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Category: Minnesota-Wild

Wild Need More Production From Their Top Players

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

Five games into the season, the pressure’s already mounting for a Wild team lacking confidence and cohesion, and parked on the Western Conference floor.

Three games into a five-game trip, the Wild has yet to win and faces its first Northwest Division meetings tonight and Saturday at the Oilers and Canucks.

If Martin Havlat misses tonight’s game because of a groin injury—he didn’t practice Thursday—the Wild will be without four of its top nine forwards—or arguably, four of its top six.

“There’s no excuses. We have to find a way. There’s a way [to win tonight],” coach Todd Richards said.

So much has been made the past few days about how youngsters James Sheppard and Benoit Pouliot must step up with so many injuries.

But the Wild needs much better play from its go-to guys as well: Havlat (one goal, minus-6), Mikko Koivu (one goal, minus-5), Brent Burns (one point, minus-7) and Kim Johnsson (minus-6).

continued

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Havlat Day To Day With Groin Issue

Michael Russo of the Star Tribune has the story of the Wild loss to the Ducks and also the loss of Havlat.

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Wild Hurting With Injuries, What Can They Do?

from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,

After GM Chuck Fletcher informed the media that Cal Clutterbuck will be out a matter of “weeks” with a sprained ankle, that Pierre-Marc Bouchard is still out indefinitely with a concussion and that Petr Sykora is doubtful Wednesday against Anaheim with a sore groin, I sat down and watched practice.

In a 5-minute span, Martin Havlat crashed into the boards, Mikko Koivu crashed into the goal and Benoit Poiliot crashed into a teammate. At the end, Jaime Sifers’ skate hit a rut and he crashed backwards onto the ice.

All four are OK, but the scenes were pretty much par for the course for what’s been going on with the Wild since the start of training camp…

So while Fletcher can probably trade draft picks for players, how do you justify that when you need to somehow use those picks to hopefully add skill to this organization. In other words, if you trade your draft picks like yesteryear’s Wild, how do you ever catch up?

Fletcher just doesn’t have a lot of options that I see. I know I’ve harped on this before during some very critical columns last season of the previous regime, but I’ve watched a lot of hockey in the last few weeks. The Wild are so far behind other organizations right now in terms of bright young talent on the roster and in the system, it is downright frightening.

more

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Wild Were Not Ready To Play In Loss To Kings

from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,

Martin Havlat was a minus-3 in 3:07 of ice time in the first period. His first three shifts against resulted in goals against, including his first shift after being benched for more than seven minutes.

Asked about Havlat, coach Todd Richards said, “There were just some guys that weren’t ready to show up. The way that the game went, it’s about doing the right things. You have to be committed to playing in your own zone, and we had some guys that just weren’t ready for that.”

more

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Fight Leads To Wild Comeback

from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,

Wild down 3-zip. Playing absolutely hideously. Coughing up pucks. Giving up 2-on-1’s and 3-on-2’s and even an astonishing 4-on-1. Getting zero done in the offensive zone.

And then … a couple choice words during the second intermission and a fight, and the first-ever Wild comeback from three goals down in the third for a W.

Yes, I know there are people who hate fights, but tonight, there was an example about what a fight can do to a hockey game.

Kinda like when Stephane Veilleux got goaded into fighting Dion Phaneuf in Calgary once when the Wild was ahead 3-0, George Parros decided to fight John Scott. Well the 6-foot-8 Scott absolutely clocked the experienced fighter with a right uppercut. He went down, and for the first time in the game that wasn’t Carlos Gomez scoring at the Metrodome, the Wild fans had reason to cheer.

And, said Todd Richards, “It stirred up some emotion on the bench.”

more and watch the lengthy highlights of the game below…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Pierre-Marc Bouchard Suffering From Headaches

via Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,

Wild GM Chuck Fletcher just announced that center/winger Pierre-Marc Bouchard came to coach Todd Richards after this morning’s skate to tell him he’s still not feeling well and had trouble sleeping last night with recurring headaches.

He’s been taken out of the lineup and the Wild will “seek out some medical solutions.”

Bouchard missed much of training camp with what was said to be an illness. He was dropping hints the last week to the media that he wondered if he had a concussion and “was not 100 percent.” He missed the last eight games of last season with a concussion.

Fletcher made clear that he doesn’t think it’s a concussion and that “he had a virus and the bloodwork showed he had a virus” and was telling the team he was feeling better.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pierre-marc+bouchard

Havlat Brings His Game To Minnesota

from Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press,

Martin Havlat is no Marian Gaborik.

Many associated with the Wild believe that’s a good thing.

When Gaborik, the Wild’s all-time scoring leader and all-time leader in groin injuries, skated away to the New York Rangers through free agency last summer, Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher moved quickly to obtain Havlat, another Eastern European scoring sensation whose statistics are similar to Gabby’s.

Said Fletcher: “They’re different hockey players. The intention wasn’t to replace Marian Gaborik, but (Havlat) was one of the top free agents available.”

At 28, Havlat is “entering the prime of his career,” Fletcher noted. “He’s a talented player, a player who was nearly a point-a-game player in Chicago last season, a dynamic offensive player. He can score goals, but he’s also a terrific playmaker.”

continued

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  Tags: martin+havlat

A Successful ‘Team’

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

...as the Wild officially begins its next chapter tonight against the Blue Jackets, the new regime—GM Chuck Fletcher and coach Todd Richards—promises collaboration.

“He still will have final say on line combinations and usage of players and I’ll still have final say on trades and player signings,” said Fletcher, beginning his 17th year in the NHL and first as a full-time, non-interim GM. “But to think we operate independently of each other in today’s NHL is naïve and really dangerous.

“Maybe I have a different perspective because I grew up the son of a very successful NHL GM [Cliff Fletcher] who had terrific relationships with his coaches. But I believe if the coach and the manager are not completely in synch and supportive of each other in terms of decision-making, you have no chance of being successful.”

more plus some interesting notes on some Risebrough/Lemaire issues when they were with Minnesota…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Off The Ice

Don’t miss the newest episode of NHL Network’s ‘Off the Ice’ featuring Henrik Lundqvist, Niklas Backstrom, and Jonas Gustavsson.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: henrik+lundqvist, jonas+gustavsson., niklas+backstrom

Can The Wild Get Out Of The Gate Quickly?

from Rachel Blount of the Star Tribune,

If the Wild is to return to the playoffs after missing out last season, it cannot afford to get out of the gate slowly. Still, it’s impossible to predict just how soon this promising roster can get Richards’ system into its bones—and rid itself of the defense-first style that had become as natural as breathing. Center Mikko Koivu and left winger Andrew Brunette haven’t played a game yet because of injuries, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, James Sheppard, Benoit Pouliot and Shane Hnidy also have missed valuable ice time.

When they haven’t skated, the coaches have been teaching them the fine points of a more aggressive, attacking offense by diagramming plays on a board and showing them video. But such a philosophical shift requires repetition in the crucible of competition in order to lock it in. Richards hopes his players’ experience and savvy can help them get up to speed quickly, particularly with the major changes on special teams.

more

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

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