Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche 3/16/2013 @ 2:00PM CST at Pepsi Center

Minnesota Wild (14-10-2)  30pts  2nd in the Northwest

2.35 Goals For (26th)

2.42 Goals Against (7th)

15.8% Power Play (21st)

86.1% Penalty Kill (5th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 6G 16A = 22pts

2. #11 Zach Parise ~ 10G 11A = 21pts

3. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 1G 20A = 21pts

4. #7 Matt Cullen ~ 3G 14A = 17pts

5. #10 Devin Setoguchi ~ 7G 7A = 14pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 71 PIM's

2. #27 Mike Rupp ~ 36 PIM's

3. #4 Clayton Stoner ~ 20 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (12-7-2)  2.32GAA  .913%SP

2. #37 Josh Harding (1-1-0)  2.92GAA  .885%SP  1 SO

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Colorado Avalanche (10-12-4)  24pts  5th in the Northwest

2.46 Goals For (22nd)

2.96 Goals Against (23rd)

15.2% Power Play (25th)

79.6% Penalty Kill (19th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #15 P.A. Parenteau ~ 12G 15A = 27pts

2. #9 Matt Duchene ~ 11G 16A = 27pts

3. #26 Paul Stastny ~ 7G 10A = 17pts

4. #7 John Mitchell ~ 8G 5A = 13pts

5. #11 Jamie McGinn ~ 4G 9A = 13pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #55 Cody McLeod ~ 51 PIM's

2. #58 Patrick Bordeleau ~ 48 PIM's

3. #3 Ryan O'Byrne ~ 43 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #1 Semyon Varlamov (8-11-3)  2.83GAA  .911%SP  2 SO

2. #35 Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2-1-1)  2.70GAA  .918%SP

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Matt Cullen

 

For Minnesota Wild fans, we watch our games of Fox Sports North.  I have no idea if this happens to other fans, especially since in my home we chose not to purchase NHL Center Ice, but we find we are subjected to the same commercials game after game.  In some cases, we've seen the same commercials for at least two years.  The running joke among some fans this year is the commercial for Bud Light, that features musician, Pitbull.  We can guarantee to see that particular commercial at least 5-6 times during the course of the game.  Even better, is when his song "Don't Stop the Party" is played during a break in the action.  On top of pitbull, being that this is Minnesota, we also get commercials for ice drills and other ice fishing equipment.  However, my favorite series of commercials are put out by Gander Moutain.  The series is called the "Unprepared Man's Guide."  In this set of commercials, we see a middle aged office schmuck having to survive in the outdoors in a suit, dress shoes and whatever he has in his briefcase and can gather in the forest.  The "Unprepared Man" has shown us how to fish, hunting, camping, and general outdoor survival.  With the frenetic pace of this shortened, condensed season, there are days that I feel like the "Unprepared Man."  Take for example, today.  My alarm clock was set for 6:30am on a Saturday.  In order to get this article written for a 2pm start time, that I won't be able to watch, I am up typing.  My mind isn't feeling super alert and I'm simply not even awake enough to start a pot of coffee.  If I had been prepared, I would have programed the darn thing last night.  Instead, I'm floundering like the "Unprepared Man."

Hopefully the people who do not emulate the "Unprepared Man" are the guys in white jerseys this afternoon.  However, it is games just like these which could spell disaster.  First off, it's a random 2:00pm (1:00 Mountain time) start time.  Depending on when Minnesota got to Denver, it could somewhat mess up internal clocks.  Thankfully I know they didn't just get there, as several of the younger players attended last night's Colorado College vs Denver University game.  In particular, it was Jason Zucker (Denver University) and Nate Prosser (Colorado College) who went to watch their former teams in the WCHA Playoffs, and brought Jonas Brodin and Charlie Coyle along for the adventure.  Denver would win 5-3.  But even though we know the Wild have been in Denver with plenty of time to get acclimated to the environs, a 1pm start time can still throw off one's sense of preparedness.  Usually, the team would wake up, have a morning skate, get lunch, and take a nap before an evening game.  Much of that is out the window, as game time is during their nap time.  However, at least with the early start time, it means that the game will be over much sooner.  Whether the Wild return home or just continue on to Vancouver for Tuesday's game, I don't know.

You also have to wonder if the Wild are prepared physically and mentally for this game.  Beyond the early start time, there is the matter of Colorado once again this season playing a spolier role.  They're in last place in the Western Conference.  There is just enough talent and muscle on that roster to make life difficult for their opposition.  They've also managed to do what few teams in the Western Conference have been able to do, and that is beat the Chicago Blackhawks in regulation.  Not only did they beat the Blackhawks, they did so in convincing manner, in a 6-2 clobbering.  If they can do that to the Blackhawks, I just shudder at the thought of what they could do to Minnesota on a good night for them.  That's an important lesson for any team.  Even the worst opponent can make you pay for your mistakes.  Consindering how little the Wild score, it wouldn't take much for the Avalanche to take over.  And let's face it, the Colorado Avalanche (and just about every team in the league) is tougher and more physical than the Minnesota Wild.  It's been discussed before, but there cannot be a team out there that doesn't know that if you hit the Wild and beat them up physically, they won't push back.  If the Wild want to win, they need to push back both on the scoreboard and along the boards themselves, and play a smart, tough game.  I just don't if they're prepared enough to do so.

Personally, I hope the Wild don't take after Gander Moutain's "Unprepared Man."  Let's face it, he so unprepared, that it borders on foolhardy.  The man in those commercials is the last person who should be left in the forest to fend for himself.  I'm not an outdoorsy person myself, but I think even I could survive better than him.  Minnesota needs to come out mentally prepared for everything Colorado can and will throw at them.  They need to be prepared to shoot the puck and create scoring chances.  If I have to watch another static power play, I just may throw something at my television (well when I get to watch it on DVR).  The Wild simply need to be ready in all elements of their game.  If they need a better role model than the "Unprepared Man" they need look no further than the mountain goat from the movie Hoodwinked, who was prepared for anything, and I mean anything, that came his way.  Plus, he has a catchy song to go with that preparedness.  What more could you ask for?

 

 

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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