Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Ottawa Senators 12/19/17 @ 6:00PM CST at ScotiaBank Center

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Ottawa Senators 12/19/17 @ 6:00PM CST at ScotiaBank Center

Wild

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Ottawa Senators 12/19/17 @ 6:00PM CST at ScotiaBank Center

Minnesota Wild (17-13-3)  37pts  6th in the Central

2.79 Goals For Per Game (21st in the NHL)

2.85 Goals Against Per Game (14th in the NHL)

20.2% Power Play (13th in the NHL)

84.4% Penalty Kill (3rd in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 12G 16A = 28pts

2. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 14G 11A = 25pts

3. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 7G 14A = 21pts

4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 4G 14A = 18pts

5. #24 Mathew Dumba ~ 5G 11A = 16pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 22 PIM’s

2. #12 Eric Staal ~ 22 PIM’s

3. #10 Chris Stewart ~ 20 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #32 Alex Stalock (5-5-0-1)  2.69GAA  .917%SP  1SO

2. #31 Steve Michalek N/A

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Ottawa Senators (11-13-7)  29pts  6th in the Atlantic

2.71 Goals For Per Game (25th in the NHL)

3.19 Goals Against Per Game (25th in the NHL)

14.9% Power Play (27th in the NHL)

77.2% Penalty Kill (29th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #61 Mark Stone ~ 14G 14A = 28pts

2. #68 Mike Hoffman ~ 9G 13A = 22pts

3. #65 Erik Karlsson ~ 1G 19A = 20pts

4. #19 Derick Brassard ~ 7G 11A = 18pts

5. #10 Tom Pyatt ~ 4G 9A = 13pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #14 Alexandre Burrows ~ 35 PIM’s

2. #74 Mark Borowiecki ~ 25 PIM’s

3. #3 Dion Phaneuf ~ 21 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #41 Craig Anderson (9-10-0-3)  2.92GAA  .901%SP  2SO

2. #1 Mike Condon (2-3-0-4)  3.27GAA  .900%SP

Lines:

Ottawa Senators

Ryan~Duchene~Stone

Pyatt~Brassard~Dzingel

Smith~Pageau~Hoffman

Burrows~Thompson~Paul

Oduya~Karlsson

Phaneuf~Ceci

Claesson~Chabot

Anderson

Condon

Minnesota Wild

Niederreiter~Koivu~Granlund

Zucker~Staal~Coyle

Foligno~Cullen~Eriksson Ek

Ennis~Winnik~Stewart

Suter~Dumba

Brodin~Spurgeon

Reilly~Prosser

Stalock

Michalek

 

As humans, we tend to look at others and envy what they have. It’s just the way we’re wired. Things can be going great in our lives, yet we will often (or always) look outside of our lives and find that someone else has something better or just something we want. It could be the better paying job. The bigger/better house. The more attractive spouse. The smarter or more athletic children. The flashier car. That’s just how life is. But when life is not so hot, that envy is even more pronounced. While the average person, even in more desperate straits, will just wish they could have what others have. However, desperation can cause some to lash out. They may choose to steal or damage the coveted items or harm the person with the nicer stuff. I would say that most of us tend to live by the mantra that the grass is alway greener on the other side of the fence. We’ll admire the things that our neighbor has, and perhaps even compliment them on whatever that is, but just stick to admiring it. Sure, we’ll hope and dream that someday, we’ll be so fortunate.

For Wild fans, it is easy to look at other teams in the league and wish we were having their seasons. Heck, I felt that way a bit during Sunday night’s game. I absolutely hate playing games against Chicago. I hate the success that they’ve had over the years. And I hate their fans. I hate that they pretend to be lifelong fans. I, and many fans across the league, distinctly remember when they could barely get 10,000 fans to United Center for a game. I attended a Wild game at United Center prior to them drafting Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. It was a ghost town. If they weren’t an Original Six team, they could have easily found themselves moving to a more sunny location when teams like Minnesota, Winnipeg, Quebec (okay, Colorado isn’t exactly tropical), and Hartford were moved. The ineptitude in managing the team by Dollar Bill Wirtz made for some angry fans during those years. Because of his stingy hold on the pursestrings, fans were unable to watch games on television due to very strict blackout rules. Of course that ineptitude turned into a windfall. They were the Edmonton Oilers of the time, netting some fantastic draft picks, which has become the foundation of their success. That is a fence I am willing to look over and envy.

Now, let’s talk about a team I don’t envy. The Ottawa Senators. My god, this has been a team that has been all over the map when it comes to their level of success over their history. In their inaugural season in 1992-93, the Senators earned just 24 points (the San Jose Sharks also had 24 points in the season, but had one more win). Throughout their existence, the Senators are one of those teams that simply defy making sense. They’re one of those teams where the hockey experts will pimp them up, thinking they’re going to go far, but then they stumble and it’s a miracle that they make the post-season. Or they don’t make the post-season at all. They’ve been able to attract decent talent, but it just seems like that talent never quite works out. This is apparently going to be one of those seasons, where struggle is going to be their middle name. The fans are left wanting. And so this weekend, while the fans are enjoying their outdoor game against rival Montreal, there’s been some interesting news coming out of Canada’s capital city. It has come to light that Senators owner, Eugene Melnyk is possibly considering relocating the team. With a new expansion team in Las Vegas, and Seattle poised to get the next team as well as rumblings for Quebec City, Hamilton (Ontario), and to a small degree Hartford (since both Minnesota and Winnipeg got new teams after their original ones were relocated), this is hard for Senators fans to swallow. As a fan who has been in the same shoes, it’s hard. When you get an owner who think he’s owed something and think he can just move a team while ripping the hearts out of the fans, you want to gather a pitchfork wielding mob and storm the castle.

It’s hard, because the essential face of their franchise, Erik Karlsson has already taken one for the team. In his last contract with Ottawa, he took the “hometown discount” instead of looking for his prime deal with other teams that might have been willing to pay more for his services. And trust me, teams will almost willingly overpay for a high-caliber defenseman (can you say Ryan Suter?). So while players like Karlsson are asked to take discounts for the team and stay with a franchise, what is the franchise doing for them and the fans? Well it seems little. Melnyk chose the NHL 100 outdoor game to complain. Instead of celebrating the league, its history, and his team, he chose to complain about the fans. He chose to complain about the local government that won’t give him a preferential tax deal to build a franchise. And he chose to complain about the fans. You know, the hard working people shelling out the big bucks on tickets, concessions, parking, and merchandise for a team that ownership has done little to improve on. And what’s worse, is that Melnyk won’t sell the team to someone who might actually care about the team, the city of Ottawa, and most importantly, its fans. Instead, Melnyk is going to torture the fans with threat of relocation. I lived in the Hartford, Connecticut area between 1998-2001. During that time, the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft was “considering” moving the team if he didn’t get his stadium deal. He actually had Hartford picked as his new town. I remember in the news for a good solid month, talk about how the State of Connecticut and the municipalities of Hartford and its suburbs would handle the move. There were some serious logistics, mainly where would the stadium go. The I-84/91 interchange was bad enough on a good day (Hartford is halfway between Boston and New York), it would have been worse on a game day. But it turned out to be nothing more than a scare tactic. The State of Massachusetts granted Kraft and the Patriots their desired tax deal, and now that potential move is nothing more than a minor (and unknown to most) footnote in their history.

I feel bad for the fans of Ottawa. For as disappointing as this season has been, I’m glad I’m a Wild fan and not an Ottawa fan. If Melnyk is as selfish and sadistic as I think he is, the fans of Ottawa just may have to make a video like this of their own:

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