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The Sports Daily > State of Hockey News
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche 11/19/2016 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota Wild (9-6-1)  19pts  4th in the Central

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

1.81 Goals Against Per Game (1st in the NHL)

12.8% Power Play (24th in the NHL)

88% Penalty Kill (6th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 5G 8A = 13pts

2. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 4G 8A = 12pts

3. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 4G 6A = 10pts

4. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 4G 5A = 9pts

5. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 4G 4A = 8pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #7 Chris Stewart ~ 24 PIM’s

2. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 18 PIM’s

3. #5 Christian Folin ~ 12 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (7-5-1)  1.48GAA  .952%SP  4SO

2. #35 Darcy Kuemper (2-1-0)  2.94GAA  .908%SP

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Colorado Avalanche (7-9-0)  14pts  7th in the Central

2.06 Goals For Per Game (28th in the NHL)

2.81 Goals Against Per Game (20th in the NHL)

16.4% Power Play (17th in the NHL)

79.1% Penalty Kill (25th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #9 Matt Duchene ~ 6G 5A = 11pts

2. #29 Nathan MacKinnon ~ 3G 7A = 10pts

3. #92 Gabriel Landeskog ~ 4G 4A = 8pts

4. #28 Patrick Wiercioch ~ 2G 5A = 7pts

5. #6 Erik Johnson ~ 0G 7A = 7pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #12 Jarome Iginla ~ 27 PIM’s

2. #55 Cody McLeod ~ 23 PIM’s

3. #16 Nikita Zadorov ~ 20 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #1 Semyon Varlamov (4-8-0)  3.01GAA  .901%SP  1SO

2. #31 Calvin Pickard (3-1-0)  2.08GAA  .923%%SP  1SO

 

As we get older, we find we have more obligations at holiday times. When you’re a kid, and even in college, you pretty much don’t have to think about where you’re going to spend the holiday. At the very least, you have it at your own house with at least your immediate family. Many times, the various holiday dinners are at the home of your grandparents. When you’re younger, you don’t even think twice if you end up having two Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. You just know you get to see both sets of grandparents, and it’s a good time. However as adults, we know the reason for the multiple dinners. If you’re in a serious relationship, you find you have dinner with your family and that of the family of your partner or spouse. There can be politics involved as to where you spend the holiday. In my case, we solved the holiday issue early in our relationship. We spend Thanksgiving with my spouse’s family, do a lot of driving at Christmas time, and then Easter is with my family. Now this year is different. My brother-in-law will be out of town Thanksgiving weekend so we’re doing Thanksgiving this weekend. So with that in mind, you’re going to get an early “what I’m thankful for” write up.

First off, I’m thankful for having a real coach again. When Chuck Fletecher and Craig Leipold announced and introduced Bruce Boudreau as the new head coach, I’m pretty sure I heard a collective sigh of relief from Wild fans everywhere. It’s been a rough go when it comes to coaches since Jacques Lemaire left the organization. With Todd Richards it was if coaching itself was optional, much like all those optional practices. At post-game press conferences, when questioned about poor play or being criticized, his response was “well, we’ll have to look at the tape.” You know, giving an answer without really giving an answer. Shortly before the end of his tenure in Minnesota, he stated that he had tried everything, and couldn’t get the appropriate responses. And then we have Mike Yeo. He was the kind of coach who seemed to try and be the players’ friend. I remember an episode of Becoming Wild while Richards was still the head coach. They showed the then Houston Aeros when they were coached by Yeo. After every practice, Yeo and his assistant coaches would play some 3-on-3 hockey with the players who would be scratched that night. It was his attempt to keep the players who wouldn’t see game action in game mode. It was a cool idea, but even then it struck me as a bit too chummy for professional sports. A lot of that chumminess came to Minnesota when Yeo was promoted, and it ultimately worked against him. That chumminess also turned into ill-timed optional practices, and the players took control of the locker room. With Boudreau, we haven’t seen much of these foibles, however it’s still early. I know I did have a question of Boudreau’s decision making in putting Zach Parise on the power play in his first game back from injury. But as long as Boudreau is getting wins and answering questions honestly in press conferences when they don’t win, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Another thing I’m thankful for, is the youth of this team. Once upon a time, the Minnesota Wild have one of the better prospect pools of the National Hockey League. Yet trades and free agency pretty much decimated what once was positive. The pool still is a bit shallow, at least for the poor fans in Des Moines, but for the young players we get to see in Minnesota, it’s definitely refreshing. I know I’ve really enjoyed watching players like Tyler Graovac, Joel Erikssen Ek (although, he’s been reassigned to his team back in Sweden), Zack Mitchell along with younger Wild players like Jason Zucker and Erik Haula. I enjoy watching these kinds of players, players who want to make an impression. They have an amazing energy that often is infectious. There are nights, where I would much rather watch these kinds of players as opposed to Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Mikael Granlund. Veteran players know they’re veteran players, and don’t always play to their full potential. The younger guys what to get as much ice time as they possibly can, and they know that they have to earn that ice time. For them, it’s not guaranteed, like it often is for the veteran players. Those young guys certainly make for a far more interesting game some nights.

As this is Thanksgiving weekend number one for me, I’m sure next week I’ll have a part two article for you. Hopefully, they give more more to be thankful for.