Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
The gameplan was so obvious tonight on how to beat the Oilers, yet the Wild basically defied the gameplan.
Chip the puck, chase it down, win the battle.
So what happened in the first period? The Wild finished with one credited hit. One.
I normally take hits, takeaways and giveaways with a grain of salt on the NHL’s subjective stat sheet, but that one David Jones hit was indicative of everything we saw in the first period: a team not following the gameplan.
Playing a blue line without four of six regulars, the Wild refused to get the puck deep. There’s not a coach in the league that wouldn’t have impressed upon his team to take advantage of such an inexperienced blue line by hitting them, cycling on them and tiring them out.
And yet, the Wild, from normally reliable defensemen Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin, to forwards like Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek, kept turning pucks over all over the ice.
The overpassing against a goalie that has given up 11 goals in his last eight starts (Cam Talbot) was unbelievable. In the second period, Justin Fontaine got two guys driving the net and instead of letting her rip, he pulled up and tried to saucer a pass that was broken up. A shift later, Vanek did the same thing.
Watch the game highlights below...
Devan Dubnyk post-game after the Wild lost 4-2 to the Blues, via Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
“This is the play that they brought the coaches challenge in for, this exact play. It’s so offside that both our defensemen stopped playing and all of a sudden they have twice as much room as they would because both our guys stopped playing. You have guys on the other bench that are laughing after the goal is called, and I mean, it’s just added to the list of interesting calls on challenges for everywhere around the league this year. You want to say he has possession? If you put that video up and you didn’t know what that call was – if it was offside or onside, and you argued if he has possession or not I think it’s pretty obvious, but you got the guy that made the call on the ice that’s looking at the iPad and making the call again it doesn’t really make much sense.”
from Rob Vollman at NHL.com,
They are locked in a two-team race for the final Western Conference position in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They are both seven points back of the Nashville Predators, who have 75 points in 64 games, for the next highest playoff position and eight points ahead of the Arizona Coyotes and the Vancouver Canucks, who are tied for No. 10 in the Western Conference with 60 points apiece.
Colorado made the greater push at the NHL Trade Deadline, acquiring defenseman Eric Gelinas and forwards Shawn Matthias and Mikkel Boedker, while giving up Alex Tanguay, two prospects, and two draft picks. Minnesota's only significant move was to acquire David Jones from the Calgary Flames for goalie Niklas Backstrom and a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Statistically, the Wild are a stronger team in terms of defensive play and puck possession; the Avalanche have the edge on special teams, the shootout, and many of the intangibles.
Minnesota's Advantage: Defense and Puck Possession
Minnesota's two greatest advantages over Colorado are achieved practically by default. Statistically, the Avalanche rank near the bottom of the League defensively and in terms of puck possession.
Scandella received two for goalie interference and Montoya will not return, out with upper-body injury.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
This morning in Woodbury, former Wild coach Mike Yeo sat down with the two beat writers for more than an hour. He discussed how he found out he had been fired, where he thinks things went wrong (Ryan Johansen trade rumors, a divide in the locker room, frustration throughout the team), his system, the power play, Adam Oates (a paid skills coach of Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and others around the NHL) showing up at a Wild morning skate in January and what's next?...
“Those trade rumors hurt us. That’s the way I feel. I feel like there were some players that were probably hoping it was going to happen and there were some players upset it was even talked about. That’s my opinion. I could be wrong.”
You’re talking Johansen and Drouin? “Yeah I think so. I could be wrong. I had some conversations. If there was a trade happening, I know I had some conversations with some of the players that were mentioned in those trades. And for me, I was not lying, I didn’t want to see them go. I liked our team. Obviously if a trade comes along that’s going to make your team better, you’re going to do it. But it was a tough thing to get around.”
Does that go back to a division between young and old players? “I don’t know. Trade rumors, every team has to deal with that. These are things that shouldn’t have broke us, shouldn’t have been that much a factor. It didn’t take much for our game to slip a little bit. And when our game slipped a little bit, players started to struggle individually. That was the beginning of the end for me when players started to struggle individually.”
Rozsival received five for interference and a game.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
With his team suddenly on a hot streak and his longtime dream of bringing an outdoor NHL game to the State of Hockey about to become reality, Craig Leipold was one giddy owner Saturday.
As the Wild’s head honcho sat in his suite watching the alumni game, Leipold looked left, looked right and suddenly blurted out: “I’m like a little kid. We came out for the 1 o’clock practice, and I’ve got to tell you, I could not have been happier to see all the activity going on. … It was just so cool. They’re having fun, I’m having fun. Just a great time.”
Saturday was the first time Leipold spoke publicly since the firing of coach Mike Yeo a week earlier. The Wild returned home on Thursday night following a 3-0 road trip under interim coach John Torchetti.
“Even to this day, we’re going to make the playoffs. I’ve felt it all along,” Leipold said. “The decision that was made had to be made. Winning those three games has given us new life. It has reenergized our team, our organization, our fans. This is just a good time now culminating into this event as Torch’s first game.
“I mean, wow.”
from Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press,
Time ran out on Mike Yeo.
The doomsday clock officially has started on Chuck Fletcher.
And it is past due for the Wild’s turtling leaders to climb out of their shells and arrest the 2016 freefall that cost the bench boss his job and threatens to detonate the front office and roster.
Players in this rudderless dressing room do not deserve a convenient scapegoat, certainly not after their flaccid performance in Saturday’s 4-2 home loss to Boston.
However, with another regular season getting late too early, their unwillingness to rally around Yeo and strangle the loser mentality doomed the flailing coach.
“There’s a responsibility among veteran players, whether you wear a letter or not, to clean up our act and to play hockey the way we’re capable of,” said winger Zach Parise. “It’s inevitable. If it keeps going, there’s going to be more changes.”
from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,
There was something perfectly fitting about Chuck Fletcher talking to a swarm of reporters inside the Hornet’s Nest on Sunday morning.
Now that Mike Yeo has been fired as coach of the Wild with the objective of lighting a match under this extinguished hockey club, the spotlight now shines on the general manager. Inside Edina High School’s locker room at Braemar Arena, Fletcher talked about his culpability with a team that in five weeks has plummeted from seventh in the NHL to 22nd -- and has fallen five points out of a playoff spot.
“I take full ownership. I’ve hired the coaches. I’ve brought the players in,” said Fletcher, in his seventh season as Wild GM. “So, obviously, when you’re the general manager, you’re accountable for everything. I take full ownership.
“We let a very good person go and as I told the group [Sunday], that's an indictment on all of us.”
Not long after Saturday’s loss to Boston – the Wild’s eighth consecutive defeat, eighth in a row at home and 13th in 14 games since beating Dallas on Jan. 9, Fletcher broke the news to Yeo inside the coach’s office.
Fletcher said the gut-wrenching decision was his, although there’s no doubt he felt pressured by owner Craig Leipold, who has found the results in the New Year unacceptable. The Wild has won three of 19 games in 2016.
added below, press release from the Minnesota Wild on the hiring of John Torchetti....
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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