Tuesday, October 31, 2006
1. Have you beaten the other team in a playoff series? The answer here is yes, and it was the high point in this franchise’s history.
2. Does the other city believe it’s a rivalry? The answer here is maybe, depending on who you read. From a quick sampling I have come to the conclusion that most Canucks fans don’t see the Wild as a rival.
3. Is there a long history of hard-fought games? Again no, not yet. Maybe in another 5 years, but not now.
Well, there you have it, the Canucks are not a rival in my opinion. However, having said that, I think they are the most likely to become a rival at some point. Colorado and Dallas also deserve some consideration, but it’s just way too early. Rivalries are built over many, many years, and at this point the Wild is still a toddler in the National Hockey League, albeit a 9-2 toddler.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
1. Good game by the Avalanche. They controlled the puck most of the game played very solid in front of Theodore.
2. Pavol's back. I haven't noticed Demitra in the last few games, but he was noticeable tonight. Crisp passes, good shots and a goal tonight for number 38. He needs to take a more aggressive role until Marian returns, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later.
3. Jacques in green. It may have been my TV set, but I think Lemaire was wearing a green suit tonight. Maybe some sort of tribute for Red Auerbach.
3 days off now until the next game against the Canucks on Thursday. Roy out.
Friday, October 27, 2006
1. Manny being Manny again. Manny and JSG were both very, very good tonight. Manny withstood the relentless Duck pressure late in the game and in the O.T. It was nice to see JSG finally give up more than one goal.
2. Boogaard packs a punch. I don't think there's any real need to elaborate here other than to say Fedoruk won't come calling again.
3. Poor defensive game by Nummelin and Skoula. Nummelin had a couple of bad giveaways in our zone and Skoula seems determined not to take the body in front of the net. At least Petteri can bring it in the offensive zone, though.
4. A unique sign at the end of regulation -- both Pronger and Scott Niedermayer in the box, but we couldn't convert.
I hope there's no letdown after this one, but I have a sneaking feeling that Sunday's game in Colorado will be a tough one for my favorite club. I hope not. Roy out.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
1. It's fair to say the second line of Rolston-White-Bouchard is clicking. Rolston got 2 goals tonight and Bouchard assisted on all 3. Bouchard is a magician with the puck and is the perfect compliment to the shooter Rolston.
2. Finally a Boogaard fight. Anyone who thought it would've taken 9 games is a genius. (Yes, I'm not counting the Brashear one...Donald simply fell to the ice in that one without any sign of a struggle)
3. Marc Crawford is in for a long season.
That's tonight's wrap-up. Now to go watch the remainder of the Oilers-Ducks...
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
In what may become a regular feature here, I present this week's letters:
Dear WPB, I'm growing increasingly frustrated with Marian Gaborik's groin. Every time this team seems like it's headed in the right direction it gets pulled. Can anything be done?
-Frustrated in Fergus Falls
I'm no doctor, but it seems to me that the Wild trainers should look into performing some sort of Tommy John surgery on Marian. Maybe take a piece of ligament from his arm and transplant in the groin area. You could even start calling it "The Marian Gaborik" surgery.
Dear WPB, I enjoy your blog and find your hockey knowledge fascinating, but I think you spend too much time talking about various snack foods. Maybe if you spent less time eating burritos you wouldn't fall asleep during the late West coast games.
-Harried in Hugo
You bring up a good point about burritos. They're a perfect hockey-watching food and should be enjoyed on a regular basis. Wash them down with an ice-cold Sam Adams and you're all set.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Best game of the year. Quality, stressful win.
1. Manny being Manny. Fernandez awesome tonight. I thought they
might sit him in the 2nd game of a road back-to-backer, but Manny
started and was the best player on the ice. He even tried a neck save
midway through the 3rd period. Wow.
2. San Jose can forecheck like no one else. I think the puck was in
the Wild's zone for 80% of the game, even when short-handed. No one
can take Joe Thornton off of the puck, he's one strong mofo.
