Minnesota Wild (4-2-2) 10pts 5th in the Central
2.75 Goals For Per Game (23rd in NHL)
2.88 Goals Against Per Game (13th in NHL)
13.6% Power Play (25th in NHL)
82.3% Penalty Kill (13th in NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 3G 7A = 10pts
2. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 4G 3A = 7pts
3. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 2G 5A = 7pts
4. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 3G 3A = 6pts
5. #24 Matthew Dumba ~ 3G 2A = 5pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #21 Eric Fehr ~ 8 PIM’s
2. #23 J.T. Brown ~ 8 PIM’s
3. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 8 PIM’s
1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (3-1-2) 2.11GAA .944%SP
2. #32 Alex Stalock (1-1-0) 3.44GAA .879%SP
Los Angeles Kings (2-6-1) 5pts 7th in the Pacific
1.89 Goals For Per Game (30th in NHL)
3.56 Goals Against Per Game (22nd in NHL)
10.0% Power Play (29th in NHL)
70.8% Penalty Kill (28th in NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #13 Alex Iafallo ~ 2G 5A = 7pts
2. #73 Tyle Toffoli ~ 3G 3A = 6pts
3. #8 Drew Doughty ~ 1G 5A = 6pts
4. #77 Jeff Carter ~ 2G 3A = 5pts
5. #17 Ilya Kovalchuk ~ 2G 3A = 5pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #9 Adrian Kempe ~ 14 PIM’s
2. #2 Paul LaDue ~ 12 PIM’s
3. #6 Jake Muzzin ~ 11 PIM’s
1. #32 Jonathan Quick (0-3-1) 4.55GAA .845%SP
2. #36 Jack Campbell (2-3-0) 2.80GAA .917%SP 1SO
Los Angeles Kings
In a popular series of commercials for a hotel booking site, there is a character named Captain Obvious. He, as his name implies, always states the obvious when it comes to what a person wants in a hotel. I would say to a degree, that character is what many of us envision when you hear the words Captain Obvious. In our daily lives, we all know a person who is a perpetual Captain Obvious, or at the very least have experienced that person. Heck, sometimes we’re even guilty of being that person. My usual reaction to encountering a Captain Obvious is to roll my eyes or groan, well at least if the person guilty of stating the obviously obvious statement. When I do have that person where they could see and/or hear me is to groan internally. In our daily lives, I would say there’s no where where Captain Obvious dwells more than anywhere else is in the world of sports. We see and hear these groan-worthy actions and words from everyone, players, coaches, and media. They go from groan-worthy to cringe-worthy for fans when the obvious statement is made, yet no attempts are made to fix the issue at hand.
Well the Minnesota Wild is one of the biggest Captain Obvious teams out there. Today’s (and really this season’s) issue is starting this game strong from the first drop of the puck. And let’s build on that bit, it’s that this team also tries to make things too complicated. That combination is a dangerous one, and we see it pretty much every game. However, today’s Captain Obvious Award is going to Nino Niederreiter. As I’m perusing the local media in preparation for tonight’s game, I have to admit I’m shaking my head at their choice to interview. One of the quotes from the Minneapolis Star Tribune was “We know what we have to do to be successful.” Really? Are you sure about that? This is coming from a person with no goals. A person that we need to start finding some goals. So Nino, if you know what you need to do to be successful, why hasn’t it worked for you yet? He then goes on to say how the team is trying to do things too perfectly. Again, I ask what he’s talking about. I don’t know about you, but I’m not seeing a whole lot of attempts at perfection. But it seems that head coach Bruce Boudreau is looking to jump start a Niederreiter with a dead battery. Tonight he’s going to be skating on the line with Eric Staal and Jason Zucker. I understand the reason to put him there and hopefully it will make a difference. However, there’s also the risk that Niederreiter’s failures this season can also bring down his linemates.
Tonight could very well be a trap of epic proportions. If you thought the Minnesota Wild were having a sluggish start and under performing, it could be worse. I mean, we could be Los Angeles Kings fans. When one considers the Pacific Division, you generally expect the bottom team to be the Arizona Coyotes or the Edmonton Oilers. Yet this season, it’s the Kings taking the bottom spot currently in the Pacific Division. It’s so bad, that there’s only one team below them in the LEAGUE standings, that being Detroit. If the NHL Entry Draft were to be held today, the Kings would have a serious chance at the number one overall pick, and it’s been a long, long time since that was a possibility. Crazier, is that Buffalo is out of that picture, well for now that is. I’m going to issue my own Captain Obvious statement right now, so prepare to roll your eyes or groan, I give you permission to do so. The Wild need to play like the team that has the 3-game winning streak. Yet, I dread that they’ll play to the Kings’ level, the team with the 5-game losing streak. And that right there is the trap. This team has a nasty habit of taking it easy against those teams that should be an easy win.
Okay, I have another Captain Obvious moment coming. Tonight is Ryan Suter’s 1,000th NHL game. Before, during play, during intermissions, and after the game, we’re going to hear nothing but his playing career. Heck, even in the Star Tribune, they’re mentioning that it was current Wild General Manager Paul Fenton who scouted Suter (who was 17 at the time) while he (Fenton) was the director of player personnel for Nashville. We’re going to see pictures of Suter as a young player. We’re going to probably see game tape from his year at the University of Wisconsin. And I wouldn’t be surprised we see tape of Suter ad Shea Weber paired up together for the Predators. I doubt we’ll see the nights where he stays on the ice way too long and seemingly double shifts himself, especially in overtime. Or his super slow line changes. That’s the part that really frustrates me when it comes to Suter and the Minnesota Wild. They will talk about things like keeping the game simple or trying to reduce Suter’s minutes, but it never happens. So if you’re not a big Ryan Suter fan, you may want to watch tonight’s game on mute if you’re watching from home. If you’re going to the game, you will get an in-arena ceremony. You paid big bucks for your ticket, so you might as well watch it. If you really, really can’t stand Suter, you might want to venture to the restrooms or the concessions stands.
I just hope that the Captain Obvious statements that need to happen actually happen. If they don’t, tonight will be another long night and most likely a harbinger of a disappointing season.