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  • REMINGTON: Wild Instant Overreactions

    Ben Remington

    Far be it from most Wild fans to claim the sky is falling, but lots of doubt and bad memories of a short playoff series from last year can creep into a fan's mind when a team loses the opening contest. It's easy to want to draw conclusions from one game. It's easy to over-analyze one night, because, well, we have nothing else to think about at the moment.


    So let's overreact.


    Dubnyk didn't look great!


    While none of the goals Devan Dubnyk allowed were of the 'soft' variety, he obviously wasn't super sharp, getting beat by some low-percentage shots -- albeit through some pretty nasty screens.


    I've beaten this drum before, but a very effective way to score on Dubnyk has seemed to be these kinds of opportunities. That is, long shots with screens and deflections. His towering height may play a part in that, but it's an area of his game that he definitely needs to improve. His incredible, awesome sprawling save was amazing, and evoked memories of Dominic Hasek in a way that I wasn't sure was possible anymore, but it was also necessary because of a whiffed poke check on his part.



    But am I worried about Dubnyk? No, absolutely not. He's proven to be a very good NHL goaltender, even with the peaks and valleys he endures throughout a season. Dubnyk was still top-10 in virtually every goaltending category in the NHL last season, despite a horrific month of March that tanked many of his stats from tops in the league at the time. The hope is that Dubnyk can stay a little fresher this season if Alex Stalock can prove himself a worthy NHL-caliber backup goalie, and reap the benefits later in the season.


    Ryan Suter played 28 minutes!


    Death, taxes, Ryan Suter nearing a half hour of gameplay. While this isn't at all shocking, it is concerning for those in the camp that think Suter's minutes should be a little more limited to increase his effectiveness, which should be everyone. In reality, it's a little understandable that Suter played so much; Boudreau trusts him more than anyone else in the defensive corps, and he's got some new faces back there. Kyle Quincey is new, and Mike Reilly is still very much in the process of proving himself to Boudreau, and they played 13 minutes and 11 minutes, respectively.


    Perhaps the most frustrating thing about Suter's night is how much time he spent on the powerplay, while offensive dynamos Matt Dumba and Reilly combined for less than half of the powerplay time than Suter. This very well could be a fair and consistent gripe of Boudreau all season long, as it was last season, that Suter, hardly known for his offensive prowess, is used entirely too often with the man advantage.


    The top lines didn't score without Parise!


    While true, it really shouldn't be a huge concern because there's going to be games like this. Zach Parise isn't what makes this offense go, fortunately for them, but the top two lines are still going to have games where they don't find the scoresheet, and credit to Jimmy Howard, who played a heck of a game, stopping 37-of-39 shots -- 17 of which came from top-six players. The bottom-six registered 13 shots, and the defense fired nine, so things are plenty in order there.


    In reality, having depth scoring goals is always a good thing, regardless of what the rest of the team is doing. Chris Stewart showing some offensive worthiness and Joel Eriksson Ek further proving he belongs in the NHL are very good signs for the Wild, and they'll need contributions from those players all season long.


    They got beat by the Red Wings, who stink!


    In fairness to the Red Wings, they stunk last year, which may or may not translate into them stinking this season. While I'll still bet pretty heavily that they're not a playoff team this season, they're also not a team in full-blown tank mode, so it's really a bit of a stretch to declare them a pushover. Throw in the fact that they were opening a new arena -- after finally breaking their playoff streak, no less -- and it had all the makings of an emotionally-motivated game for Detroit.


    Also, consider the Wild had two goals waived off. While they count as much as the NHL goals that I didn't score tonight, the Wild were slight nit-picky goaltending inference calls away from getting out to a 2-0 lead and totally changing the complexion of the second half of the game. The momentum buzzkill that was those goals being waved off certainly made it tough for the Wild to gather steam, and even though they were able to tie the game after falling behind 2-0, the Red Wings took advantage of a doubled powerplay that would obviously not have happened with the score 4-2 Wild.


    Jason Pominville scored two goals with Buffalo!


    This had no bearing on the Wild, I just thought you should know.


    At the end of the night, it's one game for the Wild, and should be treated as such. Do games mean less in October? No, but it can feel that way sometimes, and unless the team starts off the season on a tremendous skid, the truth is season openers are trivial results that are only really cited... leading up to season openers.


    This isn't an attempt to talk anyone off the ledge, should any Wild fans find themselves there. If anyone is on the ledge about a hockey team after one game, they very much want to be there, and it's everyone's right to have a wrong opinion, there are people out there that don't like medium rare steak, for Pete's sake. If you're worried about the Wild's long-term success, that's fine, there are enough reasons to do so that don't make one look like a lunatic, but they shouldn't be based on the results of one game.



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