Now we can't muster much of an offense at home. Sixteen shots.
Sixteen, lonely shots. Not much more to say than that. On the plus
side Manny looked good tonight, hopefully that will continue into
Friday when the Wings come to town. Roy out.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
1. Yesterday Lemaire was quoted as saying Manny would start tonight, but when the puck was dropped Manny was still sitting on the bench. Unfortunately tonight for us Wild fans, it was Backstrom who sucked tonight. So he was pulled, Manny was inserted and didn't fare much better. Goaltending, once thought to be a strong point for this team is turning into a BIG headache. Oh well, we can always turn to Dwyane Roloson...oh wait, check that.
2. Where has Brian Rolston gone? It just seems like he's disappeared the last handful of games. I know he's still doing the little things right, but it's been awhile since he lit the lamp.
3. Dupuis scores again. Bravo, Pascal, bravo!
It's just really frustrating right now to watch this team on the road. They looked very good yesterday at home but looked awful tonight on the road against a bad Columbus team. I don't know what the answer to their woes are right now, but I have a hunch it starts with a little something called Marian Gaborik. Marian, come quickly and bring Pavol with you!
Friday, November 24, 2006
1. Backstrom gets back-to-back starts. The TV guys were quick to say that there is no goaltending controversy, just Lemaire trying to get Manny some rest. Hogwash. Lemaire has been very disappointed in Manny's play on the road and this game was meant to send him a message. Backstrom played very solid today in goal and earned the shutout and some more starts in the future.
2. Dupuis back. Pascual Dupuis, missing for 2.5 seasons, has been located and scored in his 3rd straight game.
3. Benoit Pouliot looked strong. The rook's at least six foot three and saw some power play action today. I expect he'll be sent back down once Walz and/or Demitra come back, but it's nice to see No. 67 on the ice.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
1. Niklas Backstrom got the start in goal. This is further proof that Jacques reads WPB. Backstrom played well, but not stellar.
2. The game was not televised locally, so I was only able to watch it via a French-Canadian feed on the Center Ice cable package. While it was amusing to watch the game and listen to French play-by-play, it got a bit confusing. After a while I was able to gleem a few things. "blah blah blah...Jacques Lemaire tres bien...blah blah blah."
My favorite squad clearly has issues with bad first periods on the road. Roy out.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The title of today's entry could easily be the name of a failed
French-Canadien sitcom, but it actually derives from the promotion of
former first round pick Benoit Pouliot to the Minnesota Wild.
Pouliot, the 4th overall pick a year ago, will make his NHL debut
tomorrow night in Montreal.
Monday, November 20, 2006
2. Twenty shots. The Wild peppered Ray Emery with 20 shots on goal in the third period. The offense has come back to life these past few games, unfortunately they've run into a couple of hot goaltenders.
That's all I've got for tonight. Again I tried (unsucessfully) to watch 2 programs at once...Wild hockey and "Heroes". For a while I thought Jacques Lemaire was going to bend the space/time continium and stop some of the Sens shots himself.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
1. Peter Budaj is a Wild killer. He brought back memories of the 2003 Western Conference Finals tonight for me...I thought J.S. Guigeire was between the posts again tonight. This was a rare game where I thought the Wild outplayed their opponent, but got outshot.
2. Mikko. Goalies aside, Koivu was the best player on the ice. He continues to improve and I wrote him in on my All Star Ballot.
Back on the road again, this time out east in Canada. I look forward to watching the Sens and Habs on this trip because I haven't seen either of them play yet this season.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
1. Manny. What's going on with Fernandez? He's been pulled three times this year and has looked poor in the last few games. He won't win the Vezina at this rate. Niklas Backstrom was stellar again in relief. Maybe it's time to think about employing a baseball-type scenario and start Manny for a period or two and then go to the bullpen and have your closer finish the game. Seriously, though, Manny's play has faded and Backstrom has earned some more starts. I'm not saying they should split time ala Roloson-Fernandez, but I think it should be of a more 70/30 split until Manny finds his game again.
2. Barry Trotz. Man, this guy gives me the willies. He looks like a cross between Pat Riley and an undertaker.
3. Somebody get Lemaire a cocktail. To celebrate the win, the end of a long, winding road trip and to forget the awful defense he saw tonight. Better make it a double, Jacques.
4. Yes, I know the Predators got screwed by the refs tonight. Koivu clearly should've received a double-minor high sticking call with about 5 minutes to play, but they missed the call.
Colorado back in St. Paul on Saturday.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Who will win the Roloson-Fernandez duels? Can Gaborik(*) make Robyn Regehr look foolish again? Does Andrei Zyuzin still show enormous promise only to let you down in every way possible? Does Fernando Pisani even still play for the Oilers? I look forward to answering these questions when the other Northwest Division teams enter the schedule a month from now.
(*) Marian Gaborik, in case you've forgotten. Maybe he should've opted for the groin replacement surgery.
Maybe it's just because of last night's game, but I'm in a sour mood. Watching the Coyotes play last night reminded me of a horrible trade that the Wild made before last season. The Wild traded defenseman Zbynek Michalek to Phoenix for forward Eric Westrum. Westrum went on to play at AHL Houston and was ultimately not re-signed by the Wild, choosing instead on a free agent contract with Toronto. He's currently playing for the Marlies.
Michalek, on the other hand, played in all 82 games last year for Phoenix and was arguably their best defenseman. He averages well over 20 minutes a game played and is only 23 years old. Nice move, Mr. Risebrough.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
1. Manny got sieve-itis on a couple. I hope this clears up soon.
2. Gretzky's nose is getting longer.
3. Martin Skoula needs to take the body. The game winner for Phoenix was not entirely his fault, but if he moved someone out of the front of the net we'd be looking at overtime. I'm still waiting to see the Skoula that played so well for the Avalanche a few years back.
