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The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Carolina Hurricanes 10/7/2017 @ 6:00PM CST at PNC Arena

Minnesota Wild (0-1-0)  0pts  6th in the Central

2.00 Goals For Per Game (16th in the NHL)

4.00 Goals Against Per Game (22nd in the NHL)

0.0% Power Play (14th in the NHL)

60% Penalty Kill (23rd in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #10 Chris Stewart ~ 1G 1A = 2pts

2. #14 Joel Eriksson Ek ~ 1G 0A = 1pt

3. #27 Kyle Quincey ~ 0G 1A = 1pt

4. #63 Tyler Ennis ~ 0G 1A = 1pt

5. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 0G 1A = 1pt

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 2 PIM’s

2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 2 PIM’s

3. #24 Mathew Dumba ~ 2 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (0-1-0)  4.12GAA  .871%SP

2. #32 Alex Stalock N/A

 

Vs.

 

Carolina Hurricanes (0-0-0 ) 0 pts  5th in the Metropolitan

Goals For Per Game ( in the NHL)

Goals Against Per Game ( in the NHL)

% Power Play ( in the NHL)

% Penalty Kill ( in the NHL)

Top 5 Returning Scorers:

1. #53 Jeff Skinner

2. #20 Sebastian Aho

3. #14 Justin Williams

4. #11 Jordan Staal

5. #49 Victor Rask

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #11 Jordan Staal

2. #27 Justin Faulk

3. #21 Lee Stempniak

Top Goaltenders:

1. #33 Scott Darling

2. #30 Cam Ward

Lines:

Carolina Hurricanes

Aho~Staal~Lindholm

Teravainen~Rask~Williams

Skinner~Ryan~Kuokkanen

Nordstrom~Kruger~McGinn

Slavin~Faulk

Hanifan~Pesce

Fleury~Tr. VanRiemsdyk

Darling

Ward

Minnesota Wild

Niederreiter~Staal~Coyle

Zucker~Koivu~Granlund

Foligno~Eriksson Ek~Stewart

Winnik~Cullen~Ennis

Suter~Dumba

Brodin~Spurgeon

Quincey~Reilly

Dubnyk

Stalock

 

I love and hate this point in time of the hockey season. The love part comes from just being excited that the hockey season has started again. I get tired of all the focus on baseball (a season that is a month or two too long) and football. What’s really crazy is in October, all four of the major professional sports are playing at the same time, so hockey really has to fight for its space in the sporting world. It’s a good thing that the internet is so expansive, as there is room for hockey. Back when all we had was cable television and radio, hockey would get lost. Especially for me, living in Wisconsin as I would probably get no Wild coverage here. This is also an some-what exciting time in the season. It’s when you get to see if the acquisitions made are going to make an impact. But this time of the season is also difficult. It’s hard to do much analysis. Heck, three teams have yet to play a game: Carolina, Vancouver, and New Jersey. I mean, just look at Carolina’s “stats” I had to use for today. I’m left to work with a bunch of goose eggs. And the player stats, I had to use their rankings from last season. So yes, as the classic novel A Tale of Two Cities starts, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

It’s also a hard time in the season when you start it off with a loss. Losses early in the season like the one in Detroit, can come back to bite you at the end of the season. Especially if you’re out of the playoffs because of one loss. Now mind you, any loss over the course of the season could ultimately be the one that dooms you, but it seems like the early losses and the late losses that are often the most detrimental to teams on the cusp of a playoff appearance. The worst part is that again, the Wild are going to get a slow start to the season. Their first four games will take sixteen days to accomplish. Any losses in these first four games will put Minnesota behind the proverbial 8-ball. Which is why Thursday night, against a not-so-great Red Wings team, stung that much more. Tonight’s opponent is slated to finish 5th in the Metropolitan Division.

And here’s what makes me even more apprehensive about tonight’s game. If you watched Thursday night’s game in Detroit, you saw a tale of two Minnesota Wild teams. You saw new players like Marcus Foligno who were eager to play. His energy was palpable and it paid off. Sure, he only scored an assist, but he came ready to play. Then you have the Wild veterans. Jason Zucker who looked more to pass than to shoot. Well that rarely pays off dividends. And then there’s our captain. In the world of hockey, that just gets faster and faster, Mikko Koivu looks slower and slower. This is a team that loves the status quo. It rewards sameness and tries to tamper down innovation. When players like a younger Zucker and a now Las Vegas Golden Knight Erik Haula were trying to use their speed, energy, and youth to not only break into the NHL but to fuel this team on the ice, they were usually sent to the dog house. The not-so-swift-of-foot players like Koivu and Ryan Suter are lauded. Don’t believe me? Look at Koivu’s current contract and recent contract extension. We have overpaid him for years and the extension continues to do so. What other team in the league would trade for him and then find themselves saddled with that salary? The answer is no one. There have been those that say he’s been rewarded for his “loyalty.” If Koivu was truly a loyal player, he and his agent wouldn’t have negotiated for such a bloated salary to begin with. Koivu, Suter, and an injured Zach Parise have set the standard for this team when it comes to salary, and the fans will be the ones left to feel the suffering.

Since the Wild have started off with the worst of times, hopefully they can figure out a way into the best of times. Of course to do that, we need a more consistent effort by all the players. The new guys can only do so much. It is the long-time members that need to get their heads out of the sand and play like they really mean it.