Minnesota Wild (11-10-3) 25pts 7th in the Central
2.96 Goals For Per Game (12th in the NHL)
3.04 Goals Against Per Game (21st in the NHL)
24.3% Power Play (4th in the NHL)
82% Penalty Kill (11th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 8G 13A = 21pts
2. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 13G 7A = 20pts
3. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 5G 10A = 15pts
4. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 4G 11A = 15pts
5. #46 Jared Spurgeon ~ 3G 12A = 15pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #27 Kyle Quincey ~ 28 PIM’s
2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 18 PIM’s
3. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 16 PIM’s
1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (9-7-0-2) 2.85GAA .911%SP 3SO
2. #32 Alex Stalock (2-3-0-1) 3.14GAA .904%SP
Las Vegas Golden Knights (15-7-1) 31pts 1st in the Pacific
3.52 Goals For Per Game (3rd in the NHL)
2.96 Goals Against Per Game (15th in the NHL)
20.5% Power Play (15th in the NHL)
79.7% Penalty Kill (18th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #71 William Karlsson ~ 13G 9A = 22pts
2. #81 Jonathan Marchessault ~ 8G 13A = 21pts
3. #18 James Neal ~ 12G 7A = 19pts
4. #57 David Perron ~ 6G 13A = 19pts
5. #19 Reilly Smith ~ 6G 13A = 19pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #3 Brayden McNabb ~ 19 PIM’s
2. #57 David Perron ~ 18 PIM’s
3. #81 Jonathan Marchessault ~ 18 PIM’s
1. #33 Maxime Legace (5-5-0-1) 3.66GAA .870%SP
2. #30 Malcolm Subban (4-1-0-0) 2.09GAA .928%SP
Las Vegas Golden Knights
Welcome to Minnesotans Anonymous. We are a friendly support group to help you navigate your passive-aggressive tendencies. If you have lived in Minnesota for the majority of your life, especially if your parents and grandparents are Minnesotan as well, you are well aware of some of these quirks. You’ve been a part of the “long good bye.” You’ve all learned how to properly accept a piece of dessert (trust me there’s a right way and a wrong way). But the place where we excel in our passive-aggressiveness, it’s when we have to describe positive things in the negative. Writer Howard Mohr best explained all of this in his book How to Talk Minnesotan. And if there was such a group as Minnesotans Anonymous, it would be our guidebook. It’s how we would learn to recognize our foibles. And for those of you reading this who are not Minnesotan by birth or are transplants to that fine state, I suggest you pick up the book so you know what I’m talking about.
If you’ve never experienced our ways, you wouldn’t understand that especially when we’re talking about things in the negative, what we say often means something different. Yet when it comes to Minnesota sports writers, I think they try to use the “power of the negative” to make the uninspiring seasons our sports teams have to seem like they’re not as bad as they really are. They’ve hijacked the power of the negative to make us feel better. I suppose we’re so used to tempering our excitement we might as well temper our disappointment as well.
But here’s the thing. As sports fans, we need to put away the positive thinking, especially when our teams either screw up royally or fail to see their problems. Seriously raise your hand when you have to watch players like Ryan Suter or Mikko Koivu try and put a positive spin on the 6-3 loss in Saint Louis or the 7-2 loss in Winnipeg. I know I’m getting tired of it. There are nights when I watch the intermission or post-game interviews when I wonder what game they’re watching. I feel like I’m watching Al Franken’s (no political scandal comments please) Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley instead of a professional athlete. That character was always trying to build himself up with positive thinking. It’s either that, or they’ve all read Rhonda Byrne’s best seller The Secret. The belief that putting positive thinking out into the universe will attract positivity into your life. I don’t have time for that nonsense. I would like to hear some honesty, especially from those garnering the biggest paychecks. Instead you hear Suter talking about how they were hoping for Winnipeg simply to get tired before he and his teammates struck. Really, that’s your game plan? And you expect us to believe and more importantly accept it? Thankfully we occasionally get players like Jason Zucker during those interviews, and doesn’t serve us a pile of cow dung and try to convince us that it’s the finest cut of filet mignon.
So while the players are trying to convince us that everything is great, at least General Manager Chuck Fletcher is speaking publicly as to the state of this team. At least someone is saying if things don’t change this team will be going no where fast. However, I think both he and owner Craig Leipold set this team ultimately up for failure by saying this was going to be the year. Of course I’m sure they weren’t expecting to be without Zach Parise for as long as we’ve been. I’m trying to get myself excited over reading that he’s skating again. You almost have to wonder if the Wild have worked so hard to try to convince us this team is better than it really is. I’m still trying to figure out how Fletcher and Leipold determined this was going to be the year. Is Fletcher pushing this unfounded belief on the rest of us because his job is on the line? We’ve already gotten rid of two coaches and players are harder to get rid of, well unless you’re a a player like Kyle Quincey and can be put on waivers. Of course this is probably a good thing since he has refused to play the position he was hired to play. So the last interchangeable piece is the general manager. In particular, Fletcher has called out the Wild’s forwards. Their current tendency to turnover pucks is very much to blame. And of course, they have to be ready to play their very best game from the first puck drop to the last buzzer. None of this “we were waiting for the opposition to get tired before we strike” nonsense. None of this leaving your goaltender out to dry. It appears that the team had a legitimate practice on Wednesday after getting a day off on Tuesday. My hope is that we don’t see too many more of these days off after a bad game. Head coach Bruce Boudreau had the entire team on the ice for an intense 75 minute practice after a long video session. My hope is that there was also a strong-worded “come to Jesus” moment as well. No more hand holding. No more trying to find the silver lining. No more trying to protect the feelings of over-paid athletes.
Minnesota Wild fans are looking forward to breaking out of their passive-aggressive shell. We want to shout from the rooftops that we have a champion team. I think the concept of the “power of the negative” would be completely out the door. However, in order to get to that point, we have to do away with trying to make things seem better than they really are. When things are bad, admit it. And then do something about it.