4. Boogaard had a nice run. LaRaque wins their fight and proves he's the NHL's strongman. LaRaque can also play some good power forward. What a badass puck controller he is.
In Nashville on Thursday. When will this stinkin' road trip end?
Monday, November 13, 2006
The road trip continues. We're now paying the price for all of those
home games to start the season. The Ducks were on fire tonight and
the score could've easily been 5-2 if not for the superb goaltending
of Backstrom. I love the Ducks' young forwards Perry and Gatzlaaf,
quick and dangerous and a perfect compliment to the reliable defense
Sunday, November 12, 2006
2. Manny knows how to play the shoot-out. Great saves again in the shoot-out as the team improved to 4-0 in the extra session. Koivu got stuffed for the first time this year also.
3. Another good game for Mikko. Koivu continues to play very well and in my opinion is the team's 2nd best player at the moment, behind Rolston. Koivu does everything well and this team would be lost without him. Viva la Sumolinen!
4. Local TV rant: that ridiculous 93X commercial with the playboy playmate insults my intelligence. She dances around to metal rock and proclaims at the end of the spot that any loser can get a date with her only "if they listen to 93X!"
Anaheim tonight and they'll be fired up after suffering their first regulation loss on Friday. Rumor has it Fernandez will sit in favor of Backstrom. Watch out Nikolas, the Ducks will be flying.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Everyone's going Penguin-crazy these days. Sure, they're a great story this year -- a franchise that's performed poorly the past decade seemingly has turned it around and may make the playoffs this year. I even saw a letter in Buccigross's column this week that compared this years' Pens squad to the 1981 Oilers. Let's just hold on one minute and examine this comparison:
Let's go on the ridiculous assumption that Crosby fills the Gretzky role here. Sid's a very good player and makes funny commercials. Gretzky was just the greatest player ever, but seldom made humorous commercials. I'll call this one even.
Next is Malkin. Is he Jari Kurri? They're both goal scorers, slick skaters and dreadfully ugly, so I'll let this through as well.
What to do on defense? While Ryan Whitney is no Paul Coffey, if you throw in Jordan Staal and add a dash of Gonchar you might come close. (Yes, I know Staal isn't a defenseman, but humor me here)
Is Fleury Grant Fuhr? That what this comes down to. I've already made some crazy assumptions to this point, but I've gone as far as I'm going to go with this stupid comparison exercise. Grant was the soul of the Oilers' dynasty and Fleury has showed little promise. Unless Marc-Andre starts making asinine saves while standing on his head, I just cannot accept this exercise.
While they're not the Oilers of Yore, I'd listen to arguments that they closely resemble the 1984 North Stars. Malkin reminds me a young Dennis Maruk.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
1. Three Games. I tried to watch 3 games at once tonight -- Wild/Preds, Sabres/Leafs and Bulldogs/Gophers. It's very hard to get a feel for the flow of a game when flipping around sooo much and I think I may have pulled a tendon in my remote thumb.
2. Vokoun v. Fernandez. Nashville's netminder outplayed Manny tonight. Vokoun made the big saves when he had to and Manny did not, simple as that.
3. Preds on Fire. Nashville's the hottest team in the NHL now with the Sabres loss tonight. Both games against the Preds this year have been very entertaining; I think a Wild-Predators match-up in the playoffs would be phenominal, but I'm getting ahead of myself. I haven't seen the Wings play yet this year, but the Preds are definitely good enough to win their division.
4. Schedule Quarks. Thirteen games in and none yet against the Oilers or Flames. I'm sure things will even out, but I'm not looking forward to playing Calgary back-to-back-to-back-to back...
Done for now, time to devote my sole attention to the Pens-Sharks. Roy out.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
1. Luongo Rattled. I think the Rolston slapper that hurt Roberto early in the game had him a bit skittish. Rolston and Radio both scored on slap-shots later in the game. Rolston's came on a penalty shot...I can't remember the last time I saw a shooter attempt a slapper on a penalty shot or doing a shoot-out, and Rolston's got a cannon.
2. Todd Vanderjagt White. White clearly kicked in the Wild's first goal and the referee called it that way initially, but it went to Toronto for review and they called it a goal. While it wasn't exactly clear that White made a kicking motion with his skate, the referee clearly thought he did and that's good enough for me. A gift for the Wild when they really needed it.
3. Parrish in the Dog House. I think it's official now. Lemaire doesn't like his work ethic and it was reflected in his ice time again tonight. 10:04 in total ice time and Dupuis took his spot on the last power play.
4. Red at Home. I love the 3rd jerseys at home; they should make the greenies the 3rd and the reds the home sweaters. Great look.
5. Faith No More. During a stoppage I heard them play "Epic" by Faith No More. Now that's a song you never hear played at a sporting event. Underrated song that made me want to grow my mullet back.
Nashville on Saturday in what should be a great game. The Preds are playing the best hockey (save Buffalo) in the NHL at the moment. Roy out.
It's one of TV sports' biggest cliches, the old "Keys to the Game"
that they show at the start of every single sports contest. It's only
time-filler to burn off the 10 minutes or so before the puck drops and
seldom has any real insight. In the spirit of this I present my "Keys
to the Game" for tonight's Canucks-Wild game:
1. Score more goals than the Canucks.
There you have it. Look for them to try and do this tonight in what
should be a defensive-laden game.