The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game #54: Minnesota Wild vs Vancouver Canucks, Thursday February 9, 2012 at 7:00pm (CST), Xcel Energy Center [GAME PREVIEW]

Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (25-20-8) 58 2nd Northwest 2.21 (29) 2.45 (8) 14.4% (25)

82.8% (14)

Vancouver Canucks
(33-15-5) 71 1st Northwest 3.13 (3) 2.42 (7) 22.7% (1) 85.9% (6)


Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #15 Dany Heatley 17 21 38
2. #9 Mikko Koivu 9 24 33
3. #21 Kyle Brodziak 15 14 29
4. #7 Matt Cullen 11 18 29
5. #96 Pierre-Marc Bouchard 9 13 22
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #16 Brad Staubitz 73
2. #22 Cal Clutterbuck 64
3. #4 Clayton Stoner 47
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (14-13-5) 2.32 .925
2. #37 Josh Harding (9-7-3) 2.55 .920
3. #31 Matt Hackett (2-0-0) 0.85 .977
Vancouver Canucks
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #33 Henrik Sedin 11 46 57
2. #22 Daniel Sedin 23 30 53
3. #17 Ryan Kesler 17 20 37
4. #23 Alexander Edler 7 30 37
5. #14 Alexandre Burrows 19 15 34
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #40 Maxim Lapierre 96
2. #32 Dale Weise 74
3. #4 Keith Ballard 64
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #1 Roberto Luongo (22-10-3) 2.40 .920
2. #35 Cory Schneider  (11-5-0)  2.28 .928


This is Fergus.  If you can’t tell by the picture, Fergus is a Basset Hound.  Now if one were to check the official breed information on the American Kennel Club’s website, you would be wondering what does Fergus have to do with the Minnesota Wild.  Well let’s start with the official information on the breed.  Basset Hounds are known for their strong hunting instincts, and have a nose that is only second to the Bloodhound.  Their heavy body, short legs, and trademark long ears all serve a purpose.  Their gentle personalities make them a perfect pack hound, and when used for hunting purposes (mostly rabbit), their human counterparts follow them on foot.  They also make for a loving, family pet.  When compared to many of the recognized dog breeds, they are known to be one of the more stubborn breeds, and when training, food (make that bribes) often has to be used.  Because of their long back, short legs, and the densest bones of all breeds, they are prone to nasty canine conditions like hip dysplasia..  They are also prone to things like bloat and glaucoma.  They also shed all year long, are prone to being overweight, and drool with the best of them.

But then there’s Fergus.  Oh, he sheds all right.  When I leave the house, I don’t even bother to look to see if I have dog fur on my clothes.  You’d be amazed to see just how far one dog can sling its drool.  Considering how low to the ground he is, it still boggles my mind just how high on the wall that drool can get.  So far, he meets the typical expectations of the breed.  He has the short legs, long back and ears and weighs a shocking 68 pounds, which happens to be all bone and muscle.  But the similarities can stop there.  While there are times when his nose gets him in trouble, I often don’t see his hunting instincts.  We have a family of rabbits that are often in our yard.  Fergus rarely, if ever, notices that the rabbits are there.  He has the gentle disposition and loves humans and dogs alike, but I just don’t see him in a pack doing what he was bred to do.  Then there is the sleeping.  You have never, and I mean never, met a dog who can sleep more than Fergus.  And when it finally is time to rouse him from his dog bed to put him in his kennel, he becomes the world’s slowest dog.

For the Wild, they’ve lately begun to resemble Fergus.  For every fan who watched Tuesday’s game in Columbus, we all saw a team who came out tired and uninspired.  You would think that a few days off would make sure that they came out with some energy.  Well one would think with all the sleep Fergus gets, he’d be an energetic dog.  You would be wrong.  Just like you’d be wrong if you thought the Wild would come out well-rested and ready to go after a few days off.  And just like Fergus, who is extremely lazy, we have seen a lazy Wild these days.  Lazy shift changes.  Lazy passes.  Just plain lazy.  With laziness in hockey, comes penalties.  In Tuesday’s game, Minnesota had seven penalties.  If Fergus were a hockey player, the majority of his penalties would be tripping, interference, and goaltender interference.  Just the nightly trip to the kennel with Fergus, you hope that you’re able to stay on your own feet. 

Sadly, I think for tonight’s game against the high-power Vancouver Canucks, we’ll once again see a Fergus-inspired Minnesota Wild.  Even with the return of Mikko Koivu I just don’t see anyone being able to single-handed inspire this team.  Right now the pack-mentality of the team is either non-existent or just negative.  For whatever reason, they just can’t get back on the right path.  In a pack of hounds, if they can’t work together or dogs go in different directions, the hunt or field trial will be a failure.  In the canine world, a pack generally has an alpha dog.  If the Wild get back to their winning ways, maybe it just was a matter of the team being without Koivu, their alpha.  I’m hoping that is the case, but I’m at a point where I don’t see that turn around coming any time soon.

Considering how the Wild have been playing lately, this is how Fergus has been feeling about the Wild lately.  Since they haven’t been exciting, why should he show excitement?   


Injury Report:

Minnesota:      Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion, groin),   Clayton Stoner (lower body)    

Aaron Volpatti (shoulder), Andrew Ebbett (collarbone), Henrik Sedin (ankle, doubtful) 

Jack Jablonski  Jenna Privette

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