Game #43: Minnesota Wild at Nashville Predators, Tuesday January 11, 2011 at 7:00pm CST, Bridgestone Arena [GAME PREVIEW]

Game #43: Minnesota Wild at Nashville Predators, Tuesday January 11, 2011 at 7:00pm CST, Bridgestone Arena [GAME PREVIEW]


Game #43: Minnesota Wild at Nashville Predators, Tuesday January 11, 2011 at 7:00pm CST, Bridgestone Arena [GAME PREVIEW]


Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (21-16-5) 47 3rd NW 2.55 (23) 2.71 (13) 21.2%(7)

82.4% (14)

Nashville Predators
(22-13-6) 50 2nd Central 2.49 (25) 2.32 (2) 15.0% (25) 85.4% (5)


Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #24 Martin Havlet 10 28 38
2. #9 Mikko Koivu 10 26 36
3. #8 Brent Burns 12 14 26
4. #7 Matt Cullen 8 16 24
5. #15 Andrew Brunette 9 13 22
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #16 Brad Staubitz 63
2. #8 Brent Burns 47
3. #9 Mikko Koivu 32
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (13-10-3) 2.58 .919
2. #60 Jose Theodore (8-6-2) 2.56 .917

 Nashville Predators
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #6 Shea Weber 7 17 24
2. #27 Patric Hornqvist 13 10 23
3. #74 Sergei Kostitsyn 11 12 23
4. #33 Colin Wilson 10 11 21
5. #26 Steve Sullivan 10 10 20
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #22 Jordin Tootoo 47
2. #55 Shane O’Brien 39
3. #6 Shea Weber 34
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #35 Pekka Rinne (12-10-4) 2.16 .926
2. #39 Anders Lindback (10-3-2) 2.36 .922


Time to hop aboard your personal time machine and journey back to the years of your childhood (or the childhood of your adult children).  When you’re back to about the age of five years old, make sure you’ve grabbed a seat on the floor in front of your family’s television set.  That TV should be set to Public Television.  Why you ask?  Why, it’s time to watch that classic rite of childhood, Sesame Street.  If you’re like me, you learned some basics of life.  How to cross a street.  How to treat other people.  How to count to ten in Spanish.  All useful applications.  In my family, Sesame Street was also a form of family bonding, as my father worked for Wisconsin Public Radio and Television.  Since he worked at the actual transmitters, he worked every other week.  When he was home, as a young child we spent many lunches together watching the antics of Ernie and Bert, Big Bird, and Kermit the Frog.  One of these things I remember most is how every episode ended with the announcement of the show’s “sponsorship.”  For example, we would hear something to the effect of “this program was brought to you by the letters ‘P’ and ‘T’ and the number ‘2.’

In the case of the Minnesota Wild, they too could be brought to us by the letters ‘P’ and ‘T’ and the number ‘2.’  In order to explain this sponsorship, I’m going to start with the number.  If you’ve bothered to look at the Western Conference standings, you will see that the Wild are officially 2 points out of the playoffs.  The Western Conference has been tight all season, but there have been many times this season when fans have wanted to just throw up their arms in the air or throw in the towel.  Between the abysmal pre-season and the yo-yo-like consistency in the first half of the season, I know that I never would have thought the Wild would be this close to the eighth spot.  What’s even more astonishing when looking at the standings, is seeing the Wild ahead of both the San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues.  Now mind you, we’re tied in points with San Jose and have just one more point than St. Louis.  Trust me, I’m not donning my rose-tinted glasses thinking that we’re set now, and heading into another of the Wild’s “sponsorships.”

That second sponsorship is ‘P’ for playoffs.  Yes, a playoff berth is within reach.  And for the first time in quite a while that seems like a realistic goal.  With the play as of late, I am beginning to be cautiously optimistic.  However, with the way the standings are, it won’t take much to take many fans, myself included, from cautious optimism (and in the case of some, euphoria) to pessimism and depression.  And even if the Wild continue to play well, there is the likely chance that the teams ahead of the Wild as well as some that are currently behind the Wild, play well too.  Life and sports don’t happen in a vacuum, nor is there a way for us to hamper the progress of other teams unless the Wild are facing them that night.  In life, we are responsible for our own actions.  The same can be said about sports (at all levels).  The Wild hold their own success or failure in their own hands and how the rest of the season plays out is up to them and only them.

With that thought, we are brought to our final bit of Sesame Street inspired sponsorship.  ‘T’ is for team.  For the first time this season, the Wild are looking and acting like a team.  First off, we’re seeing emotions of all varieties.  Smiles can often change the entire atmosphere.  With the way they’ve played as of late, they finally have something to smile about.  The other great thing about smiles, is that they’re often infectious.  We all know that if we’re having a bad day, sometimes a sincere smile can improve our day in an instant.  We’re also seeing what appears to be an increase in communication, both on the ice and while they’re sitting on the bench between shifts, timeouts, and other breaks in play.  In our own jobs, we know if we don’t communicate with our co-workers, supervisors, and bosses, we’re less likely to find success.  The same can be said in sports.  Of the three “sponsorships” for the Wild, the ‘T’ is the most important.  In fact the ‘T’ has great impact on the ‘P’ and the ‘2.’  If the team fails, then the other two will fail as well.

And since we’ve gone back on our respective time machines, perhaps the Wild players should go back in time to their respective childhoods as well.  It is my hope that there was a time in each player’s life where hockey was fun and not always a job.  If they can go back and remember when hockey was just a game and they played with their friends for fun, those memories can become an inspiration for success on the ice.  And while we’re at it, I’d like to remind them of Grover’s important lesson of ‘near’ and ‘far.’  I would definitely like them to stay ‘near’ to the eighth spot rather than ‘far.’  


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