Game #81: Minnesota Wild vs Chicago Blackhawks, Thursday April 5, 2012 at 7:00pm (CDT). Xcel Energy Center [GAME PREVIEW]

Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (34-35-11) 79 4th Northwest 2.05 (30) 2.65 (14) 15.1% (26)

81.5% (19)

Chicago Blackhawks
(44-26-10) 98 4th Central 2.98 (5) 2.85 (23) 15.7% (23) 78.2%(28)

 

Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #15 Dany Heatley 23 28 51
2. #21 Kyle Brodziak 22 22 44
3. #9 Mikko Koivu 12 31 43
4. #10 Devin Setoguchi 19 17 36
5. #7 Matt Cullen 14 21 35
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #22 Cal Clutterbuck 97
2. #21 Kyle Brodziak 66
3. #4 Clayton Stoner 62
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (19-17-8) 2.40 .921
2. #37 Josh Harding (12-12-4) 2.68 .916
3. #31 Matt Hackett (3-6-0) 2.37 .922
Chicago Blackhawks
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #81 Marian Hossa 29 48 77
2. #10 Patrick Sharp 33 34 67
3. #88 Patrick Kane 23 42 65
4. #19 Jonathan Toews 29 28 57
5. #25 Viktor Stalberg 21 21 42
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #22 Jamal Mayers 89
2. #13 Daniel Carcillo 82
3. #52 Brandon Bollig 58
 
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #35 Corey Crawford (29-17-6) 2.78 .902
2. #39 Ray Emery (15-9-5) 2.81 .900
. . .
. .

 
What to say?  What to say?  What to say?

Okay, make that “what to say, that I haven’t already said once (or twice, or more times) before?”  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought today, “wouldn’t it be nice to wake up tomorrow morning and it’s early October?”  If tomorrow suddenly found us in October, it would be refreshing.  We’d have a different version of the Minnesota Wild with a fresh set of expectations.  Of course the obvious expectation is to win, but that’s one for every team in every sport at every level.  However, it would be nice to win with conviction more times than luck.  Any truly honest Wild fan would agree that many of our wins during our improbable race to first in the league was due to luck.  Yes, they played beyond their expectations and abilities, but isn’t that just the definition of luck?  One of my favorite books growing up was Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.  One of the more memorable lines from that classic is “tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.”  That is simply the attitude I think we all need to adopt about next season.  Next season is our fresh tomorrow.

With all the injuries this season, the team has almost felt “new” every game.  On a nightly basis, we never really know who is going to be dresses for that night.  Players who were originally listed as “questionable” often find themselves in the game, and the emergency call up from Houston is sent back to Texas.  However, there have been enough nights where that emergency call up finds himself on the ice.  Considering how this season has gone the past two or so months, the “new” roster every night has been the only mildly interesting thing about the team.  Personally, I’ve enjoyed watching most of the call-ups play.  It’s somewhat reassuring that the team’s “tomorrow” is promising.  Hopefully the two upcoming “tomorrow’s” that are the draft and free agency provide as much entertainment and don’t end up being mistakes.

Tomorrow also holds a certain degree of uncertainty as well.  Uncertainty can be scary.  I would imagine that most people who read this remember the infamous Y2K scare.  There were people who were beyond worried what would happen when the calendar turned from December 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000.  People withdrew money from their banks (some were foolish and withdrew their entire savings).  They purchased emergency food and water supplies.  Some even built survival bunkers.  I was living in Hartford, Connecticut at the time, and the radio station I listened to, their morning show had all these ridiculous Y2K scenarios.  They always gave me a good laugh on my way to school.  Of course, we all woke up on New Year’s Day 2000 and discovered that we’re all still here and absolutely NOTHING happened.  Just this past fall, evangelical Christian Harold Camping predicted the end of the world.  That too did not happen.  He claims to have miscalculated the exact return of Jesus, and just a few months ago he claimed to have given up on the prediction business.  Of course, we all have heard about the crazy predictions based on the end of the Mayan calendar, which ends on December 21st, 2012.  Once again, we see the crazies stockpiling weapons, food, and water for this supposed doomsday.  I highly doubt that anything will happen based on the end of the Mayan calendar, however, I’ve been wrong before.  Who knows, maybe if we’re in first place again and the world does end, we can go out knowing the Wild are the best team in the league.  Heck, even Vancouver can’t say that.

Of course, I can’t bother to look that far in advance for my tomorrow.  In my world, tomorrow is tomorrow.  I like many of you, have a job.  After I have completed my shift for the day, we’re heading out of town for the Easter holiday.  And at 7:00pm (CDT), we’ll be turning the television at my mother’s house to Fox Sports North to watch the game.  Nice normal stuff for my tomorrow.  Now if only tomorrow wasn’t but one day before the full moon, tomorrow would be just about perfect.

Injury Report:

Minnesota:  Steven Kampfer (knee), Matt Cullen (finger), Mike Lundin (lower body),  Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion, groin),     Matt Kassian (groin), Jared Spurgeon (concussion)  

Chicago
Jonathan Toews (concussion), Dave Bolland (upper body), Steve Montador (concussion), Daniel Carcillo (knee surgery), Andrew Brunette (right foot, questionable), Sami Lepisto (left leg, questionable)

 
Jack Jablonski  Jenna Privette

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