The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Columbus Blue Jackets 1/29/2013 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota Wild (2-2-1)  5pts  (3rd in the Northwest)

2.60 Goals For per Game (19th in the NHL)

3.00 Goals Against per Game (20th in the NHL)

15th ranked Power Play (20.8%)

10th ranked Penalty Kill (85%)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 5G 4A = 9pts

2. #15 Dany Heatley ~ 4G 2A = 6pts

3. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 1G 5A = 6pts

4. #77 Tom Gilbert ~ 1G 3A = 4pts

5. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 0G 3A = 3pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 12 PIM's

2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 8 PIM's

3. #44 Justin Falk ~ 7 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #37 Josh Harding (1-1-0)  2.56GAA  .902%SP  1SO

2. #32 Niklas Backstrom (1-1-1)  3.31GAA  .885%SP






Columbus Blue Jackets (2-3-1)  5pts  (4th in the Central)

1.67 Goals For per Game (28th in the NHL)

3.00 Goals Against per Game (19th in the NHL)

26th ranked Power Play (10%)

6th ranked Penalty Kill (87%)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #51 Fedor Tyutin ~ 1G 4A = 5pts

2. #15 Derek Dorsett ~ 1G 3A = 4pts

3. #42 Artem Anisimov ~ 2G 1A = 3pts

4. #22 Vinny Prospal ~ 2G 1A = 3pts

5. #21 James Wisniewski ~ 1G 1A = 2pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #15 Derek Dorsett ~ 21 PIM's

2. #40 Jared Boll ~ 20 PIM's

3. #17 Brandon Dubinsky ~ 15 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #72 Sergei Bobrovsky (2-1-1)  2.40GAA  .922%SP

2. #1 Steve Mason (0-2-0)  4.07GAA  .879%SP

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Wild vs. Blue Jackets  Bringin' it Old School, Sega Genesis style!


I highly doubt when Ryan Suter signed on the dotted line this past summer, he planned on becoming the team whipping boy especially just five games in.  Yet that appears to be the way of the Wild world these days.  However, you read the interviews of head coach Mike Yeo it is not time to panic.  As Yeo has mentioned, he's a talented guy coming to a new team, with a new system and new teammates.  Plus with a lack of a true training camp this season, there were bound to be some serious growing pains this year.

What annoys me most about the Ryan Suter situation is the reaction of people who consider themselves to be fans.  I've come to the conclusion there are those who know how to read a stat sheet and those who do not.  I'm not concerned with those of us who do.  It is those fans who do not.  How have I come to this conclusion?  Well it's simple.  These obnoxious fans who like to think they know everything are the kind of people who equate dollar signs with goals.  That because we're paying Suter the kind of money that he's getting, he should automatically be a 30 goal scorer.  No matter how often you tell these people that in Suter's eight-year NHL career he's only scored 38 goals total just doesn't seem to register.  Suter is not here to score goals, period.  I'll admit that I'd like to see his +/- a bit better, but when you're playing 30+ minutes a game, and your defensive partner is sometimes a still wet behind the ears kid, that's going to be difficult.  Yes, he's been caught in his zone, looking like a deer caught in the headlights, but I have a feeling the frustration felt by all (including Suter himself) is merely compounded because of the shortened, compressed season.

Yet, while those know-it-alls are heaping the blame on Suter, they're ignoring a major elephant in the room.  I'm sure I'm going to get yelled at by these same know-it-alls, but you know what, I don't care.  Let's place a little bit more blame where it belongs.  It is beyond frustrating to have a captain who doesn't know when to open his mouth.  Yes, Mikko Koivu, I'm talking to you.  I never see you on the bench trying to pump up your teammates.  I never see you pointing to place on the ice to the young kids on the bench.  No, what I see is a guy devoid of emotion who keeps to himself.  You leave those important tasks to your assistant captains.  Yet you'll open your yap to take an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for mouthing off to veteran referee, Don Van Massenhoven.  I'm sure Van Massenhoven has heard just about everything, so I'm pretty sure it had to be pretty bad for Koivu to be assessed two minutes.  Sorry, but that is not leadership.  That is pure stupidity.  I know I'm not alone in that I can't wait for the day that Zach Parise is named captain of this team.  I'm going to spare you the bulk of the "Koivu needs to score and shoot more" argument today, but if you're going to rag on Suter for not scoring, you need to look at your captain first. 

I will close with this.  If you thought that the acquisition of Suter and Parise automatically meant a playoff berth this season, well I've got this bridge I've been trying to unload.  Is there a possibility of making the playoffs?  Sure, but I wouldn't count on it.  The team as a whole makes too many mistakes.  And even if we do make it in, I wouldn't start planning the parade route.  The Minnesota Wild simply are not deep enough to go far.  I expect the team to have heart and quality play to go far.  I know it's crazy to say, but this team still has a way to go, until it can measure up against the 2002-03 team.  Just meditate on that for a while.


Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette