Best Wild line?
PHERSY: So the Minnesota Wild are 0-1 when I'm in attendance this year. I guess that means I shouldn't go to any more Wild games.
Mrs. Phersy and I attended last night's game, and it was ugly, to say the least. The Wild came out and had no life from the opening faceoff. And it translated into a 3-2 loss on a night when the Wild should have had everything to play for.
The game was against Vancouver, the team's top rival and the team on top of the division right now. The Canucks played the night before, and they didn't start Bob Luongo, probably the best goalie in the league right now. Despite all that, the Wild were bad, really bad.
I will give props to one group ... the line of Clutterbuck-Pouliot-Boogaard. This line made things happen last night. I know they're considered the fourth line, and most would say Boogaard and Clutterbuck aren't very skilled, but this line worked their tales off. Their forecheck was unreal. And they generated countless chances, despite only skating for a few shifts each period. When they were on the ice, I was on the edge of my seat.
I must say, I've developed into a Cal Clutterbuck fan. Again, he's not super skilled, but that guy's legs never stop moving, and he hits anything that comes near him. I love watching him play. To me, he plays the game the way it was meant to be played, and I have to believe Lemaire loves it!
The problem was, only one line was skating with that type of energy last night. The other three lines were dead, and that spelled an ugly loss on a night the team needed a big win.
Hopefully that loss won't carry over during the rest of the homestand, which continues Saturday night against the lowly Blues.
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FELDY: This, Phersy, is why Marian Gaborik has to either get signed or get traded NOW. The Wild cannot afford to wait until the trade deadline because they need someone in their lineup who is a threat, someone teams have to be conscious of every time he's on the ice. Sorry, Mikko Koivu's not that guy. I love Koivu's style of play and he is absolutely one of the best two-way players you'll see, but he's not the offensive threat that Gaborik is.
The Wild also need their young guys to develop quickly. Maybe it's a lot to ask of Colton Gillies right now, but James Sheppard isn't a rookie anymore and Benoit Pouliot has been around long enough that he should be far more of an impact player at the NHL level than he is. Maybe I was wrong on Pouliot. I thought he would ultimately be a stud for the WIld (not a 60-goal scorer, but a 60-to-70-point guy). He still can be, I think, but we need to see more offensive production from those three. ... And, is it me, or does PMB really miss Brian Rolston?
And, I might be biased, but I'd argue that the hottest goalie in the league right now wears a Wild sweater. If Nik Backstrom played in New York or Montreal or Detroit, he'd be talked about as an early MVP candidate. The guy gives up one or two goals a night, but he gets overlooked because his team can't score. And whenever the WIld get talked about nationally, it's always about their inability to score, never about their goalie.