4 out of a possible 6 points on the Western road trip is a big
success. Now back home again for the Kings and Ducks. Roy out.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
"I'm not asking him to build a car, I'm just asking him to play the wing."
Good stuff indeed. Here are 2 interesting numbers from last night:
0:22 -- time on ice for Gaborik after the 10:00 mark of the 3rd period, after suffering a "mild groin strain." Obviously A BIG CONCERN.
13,430 -- attendance at The Pond. I'm not going to go on a rant about hockey interest in SoCal, but they've got a really, really good hockey team here and they're not supporting it.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Well, they played a very good team on the road and it showed.
1. We can't frickin' score against J.S.G. Ever since the 2003 Conference Finals he's been a puck magnet against the Wild. Mr. Butterfly looks like the reincarnation of Pelle Lindbergh whenever
Minnesota comes calling and it brought back a lot of painful memories. If only Kurtis Foster would hit the net every once in a while on the power play...everything he shoots is about 2 feet over the net.
2. Kim takes too many stupid penalties. He was responsible for only 1, but the Wild had 2 late penalties that killed precious time in the 3rd period. Discipline, Kim, discipline.
3. What the hell is "Del Taco?" They've got signs on the boards at each end of the rink. I'm guessing it's a west coast version of Taco Johns. I sure could go for something like a Taco Bravo about now.
4. Teemu Selanne's one ugly f***er. I know the Finnish Flash can skate and score like a man possessed and is arguably the best Finnish NHLer yet, but he's not an attractive guy.
5. No time for a breather. Three of the four best teams in the NHL play in the Pacific Division and we play another one of them tomorrow night. I wonder if Manny will get the start again.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The streak continues.
1. I made the mistake of watching the game from the lazy boy
recliner. I was awake to see the ironic first career goal of Patrick
O'Sullivan, but drifted in and out after that. Mostly out.
2. From what I saw (which was most of the 1st period) Manny looked
sharp. He had a glove save in that period that was his best of the
3. Although I really do like their purple and black jerseys, they
need to do away with the "LOS ANGELES" written across the bottom.
4. Again only a 1st period observation, but why did they sign
Cloutier to a 2 year deal? He gives up rebounds like something that
gives up a lot of something else. I need to work on my similes.
I promise a better effort for Friday's and Saturday's games. Roy out.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
With the Wild playing 3 games in 4 nights against Battle of California
teams, it means late nights for me. Each game starts after 9:00pm
Central Time, meaning I will have to substitute a pot of coffee for
Guinness. L.A. on Wednesday, Anaheim on Friday and San Jose on
Saturday. I was expecting on taking Thursday night off from late
night hockey, but alas, that cannot be achieved -- the Kings and
Coyotes play for the first time this season and that surely means
Georges LaRoque is ready to go.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
We might go 82-0-0. I write that only so I can look back later when we're having trouble scoring goals and remember the good days. Here we go:
1. Stephane Veilleux is a mean little f***er. The winger got into a fight tonight and showed he's got some spunk. Good for Stephane...who needs Boogaard?
2. Three point night for Brian Rolston. Even with the additions of Demitra and Johnsson, he's still this team's most complete player, leader and MVP.
3. The return of Brent Burns. Solid night for the young defenseman. Ended up +2 after playing for more than 18 minutes.
4. Only 9:33 for Jaroslav Balastik? Jes Golbez would be spinning in his grave if he were dead.
Now at last they hit the road. We'll get a real feel for just how good this team is by the end of next week after stops in Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose. Roy out.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Tomorrow's Wild-Bluejackets tilt calls for a fresh new snack, so I'm planning on going the pizza rolls route and wash them down with some
Guinness Draught. They're easy to make, easy to eat while watching some puck and are wicked tasty to boot. Just thought you should know.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Now 4-0-0 for the season and in 1 goal games.
