Game #9: Minnesota Wild vs. Florida Panthers 10/19/2013 @ 6:00PM CST at BB & T Center

Minnesota Wild (3-3-2)  8pts  5th in the Central

2.25 Goals For (23rd)

2.38 Goals Against (10th)

27.3% Power Play (4th)

71.9% Penalty Kill (27th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #24 Matt Cooke ~ 3G 3A = 6pts

2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 1G 5A = 6pts

3. #11 Zach Parise ~ 4G 1A = 5pts

4. #25 Jonas Brodin ~ 2G 3A = 5pts

5. #46 Jared Spurgeon ~ 1G 3A = 4pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 21 PIM's

2. #4 Clayton Stoner ~ 13 PIM's

3. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 8 PIM's

Top Goaltenders:

1. #37 Josh Harding (3-2-0)  1.15GAA  .946%SP

2. #32 Niklas Backstrom (0-0-2)  3.40GAA  .849%SP

3. #35 Darcy Kuemper (0-1-0)  5.46GAA  .571%SP

 

 

vs.

 

 

Florida Panthers (2-6-0)  4pts  7th in the Atlantic

2.25 Goals For (24th)

3.88 Goals Against (28th)

10.3% Power Play (25th)

80.8% Penalty Kill (18th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #14 Tomas Fleischmann ~ 1G 6A = 7pts

2. #24 Brad Boyes ~ 4G 2A = 6pts

3. #11 Jonathan Huberdeau ~ 3G 2A = 5pts

4. #16 Aleksander Barkov ~ 2G 3A = 5pts

5. #32 Kris Versteeg ~ 2G 2A = 4pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #44 Erik Gudbranson ~ 30 PIM's

2. #7 Dmitri Kulikov ~ 23 PIM's

3. #17 Jesse Winchester ~ 14 PIM's

Top Goaltenders:

1. #25 Jacob Markstrom (1-3-0)  3.60GAA  .882%SP

2. #34 Tim Thomas (1-3-0)  4.31GAA  .880%SP

3. #30 Scott Clemmensen (0-0-0)  5.45GAA  .750%SP

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Mikko Koivu

 

Ever been at an event such as a family reunion, and you make a clearly unpopular comment?  Your fellow family members either look at you like you've suddenly sprouted devil horns or some great-aunt decides to quickly change the topic.  Of course, once you leave the vicinity, you and your unpopular belief quickly become the main topic.  There's a reason why common sense tells us to never discuss politics or religion in company.  In the world of hockey fans, the rule should be "never say bad things about your team's captain."  Welcome to my world.

Let us now revisit Thursday night's game in Tampa Bay.  Who here remembers the Steven Stamkos goal?  Come on, raise your hands, and that includes all of you trying to hide in the back row.  I see you.  First, let's state the obvious.  Yes, Ryan Suter got caught horribly flat-footed.  There's no arguement there.  However, the point about Stamkos' goal, was about his amazing speed.  We do not currently have a player on the roster with those kinds of wheels, and that is a fact.  At best, we have moderate speed, and in today's NHL, that is a problem.  This team has worked on bringing in skill players like Suter, Zach Parise and Jason Pominville as well as developing talent in Mikko Koivu.  However, we have done little to address the topic of speed.  So when I made a comment on the message boards about Mikko Koivu in regards to the goal by Steven Stamkos, it had nothing to do with the goal itself and who was to blame.  It had everything to do about our lack of wheels by our skaters.

Now let's take a little trip on the way-back machine, to a time when the Minnesota Wild did have speed.  This was a time when all the Wild had was speed and a defensive game.  I'm talking about the good ol' days, where all we had were a bunch of no-name fringe players and a first round draft pick by the name of Marian Gaborik.  Remember those days?  Remember the third line of Antti Laaksonen, Wes Walz and which ever speedy right wing we had at the time?  Now think back, these were the days of the slower, clutch and grab, NHL.  Yet, that third line was able to keep up with the opposition's top line, create turnovers, and in the case of Laaksonen and Walz, each were able to consistently score 15-16 goals a season.  Can you imagine what they would have been able to do with the faster, less obstruction hockey of today?  Instead, we have a roster of more talented players, but with not nearly the speed or determination.

So that my friends, was what my unpopular comment about Koivu was saying.  Speed.  Speed kills, and we got a lesson in that very subject on Thursday night.  Sure, we can control the puck and win faceoffs.  But if you can't do anything with that, we as fans are forced to essentially watch nothing but hockey drills for sixty minutes.  That is not what we want, nor is that how you win games.  The front office needs to do something about the lack of speed, and if it requires us to ship "beloved" players off somewhere else, I'm all for it.    

Of course, I'm still adjusting to the conflict of memories with the present time.  Cheering for Matt Cooke is messing with my psyche.  What's next, we sign Todd Bertuzzi?  

 

Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette

About Derek Felska

I am a lifelong hockey fan from Minnesota who loves and appreciates the game at all levels. I have been blogging about the Minnesota Wild since 2005. I cover just about every aspect of the organization from the team itself, its coaches, its management, its broadcast as well as its AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild and the club's pool of prospects. In addition to the NHL I occasionally take the time to cover college and high school hockey as well. We are the State of Hockey and I want to make this blog informative and objective from the eyes of a fan. I am a fan of the Minnesota Wild, but I am no homer. I hope what you read reflects this approach!

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