Game #75: Minnesota Wild at Washington Capitals, Sunday March 25, 2012 at 4:00pm (CST), Verizon Center [GAME PREVIEW]

Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (31-33-10) 72 4th Northwest 2.04 (30) 2.65 (16) 15.0% (26)

82.0% (16)

Washington Capitals
(37-30-8) 82 2nd Southeast 2.67 (12) 2.80 (21) 17.3% (14) 80.8%(21)

 

Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #15 Dany Heatley 21 26 47
2. #21 Kyle Brodziak 19 22 41
3. #9 Mikko Koivu 10 27 37
4. #7 Matt Cullen 14 21 35
5. #10 Devin Setoguchi 18 14 32
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #22 Cal Clutterbuck 95
2. #21 Kyle Brodziak 62
3. #28 Matt Kassian 55
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (17-17-6) 2.44 .920
2. #37 Josh Harding (11-11-4) 2.63 .918
3. #31 Matt Hackett (3-5-0) 2.30 .927
Washington Capitals
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #8 Alex Ovechkin 35 24 59
2. #28 Alexander Semin 18 29 47
3. #6 Dennis Wideman 10 35 45
4. #19 Nicklas Backstrom 13 29 42
5. #90 Marcus Johansson 13 28 41
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #26 Matt Hendricks 89
2. #20 Troy Brouwer 57
3. #25 Jason Chimera 56
 
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #29 Tomas Vokoun (25-17-2) 2.53 .916
2. #30 Michal Neuvirth (11-12-5) 2.89 .900
3. #70 Braden Holtby (1-1-1) 2.93 .906
. .

 

Remember Marek Zidlicky?  Remember how he went to the press to whine about how he was scratched before going to the coaching staff and management?  Well I feel a slight sense of déjà vu, thankfully I wasn’t left with as bad a taste this time.  The funny or possibly ironic part of it is that this time the whining is coming from one of the guys we got for Zidlicky.

Seems that Kurtis Foster is not happy sitting in the press box now.  At least this time, the guy had the good sense to go to the coaching staff first before going to the press.  This morning on startribune.com, Foster was interviewed and he stated that he had gone to head coach Mike Yeo to express his frustrations about sitting.  I’ll at least give him credit for being man enough for going to his bosses first.  I’ll also give him credit for admitting he is also responsible for not being in the lineup.  Everyone can see that he’s not the same skater that he was before he broke his leg.  As someone who has broken a bone herself, you’re never quite the same, especially if you have hardware added to that broken bone or joint.  Unlike Zidlicky, Foster is at least working with assistant coaches Darryl Sydor and Rick Wilson to work on his skating and footwork.  However, let’s be honest here, Foster is never going to be fast, and a big, lumbering defenseman can often be a detriment to one’s team.  There is only so much working on footwork can do.

Last night, watching the game against Buffalo on television, I almost felt like Fox Sports North may have had audio troubles so they simply popped in a tape of Foster’s first stint in Minnesota.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard something to the effect of “Foster’s shot, wide of the net.”  For whatever reason, it is nearly impossible for Foster to get a shot on goal.  Yes, working on your footwork is a good idea, however, your time might be better spent if you worked on getting shots that are actually on goal.  Now I realize that Foster often shoots from the blueline through a lot of bodies and sticks, but for what seems like every shot to be wide of its mark is simply unforgivable. 

Lastly, I wish Foster would realize he’s been on three teams this season.  A high calibre defenseman doesn’t find himself on three teams in one season.  Heck a high calibre player of any position doesn’t find themselves on three teams in one season.  Is it possible he just hasn’t found the “right” fit for him yet?  Sure, but I find that hard to believe.  Teams generally are on the lookout for those high calibre defensemen of either type, meaning the tough, physical stay at home blue liner or the offensively gifted kind.  Simply put, Foster is neither of those.  Because he is neither of those, he is expendable to most teams and is why he has been on three teams this season.  He was simply used to pad New Jersey’s offering to Minnesota to get Zidlicky, who by the way only has one goal and is a -7 this season (if you were curious).

I’ll admit, I’ve never been a big fan of Foster, but then on the other hand I haven’t hated him as much as say Filip Kuba.  Personally, I am waiting like many fans not only for the Entry Draft but for the opening of free agency.  I am looking forward to ridding the roster of much of the team’s dead weight and hopefully bringing in those high calibre players that Minnesota so desperately needs.  In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to watch Foster shoot wide of the net every shift or be unable to hold the puck in the zone.  Draft pick here we come.

Injury Report
:

Minnesota:  Matt Cullen (finger), Mike Lundin (lower body),  Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion, groin),     Niklas Backstrom (lower body), Justin Falk (leg), Matt Kassian (groin), Jared Spurgeon (concussion), Marco Scandella (lower body, probable)    

Washington
Joel Ward (lower body, questionable), Tomas Vokoun (groin, questionable), Nicklas Backstrom (consussion), Tom Poti (groin)

 
Jack Jablonski  Jenna Privette

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