team rolled into the halfway mark with 41 points and an 11th loss in 13 games, a 5th straight loss and 16th loss in the past 23.
Please check out the game story as well on www.startribune.com/wild, but a down-and-out Ryan Suter actually apologized to the scribes for his despondent, glum quotes after tonight’s 4-1 loss to the Blackhawks.
“When it rains it pours, and it’s pouring,” said Suter, who said he didn’t know what to say anymore after losses.
When I asked if this team was in a full-scale crisis, he said, “It is. It’s not good. It’s not fun to be a part of. It’s not fun to play. I don’t know what’s going on....
from Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune,
While Fletcher’s primary problem is simple, its solution is not. There is no goalie available via trade who would be sure to improve Minnesota enough to guarantee a playoff spot this season, much less a playoff victory. And while the Wild’s young players have disappointed, Fletcher would be mistaken to trade them while they remain promising and while their trade value is at low ebb.
Here’s what Fletcher should do:
1. Apologize for placing so much faith in Kuemper and Thomas Vanek, who, on a 2-on-1 with Zach Parise on Saturday, tried a mindless behind-the-back pass, as he continues to look for easy ways to play a hard game.
2. Nothing. At least, nothing to mask the flaws of the current team, which played in the second and third periods as if its water bottles were filled with NyQuil.
If Fletcher wanted to take a long shot at the playoffs, he could fire Yeo and trade for a goalie, but that would be like dabbing Neosporin on gangrene.
from Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press,
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.
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