Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks 10/11/18 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks 10/11/18 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

NHL

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks 10/11/18 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota Wild (0-1-1)  1pt  7th in the Central

1.00 Goals Per Game

2.5 Goals Against Per Game

0% Power Play

83.3% Penalty Kill

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 1G 0A = 1pt

2. #24 Matthew Dumba ~ 1G 0A = 1pt

3. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 0G 1A = 1pt

4. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 0G 1A = 1pt

5. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 0G 1A = 1pt

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 5 PIM’s

2. #24 Matthew Dumba ~ 2 PIM’s

3. #29 Greg Pateryn ~ 2 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (0-1-1)  1.45GAA  .963%SP

2. #32 Alex Stalock N/A

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Chicago Blackhawks (2-0-1)  5pts  3rd in the Central

5.0 Goals For Per Game

4.7 Goals Against Per Game

0% Power Play

63.6% Penalty Kill

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #19 Jonathan Toews ~ 5G 1A = 6pts

2. #88 Patrick Kane ~ 4G 2A = 6pts

3. #28 Henri Jokiharju ~ 0G 5A = 5pts

4. #12 Alex DeBrincat ~ 2G 2A = 4pts

5. #8 Nick Schmaltz ~ 0G 4A = 4pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #62 Luke Johnson ~ 4 PIM’s

2. #88 Patrick Kane ~ 4 PIM’s

3. #19 Jonathan Toews ~ 2 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #30 Cam Ward (2-0-1)  4.62GAA  .843%SP

2. #60 Connor Delia N/A

Lines:

Chicago Blackhawks

DeBrincat~Toews~Kahun

Saad~Schmaltz~Kane

Kunitz~Anisimov~Kampf

Kruger~Johnson~Martinsen

Keith~Jokiharju

Seabrook~Manning

Gustafsson~Rutta

Ward

Delia

Minnesota Wild

Zucker~Staal~Eriksson Ek

Parise~Koivu~Granlund

Niederreiter~Greenway~Coyle

Foligno~Fehr~Hendricks

Suter~Dumba

Brodin~Spurgeon

Seeler~Pateryn

Dubnyk

Stalock

Well my friends, technology woes have reared their ugly head in our household.  Working in tech like I do, I often tell customers that we don’t realize how dependent we are on our technology until things don’t work.  I am now in that very scenario. Yet my current situation is that my iPhone, my MacBook, Derek’s iPhone and Chromebook work just fine. The roadblock is that our internet service has decided it wants to work when it wants to work.  I suppose you could say that right now, we have the Randy Moss of internet connections.  Initially our ISP’s on phone tech support thought it was the modem, so I spent five hours in the car yesterday to get a new modem.  No dice.  Now we’re waiting for them to come on Monday to upgrade our service.  I hope this does it, as it doesn’t just effect our general internet usage here at home.  I need it to work, as I work from home.  So let’s just say my next paycheck is going to be a bit light.  With that in mind, don’t expect to see Derek much on Twitter during tonight’s game and the posting of the game report will be dependent on using the personal hotspot on one of our iPhone’s. 

So while doing research on my phone for tonight’s game, I have to admit I had a laugh out loud kind of moment.  I first started with the Wild coverage at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The first article that caught my eyes also made me do a double take. I kid you not, but the title is “Mikko Koivu’s value to Wild is measured in win column.” Um, what?  This is a team who can’t get past the first round in the playoffs in recent seasons.  This is also a team that is currently 0-1-1 for the season.  Yes, I know the Wild have only played 2 games, but if you’re going to roll out a title like that for an article, you better have better results not only in the current season but previous ones as well.  To add to the smoke and mirrors game, they’ve also interviewed current and retired NHLers such as Jonathan Toews, Alex Tanguay, and Shane Doan.  It’s as if these players are being used to give credence to that he’s a valuable player.  I think one of my favorite parts of the article was that it was pointed out that his faceoff percentage dipped last season.  The reason that has happened is that the officials aren’t letting players cheat in the faceoff circle anymore, and Koivu was/is one of the worst offenders when it comes to that.  When you’re forced to play by the rules, you learn quickly who the truly effective faceoff players are and whose ability is nothing but a mirage. Not only is he continually lauded for his ability in the faceoff circle, but also in the shootout.  But when was the last time he was successful there either?  Yet, this team continues to put him in the shootout, where he is no longer effective.  Just like we continue to put him on the ice on the power play and overtime. If his value was truly in the win column, we’d see better results in the shootout, power play, and overtime by Koivu. I’ll admit, I couldn’t get to the end of the article, especially the segments where Koivu was interviewed.  When he starts talking on television, radio, or print, all I hear are the adults from The Peanuts television specials.

Okay, let’s move on before I get even more annoyed. Time to talk about tonight’s game. We’re going to start with the lines. First Nino Niederreiter has been moved to the third line with Charlie Coyle and Jordan Greenway. Niederreiter has at best looked lost so far this season. The second line will be Zach Parise, Koivu, and Mikael Granlund. The top line will be Jason Zucker, Eric Staal, and Joel Eriksson Ek. The one player excited about these changes is Eriksson Ek, who is looking forward to playing with those players. And he made the obvious statement that as a team, they need to shoot more. Why is it that we have to get the truth about this team by the young guys?  And the thing is, guys like Eriksson Ek will take the shots on goal.  Why can’t we depend on the same kind of drive and determination from say, your team captain, who is supposedly big in the win column?  I’ll admit, I like to see line changes, especially if things improve. 

However, the big question is how long these changes will be allowed to stay in place.  We all know from past experience, that even when success happens with a line change, that certain players will do a bit of pouting, and we’ll go back to the old, slow lines that don’t work.  In another article on the Star Tribune’s website, even coach Bruce Boudreau has admitted he’s a line juggler, so even he doesn’t know how long the lines will remain as they are now. I’m feeling like a pessimist with this team, so I think the lines will shift more due to player dissatisfaction than how the coach feels about things. 

I’m just hoping my feelings about this team are more tied to the “lovely” weather we’re having, my lack of internet, and waiting to get our car fixed (that’s a tale that’s even more exasperating than the article about Koivu).  If the Wild can get a bunch of shots on goal early in the game, I’m sure I’ll feel a bit better.  Of course, we’ve seen this team get a bunch of shots on goal early and then they peter out, often to their own detriment.  I’m also hoping that we’ll get an honest look at these new lines. Something needs to change.  The roster won’t be changing any time soon, so the only thing left to change are the lines and what they do with them.  The only saying is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” 

Somehow this team doesn’t understand what that means.  This team is broken, and doing the same thing over and over won’t change anything.  It will just make we the fans annoyed.  I don’t like losing any more than the next person.  But I can better accept a loss if honest effort is made and I can see the players trying to make a difference.  And of course, a single game won’t change things for the better or worse, but it can definitely serve as a step in the (hopefully) right direction.

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