Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
Here are a few "ifs" between Detroit. Minnesota and Columbus going into the last game of the season.
Minnesota will win the tie-breaker if even in points with Detroit or Columbus.
Detroit wins the tie-breaker if tied with Columbus in points.
Columbus doesn't win any tie-breaker so they must finish a point ahead of Detroit or Minnesota to finish 7th or 8th.
Games on Saturday
Detroit plays in Dallas at 7:00pm ET, Columbus at home against Nashville at 7:00pm ET and Minnesota plays at Colorado at 7:30pm ET.
I think the Wild TV crew is getting tired of calling Edmonton goals.
The first by Corey Potter 27 seconds in to the game...
Fast foward to the middle of the 2nd period, Nail Yakupov makes it 5-0 Edmonton...
from Mike Fleming JR of Deadline,
Attention on the long-term brain damage suffered by contact sports stars has primarily fallen on pro football because of the tragic suicides of superstars like Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, both of whom left behind their brains for study on how on-field collisions made retirement life too much to bear. But the problem reaches other sports, including hockey, and Focus Features and Peter Berg are tackling the issue by focusing on renowned enforcer Derek Boogaard. A shy, oversized player who learned to use his fists to make it to the National Hockey League, Boogaard became hooked on painkillers from years of damage, and was found dead at age 28 after mixing prescription drugs with booze.
Focus has made a deal with The New York Times for an eye-opening series of articles by John Branch entitled Punched Out: The Life And Death Of A Hockey Enforcer. Berg and Film 44 partner Sarah Aubrey are producing, and Berg hopes to direct. Ryan Condal is writing the script, and Josh McLoughlin will oversee the pic. The deal was made by ICM Partners, which reps the Times, and also reps Boogard’s estate and his mother and father, Len and Joanne Boogaard. All of the money they make will go to a charity set up for their son.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The chances of the Oilers actually digging in and beating the Wild in Minny are slender, to say the least, where they’ve only lost 19 of the last 20 to the Wild, outscoring the Oilers 69-32. Yeah, 19 of 20. Where Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom is 17-0 against them at the Xcel Energy Center, with a 1.34 average, a .948 save percentage and only twice has he surrendered more than two goals. Backstrom always looks like a cross between Glenn Hall and Marty Brodeur against the Oilers in Minny.
One sliver of hope for the Oilers? The Wild, currently eighth (53 points, tied with Columbus but with more seasonal victories), have scored six goals in its last six games at home. And the Oilers have the eighth best road record in the West, where they’ve won more games (9) than at home.
more on the Oilers...
No penalty of the play and Pominville has not returned to the game.
Pominville missed 9 games in October, 2010 with a concussion.
from Chip Scoggins of the StarTribune,
“We’re in a very good spot right now,” Yeo said without a hint of sarcasm. “We can all talk about how we’ve arrived here, but the bottom line is, our group has worked very hard and sacrificed an awful lot to get us in this position. We should be proud of that.”
That’s one way to look at things. The other side sees the sky falling.
The Wild remains in desperation mode, clinging to seventh place in the Western Conference standings. A 3-6-1 record in the past 10 games has put the team’s postseason bid in jeopardy as a cloud of tension hovers over the entire organization.
“It’s stressful, but there’s nothing like it,” Zach Parise said. “Just the reward when you win. There’s nothing like the playoffs. It’s incredible. We’ve got to get there.”
Maybe we miscalculated this team’s potential in the afterglow of a $196 million acquisition of Parise and Ryan Suter last summer, but did anyone really expect to see this team huffing and puffing and wheezing as it stumbles to clinch one of the final playoff spots? Wasn’t a playoff berth sort of the minimum expectation with this crew? Instead, it’s become a source of anxiety.
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.
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