The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game #8: Minnesota Wild at Vancouver Canucks, Saturday October 22, 2011 at 3:00pm (CDT), Rogers Arena [GAME PREVIEW]

Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (3-2-2) 8 2nd NW 2.00 (25) 2.29 (14) 11.1% (25)

81.8% (19)

Vancouver Canucks
(3-3-1) 7 3rd NW 2.71 (11) 2.86 (20) 18.0% (13) 81.8% (20)


Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #48 Guillaume Latendresse 1 4 5
2. #7 Matt Cullen 3 1 4
3. #15 Dany Heatley 2 2 4
4. #10 Devin Setoguchi 2 1 3
5. #9 Mikko Koivu 0 3 3
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #16 Brad Staubitz 6
2. #55 Nick Schultz 6
3. #48 Guillaume Latendresse 6
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (3-2-1) 2.10 .922
2. #37 Josh Harding (0-0-1) 2.81 .927
Vancouver Canucks
G A Pts
1. #22 Daniel Sedin 3 7 10
2. #33 Henrik Sedin 3 6 9
3. #20 Chris Higgins 3 2 5
4. #6 Sami Salo 2 3 5
5. #14 Alexandre Burrows 2 2 4
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #3 Kevin Bieksa 21
2. #54 Aaron Volpatti 13
3. #40 Maxim Lapierre 11
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #1 Roberto Luongo (2-2-1) 3.17 .887
2. #35 Cory Schneider (1-1-0) 2.03 .935

Dear Minnesota Wild,

How are you?  I’m okay, and I’ll get to why I’m just “okay” and not “wonderful” or “great” in just a moment.  I hope this note finds you well-rested, albeit not so well-rested that you come out flat this afternoon.

Since it is still early in the current season, I thought I would take a moment to discuss with you some things that have me concerned about the direction of the team at this time.  Yes, it is still early in the season, but that’s a good thing.  That means it’s not to late to make some positive changes that ultimately will (hopefully) create positive and lasting results.

First off, it it too much to ask for a consistent effort throughout an entire game?  I know you’re human and can only do so much, but as humans it is our job to make ourselves better.  Sure, it is impossible for everyone to be 100% for a full sixty minutes (or more), however it is often impossible to win on a regular basis when it appears that you only play forty of the sixty minutes.  It’s one thing to have a bad shift or two (that is to be expected), but an entire period with a lack of effort shown is unacceptable.

Secondly, can we stop this love affair with overtime and the shootout?  Since the Wild continue to find themselves often out-shot in a game, the same often holds true in the five minutes of overtime.  When a team almost appears to refuse to shoot the puck, tempting fate in sudden death is beyond foolhardy.  Also, Minnesota is not a team that can afford to “play for the shootout.”  Lately, our skaters haven’t been strong enough to score those shootout goals.  Add that to the fact that, while goaltending has been strong during regulation and overtime, the same often does not hold true in the shootout.  If you truly support your goaltenders, don’t force them into that situation.  On an off-shoot of this topic, it is also foolish to “give” precious points to the other team, especially divisional opponents like Edmonton on Thursday.  Plus, do you really want to be the team, who if they make the playoffs, they got there based on extra points from overtime and shootout losses? 

Lastly, excitement is good in a game.  Wild fans have had a lack of that in recent years.  We were given the feeling that with the acquisitions made this summer via trade, that we would see a lot more of that this year.  However, that has not exactly been the case.  To the top line, if you’d like to energize yourself, think of a fan’s reaction if they were suddenly handed one of your paychecks at their job.  If it were me, I’d be bouncing off the walls.  Yet at the same time, there can be too much excitement, however of the stressful variety.  Yes, I appreciated the buzzer-beater on Thursday night that sent the game to overtime, and ultimately set up a Wild win, but at the same time it was too stressful from a fan’s perspective.  If this is how the season is going to be, I’m going to have to ask my doctor to increase my blood-pressure medication.  I’d rather not do that, as they’re expensive enough as they already are.

Truly, I hope you’re having a nice time in Vancouver.  While you’re there, I hope you get angry enough for fans around the league (not just Wild fans) who are still upset at the Vancouver fanbase for what they did to their city last summer.  Yes, I know the Vancouver-faithful claim that the people doing the damage were only “pretending” to be Canucks fans, but I don’t know about you, but that sounds like utter hogwash to me.  I, like the rest of the world, saw only Canucks jerseys in that mob lobbing Molotov cocktails and turning over vehicles.  Be mad for us, and take it out on them on the ice.

Take care and play hard this afternoon.  And trust me, I highly emphasize the “play hard” bit.  I’d like to stop having to talk about point one over and over and over.

The fans 

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