Jump to content
Hockey Wilderness
  • Wilderness Walk: Wild Have To Do Or Die In Game 6

    Image courtesy of © Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
    Thomas Williams

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

    It's all come to this. Every goal scored, every goal allowed, all 82 games played and their results have come down to one single game to make this season another disappointment or stretch it to the nerve-racking Game 7.

    The Minnesota Wild are back home in St. Paul to play Game 6 against the Dallas Stars, who hold a 3-2 series lead. We could see the final game of this not-so-historic-but-still-pretty-good season happen tonight, leaving us with just a weird feeling overall.

    We'll get ahead of the bad feelings and say that in all three of the Wild's first-round playoff series with Kirill Kaprizov, they were still the underdog. The Vegas Golden Knights were riding high with one of the best rosters in the league, the St. Louis Blues still had loads of talent and played the Wild perfectly all season long, and now the Dallas Stars almost won the division and have (had) one of the best lines in hockey and elite talent in every position.

    The Wild still have some working to do and are in the middle of progression. It just so happens that they make the playoffs consistently and don't bottom-out. There are still players that will join this roster down the line and patch those holes in the lineup, hopefully.

    Anyways, let's hope that we don't have to think about what a loss means at all and the Wild win the next two games.

    That's Wild

    • The Wild were heavily penalized all season long and now in the playoffs it is killing them. So, is Minnesota's "grit" just reckless play that hurts the team? [Hockey Wilderness]
    • With Minnesota on the verge of elimination, there are no easy answers or people to blame. Everyone contributed to this but everyone also contributed to winning. [Hockey Wilderness]
    • Kirill Kaprizov has been not himself in this first round. Barely producing any points in the first five games and not affecting the game like he usually does. It has sparked rumors that he is still dealing with an injury, which he has denied, so now it just leaves us wondering what could have been. He says that he knows he will break out in the next couple games. [Pioneer Press]

    Off the trail...

    • On the verge of winning their first playoff series since 2004, the Toronto Maple Leafs fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who played a perfect and tight playoff road game to make the series interesting and dampen the Leafs' lead to 3-2 in the series. [Yahoo Sports]
    • The Winnipeg Jets lost to the Vegas Golden Knights and the golden southwesterners took the series 4-1 to be the first team to make the second round. Jets coach Rick Bowness had some choice words for his team and blamed them for their poor play. [Sportsnet]
    • How to fix officiating in the playoffs. [ESPN]

    Think you could write a story like this? Hockey Wilderness wants you to develop your voice, find an audience, and we'll pay you to do it. Just fill out this form.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Featured Comments

    I am going to stick my neck out a bit, I have a good feeling about tonight. This team seems to do well with backs against the wall. Prior to their long point streak there was talk about being sellers. The team heard this and said, nah, F that noise, and pushed. Hopefully being home, desperate, and a superstar breaking lose pushes a game 7 on Sunday.

    • Like 2
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Boy, that was a tough game 6 to watch. Being outshot like that through 2 periods was brutal, as the Wild shooters subconsciously felt like they had to have perfect shots in the upper corners and kept missing the net.

    I also thought that Kaprizov would get going and that Evason would be able to keep him away from the Heiskanen-Suter pairing.  To me, it didn't seem like he was too successful at that.  

    There were some themes that I'd like to review. 

    1. Dallas wins the draws. And, they knew what to do with those wins.
    2. The Wild lost in game 6 this year and last year to teams who were simply stronger down the middle, especially in the top 6. It could also be argued that this happened in the Vegas series. These 2 themes are related.
    3. Our forwards couldn't find the twine when most needed, including Kaprizov. While he did do it last year, Boldy has yet to score a playoff goal. This is concerning.

    With our current talent and our cap situation, essentially, the Wild were only able to ice 1 top 6 line and 3 bottom 6 lines.  They spread out the scoring to try to get 2, but the reality is they are lacking the skill to stay with the best teams in the league. Specifically, this deficiency is down the middle. Hartsy and Freddy are not full time top 6 players, let alone centers.  

    Shooter's got to fix this specific spot, and it may be that the solution comes after '24-25 when we're done paying our penance.  Could Bankier be that guy? Could Rossi? Could Khus%^&*(? Might we have to trade for that guy? Would Elias Pettersson see this as a destination, and could he be the center we need?

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Well my good feeling went away very quickly after Hartman missed his opportunity and Dallas went right back down the ice and scored. I will eat my words on that. I think we are just in for a few tough years now while the young guns learn to play big boy hockey. 

    Center help is NEEDED, how we are going to get it besides hoping a draft pick turns out or wait until cap space comes is anybody's guess.  Either way the next 2 years are going to be very interesting and possibly brutal. I hope its not and we are pleasantly surprised. 

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    5 hours ago, IllicitFive said:

    Center help is NEEDED, how we are going to get it besides hoping a draft pick turns out or wait until cap space comes is anybody's guess.  Either way the next 2 years are going to be very interesting and possibly brutal. I hope its not and we are pleasantly surprised. 

    Anyone have any ideas about who we should target?  If we could pry Martin Necas away from Carolina, I think he could be a nice C.  He currently plays on the wing and might be a little light, but has tremendous skill.

    It seems to me that playoff invitations are very important to OCL. Of course, you'll never win a Stanley Cup without one. I think it's time we look in the mirror and actually see the glaring need down the middle. We actually have 2 capable guys playing C, Ek and Dewar. Others are listed that way, but really, Gaudreau and Hartman are wings. I have no idea where to put Steel, Duhaime is supposed to be one but plays wing. Nyquist and Johansson are also listed there but are really wings.  What we need to identify is which top 6 Cs are in a tough spot on their current teams and need a change, and, go the Vegas route and identify which 3rd or 4th Cs could be top 6 given the opportunity. 

    Rossi could be a solution, next season will be a big determining factor. He's got to get stronger. I suppose you could get by with Gaudreau and Hartman playing 1 position, but like happened this year, 1 injury and you're in deep trouble. I'd rather slot them in as wings and slide them into C if there is an injury.  There really isn't any help in Iowa. Bankier and Petrovsky are at least 3 years out. Same with Haight.

    I know we have Mikko Koivu in the organization. We've also got Mike Modano. Both are Cs. Could we not have them develop some sort of training for our forwards on taking draws? Could we not stress this in developmental camps and training camps? Are there not drills that can be done to get better at this skill?

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...