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Hockey Wilderness
  • Wilderness Walk: Prepping For Finale

    Image courtesy of © Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
    Thomas Williams

    Your daily dose of Wild news, along with other interesting stories from around the NHL.

    It's been 81 games of the regular season for the Minnesota Wild and it has been a journey. They have overcome tragic injuries (and are still dealing with a bunch of those) and won a good number of hockey games. Now, they are going to face the Nashville Predators on Thursday for the regular season finale as the last game that only matters in the standings.

    Where they will be finishing in the Central Division has already been decided. The Wild are locked into third place and are now just waiting to see who they will be playing in the first round. The Dallas Stars have one game remaining and have 106 points, the Colorado Avalanche have two games remaining and have 105 points. It is really coming down to the wire for those two teams and we are sitting here, being left out and a little jealous that those fan bases have something to cheer for right up until the end of the season.

    In Nashville, we might get to see Brock Faber play again and have some interesting line combinations because of some other absences due to suspension. So, we guess, that's something to look forward to?

    That's Wild

    • Speaking of injuries, Joel Eriksson Ek is out and will probably remain out for the entirety of the first round. So, can the Wild win in the playoffs without a bona fide top-six center? [Hockey Wilderness]
    • And another injury has caused the fourth line to take a new shape, but can it be that same contributing depth line we have come to know and love? [Hockey Wilderness]
    • Ryan Hartman was suspended for one game for his interfering hit on Winnipeg Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers on Tuesday. [StarTribune]
    • The Wild might have to go with Marco Rossi in Game 1 next week, but is he ready? [Pioneer Press]

    Off the trail...

    • Arizona Coyotes' Clayton Keller impressive journey back from a devastating leg injury. [ESPN]
    • Matty Beniers has grown from rookie to leader this season for the playoff-bound Seattle Kraken. [NBC Sports]

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    I don't think we have nothing to play for.  There is experience that is needed by many guys. This could be more like a preseason affair.  The Baby Wild lost last night, they have 2 games left with Texas.  I'd be good starting The Wall in both of those games.  Their magic number is 2.  

    That said, I would definitely bring up Baddock for this game, and I'd probably sit Foligno.  I've got an uneasy feeling this the final game will be chippy.  I don't think either team particularly likes each other.  I'd want to save Foligno's intensity for the playoffs.  

    I'm hoping Faber comes in for Dumba, and that Addison gets to play. I'd also like to see what Rossi can do, and I might even toy with him playing on the Boldy line.  It would be nice if he could notch a couple of points just to get it off his back, then send him back down to Iowa to finish up the season.  

    This is it, and we get a short break to hopefully get healthy. I'm hoping we draw Dallas in the 1st round, we've got some unfinished business with them.  I'm glad they are pushing with Colorado right now, hopefully emptying their gas tanks for a rested Wild team!

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    Here's something interesting, and exactly why the Wild need to change their image-

    Ryan Hartman was suspended for 1 game because he interfered with Ehlers after dishing a puck.  Contact was likely to happen. He then gets jumped by the Jets and receives a 2 minute roughing participation penalty for this jumping.

    Neal Pionk blatantly crosschecks Marcus Johansson in the ribs, receives a 5 minute major on the ice, and is merely fined $5k for a much more malicious infraction.  

    My conclusion on this is precisely what I've said all year: We cannot count on referees to protect us, we must do it ourselves.  We cannot count on the DoPS to protect us, we must do it ourselves.  The only way to get action is the threat of embarrassing the referees on the ice (and likely the league), and not being afraid to let games get out of hand.  

    Several franchises get preferential treatment because of this kind of threat.  They could lose it at any moment and I'm directly looking at Boston and Philly who've had this reputation since the '70s.  There is 1 other element that is needed in this, and that is the home crowd voice.  This happened on our ice, and the booing at the officials needs to be very, very loud, intimidatingly loud.  

    The funny thing about all this is it could have been prevented. If the referees call the blatant trip on Boldy that strips him of the puck and sends the play the other way for a goal, we've still got a 2-1 game and likely nothing happens.  

    The Rangers made a mockery of the league a few years back, the game following an incident with Tom Wilson.  We need a couple of moments like that to put the league on notice we're not putting up with it anymore, and until we're willing to do that, the same outcome as above will continue to keep happening.

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    KHL update- SKA St. Petersburg lost its series 4-2 to CSKA.  Khus%^&* is now out of the playoffs producing 1g 6a in 14 games.

    He had a pretty good year and a deep playoff run. Still no news on where Yurov is playing next season as the clock ticks closer to May 1st.

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    1 hour ago, mnfaninnc said:

    KHL update- SKA St. Petersburg lost its series 4-2 to CSKA.  Khus%^&* is now out of the playoffs producing 1g 6a in 14 games.

    He had a pretty good year and a deep playoff run. Still no news on where Yurov is playing next season as the clock ticks closer to May 1st.

    Looks like another abysmal stat line from one of our can't miss prospects.


    - Denny Downer

    (thanks for the updates MNfan.  please keep em coming)

    Edited by Pewterschmidt
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    The deeper in the playoffs, generally tougher teams, tighter games. I'm not too worried about Knudee. I think he has another year on his deal there if I recall.

    The Wild don't have all their prospect eggs in one basket.


    This last game is important because the Wild need to end with some momentum. I mean, dragging-ass into the playoff on a fall from first in the Central might be meaningless in terms of position or final standings but from a psychological perspective it is not what you'd want. Losing to Central opponents as guys go down injured and the team effs-around getting tons of penalties again. These last 5-7 games remind me of the beginning of the season all over again.

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