1. I realize the referees are trying to call it tight, but this is
getting ridiculous. The Wild had 10 power plays tonight and
Washington had a bunch too. They really need to lay off the whistle
for a while and let the guys play 5 on 5.
2. TV play-by-play guy Dan Terhaar's voice cracks more often than
Peter Brady. "When it's time to change, you've got to rearrange!" I
know he just gets excited, but tone it back a bit, Dan.
3. Where is Brent Burns? The former number 1 pick has been a scratch
in all 4 games so far this season. I wouldn't mind seeing him play
and letting Martin Skoula sit a game or two. Skoula let Alexander
Semin skate in untouched to score the Caps second goal.
4. Mikko mixed it up on the shootout winner. Brent Johnson probably
studied some film (or maybe reads the blog) and thought he was going
backhand again. Something about the shootout brings out the best in
the Finns. Didn't Jokinen go 8 for 9 or something like that for
Dallas last year in the shootout?
Columbus on Saturday to close out the 5 game season-opening homestand. Roy out.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Alexander Ovechkin makes an appearance in the State of Hockey tomorrow night. With the unbalanced schedule in play, this is Alex's first game here. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins haven't been here (and aren't scheduled to) since the lockout, and unless the Pens meet the Wild in the Finals I won't get a chance to see Sid the Kid play here. This isn't meant to be a slam against the Pens or Wild, but I'm not holding my breath.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
1. Breaking news: Luongo can stop some puck. I hadn't seen much Florida Panther hockey the last few years, but the reports about Roberto are accurate. Luongo was rock solid all game long.
2. Pascal Dupuis needs to shoot the puck on net. How many times last year did Dupuis rifle the puck over the frickin' net? Tonight he had a few decent chances, but again missed the net by feet and fanned on another shot also. Great on the PK, but needs to find the net.
3. Who is that blonde woman who sits behind the Wild bench? She's at every single home game and looks intent on staring at Lemaire. My best guess is that she is Mrs. Lemaire, keeping an eye on the smooth-talking Wild coach.
4. I thought Willie Mitchell would've told Luongo about Mikko Koivu's backhand roof shot before the shootout. Everyone in the building (ok, check that...everyone in my basement) knew Mikko was going to his backhand. He used it every single time he was involved in shootouts last year and tonight was no different. Roy out.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Thursday, October 05, 2006
1. It's going to be really nice to have a first line. Assuming Lemaire keeps them together, Marian, Pavol and Radio will have a really big year. That clicking sound you hear is everyone trying to get Radivojevic on their fantasy team. He should be the benefactor of many goals from this line.
2. Wojtek Wolski is going to be a star. He rifled a shot of the post that Manny didn't see until he heard the clank. If Malkin gets off slow start once he returns, Wolski will be the Calder winner for Colorado.
3. Manny should've stopped that last Richardson shot. I hope this isn't an indicator of future play.
4. Bouchard is this team's best passer. He assisted on the game winner and had at least 4 great opportunites tonight.
That's it for now. I'll try and post my observations like this after each game. Roy out.
Snack plans: keeping it simple with some chili fries.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Stanley Cup Finals: San Jose over Atlanta
Hart Trophy: Joe Thornton
Vezina Trophy: Manny Fernandez
Alex Ovechkin Goals: 72
While I’m not exactly going out on a limb with the Thornton pick, I really think this is the year the Thrashers make a major move in the East. They’ll finish 4th in the conference and upset No. 1 seed Carolina to make the Finals in June. To provide some legitimacy to my predictions, I present this Wild Puck Banter Flashback to my January 17, 1980 entry:
"Winter Olympic Hockey Preview: Despite all logic telling me otherwise, I really believe the Americans have a shot at upsetting the Soviets. Mike Eurzione is primed to be the breakout star of these olympics and Jim Craig will be spectacular in net. The only roadblock for the US is a tough Sweden squad, who we’d be fortunate to tie."