The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game #78: Minnesota Wild vs Los Angeles Kings, Saturday March 31, 2012 at 7:00pm Xcel Energy Center [GAME PREVIEW]

Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (32-35-10) 74 4th Northwest 2.03 (30) 2.65 (15) 15.4% (23)

81.6% (18)

Los Angeles Kings
(39-27-12) 90 1st Pacific 2.26 (29) 2.04 (2) 15.4% (24) 87.7%(4)


Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #15 Dany Heatley 21 27 48
2. #21 Kyle Brodziak 21 22 43
3. #9 Mikko Koivu 12 28 40
4. #7 Matt Cullen 14 21 35
5. #10 Devin Setoguchi 18 15 33
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #22 Cal Clutterbuck 97
2. #21 Kyle Brodziak 66
3. #4 Clayton Stoner 57
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (18-17-6) 2.43 .920
2. #37 Josh Harding (11-12-4) 2.64 .918
3. #31 Matt Hackett (3-6-0) 2.37 .922
Los Angeles Kings
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #11 Anze Kopitar 25 44 69
2. #14 Justin Williams 19 36 55
3. #23 Dustin Brown 20 29 49
4. #10 Mike Richards 17 23 40
5. #8 Drew Doughty 10 26 36
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #13 Kyle Clifford 113
2. #10 Mike Richards 67
3. 24 Colin Fraser 63
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Jonathan Quick (34-21-11) 1.92 .930
2. #45 Jonathan Bernier (5-6-1) 2.33 .911
. . .
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Thinking back to Thursday night’s game, I simple have to ask, where was that sense of urgency a month ago?  Sure the game up until the last two minutes of regulation was exceptionally boring, but something seemed to click with the team right about then.  However, why couldn’t that same click have happened one or two months ago?  Back then, had that part of the mental game come together, we would find ourselves in a much different hunt altogether.  Instead of being in the hunt for a prime draft pick where we find ourselves right now, we could have made it that we’d be in the hunt for a prime playoff spot.  I don’t know about you, but I can tell you which spot fans would rather have.  But we can’t change the past, we can however change the future. 

Yes, a win feels good for all involved.  But now is not the time for the moral victory.  That time is long past.  If we were just outside of the playoff picture, those moral victories would feel pretty good.  However, we’re not just outside of the playoff picture.  We’re scraping the bottom of the league standings.  When you’re that far down, you have to look toward the future.  And right now, that future means getting the absolutely best draft spot possible.  We have a fantastic group of prospects.  So good in fact, that for the first time in The Hockey News’ “Future Watch” history, one team has five prospects in the top forty.  That team is the Minnesota Wild.  Back when Tommy Thompson was in charge of scouting, we’d never be able to say that.  Our prospect pool felt more shallow than an empty kiddie pool.  Such is not the case now.  We need to build on that, and continue to restock that pool.  Those prospects that we have now won’t always be prospects.  If we simply drain that pool without bringing in quality prospects through the draft, trades, or free agent college signings, it will feel like Tommy Thompson is back at the helm.  Sorry, but I don’t care to ever return to those days.

I’ve been told that I’m not really a fan, because I should have been happy for Thursday’s win.  What sticks in my craw the most about those comments is some of them have come from some people who I know for a fact have only started following this team.  They don’t remember the days of Lubomir Sekeras, Pavel Patera, Tony Virta, etc.  I do.  The crazy thing about the team those first three years, is that they played with heart and soul.  They knew that this was their last (or only) chance at the NHL.  They had a coach in Jacques Lemaire who made them competitive.  I loved those teams, and I loved their energy.  There was a sense of brotherhood on the ice back then, that is clearly lacking now.  Misfits band together in ways that stars never can or will.  So excuse me, but I will call out this team as I see fit.  And right now, winning games is truly not in the best interest in the future of this team.  It might make you feel good.  But feeling good now does not make an investment in the future.

Sorry, for not being your idea of what a “true fan” is.

Injury Report:

Minnesota:  Matt Cullen (finger), Mike Lundin (lower body),  Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion, groin),     Matt Kassian (groin), Jared Spurgeon (concussion)    

Los Angeles
Scott Parse (hip surgery), Simon Gagne (concussion), Jeff Carter (ankle, doubtful) 

Jack Jablonski  Jenna Privette

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