Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks 3/18/2013 @ 9:00PM CST at Rogers Arena

Minnesota Wild (15-10-2)  32pts  1st in the Northwest

2.48 Goals For (22nd)

2.48 Goals Against (8th)

16.5% Power Play (20th)

86.4% Penalty Kill (5th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 2G 21A = 23pts

2. #11 Zach Parise ~ 11G 11A = 22pts

3. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 6G 16A = 22pts

4. #7 Matt Cullen ~ 3G 15A = 18pts

5. #10 Devin Setoguchi ~ 9G 8A = 17pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 71 PIM's

2. #27 Mike Rupp ~ 41 PIM's

3. #44 Justin Falk ~ 22 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (13-7-2)  2.40GAA  .911%SP

2. #31 Josh Harding (1-1-0)  2.92GAA  .885%SP  1 SO

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Vancouver Canucks (13-8-6)  32pts  2nd in the Northwest

2.74 Goals For (14th)

2.67 Goals Against (14th)

13.6% Power Play (27th)

81% Penalty Kill (15th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #33 Henrik Sedin ~ 7G 19A = 26pts

2. #22 Daniel Sedin ~ 8G 16A = 24pts

3. #14 Alexandre Burrows ~ 7G 9A = 16pts

4. #36 Jannik Hansen ~ 7G 9A = 16pts

5. #23 Alexander Edler ~ 5G 11A = 16pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #32 Dale Weise ~ 41 PIM's

2. #14 Alexandre Burrows ~ 32 PIM's

3. #3 Kevin Bieksa ~ 28 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #1 Roberto Luongo (7-3-3)  2.42GAA  .905%SP  2 SO

2. #35 Cory Schneider (6-5-3)  2.63GAA  .910%SP  1 SO

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Vancouver Millionaires

 

When the epic news hit the hockey newswire on July 4, 2012 that both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter made the mind-boggling decision to sign with Minnesota, fans started salivating at the thought that this would change the Wild's fortunes for the better.  Yes, I was excited, however I had to continually remind myself to be cautious in that excitement.  Yes, they are both fantastic players.  Yes, every team in the league wanted to sign at least one of them.  But when it comes to the Minnesota Wild, to think they would change things overnight is simply crazy.  Let's face it, Parise and Suter weren't going to be surrounding themselves with star players.  They were going to join a team of okay vets with some potentially fantastic propects waiting in the wings.  There were going to be growing pains.  And there were definitely growing pains.  It didn't help matters either, that the season didn't start until January.  What we've seen and endured for the first month and a half or so of the season, was essentially the training camp and pre-season that the team didn't get.  However, it seems that things are improving not just for the team, but for the individuals as well.

We live in a world where one's salary has become synonymous with one's effectiveness.  Unfortunately, this is the wrong way to think.  We all know people who are hard workers, extremely motivated, and are making minimum wage.  Many of us have bosses, who make significantly more than we do and yet they could be the worst boss/manager ever and we're the ones that make him/her look good.  Or we look at famous works of art by the likes of Pablo Picasso or Jackson Pollack and think "I could draw weird looking people or put splashes of paint on a canvas worth millions of dollars."  This kind of grumbling about money was directed at Ryan Suter early on this season.  Somehow fans were equating his salary with goals.  People were wondering why he wasn't scoring more.  I think fans have finally realized that Suter is not on this roster (or any roster) to be an offensive defenseman.  Even better, fans are really starting to see why Suter was so highly sought after by all thirty teams.  I know for myself personally, it's nice to finally have a defenseman who can not only keep the puck in the zone as well as he does, but also to break the puck out.  Even better, is the fact that he's been paired with rookie defenseman, Jonas Brodin.  I don't know about you, but you couldn't ask for a better mentor for Brodin than Suter.

Saturday's game was a boon for players that needed a little push in the right direction.  Lately, fans have been disappointed in the play of Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Brodziak.  People were comparing their play to what we saw from both of them last season, and wondering where it went.  In regards to Brodziak, many fans were making the argument that he got a pay raise in his new contract, so he didn't really care how he played.  And as far as Clutterbuck goes, some said he wasn't playing his usual physical game nor was he getting the goals that he got last season.  Well I don't know about you, but I saw the Clutterbuck and Brodziak of last season in Saturday's game against the Avalanche.  Sure, one game does not a season make, but it was certainly a step in the right direction.  Then, when you add their improved play with the goal from recently scratched Pierre-Marc Bouchard, you just have to start wondering if the MInnesota Wild are ready to make a serious push for post-season play. 

In order to make a new start, something has to end.  As we're seeing the Wild create a new look and feeling about them, we need to say goodbye as well.  That farewell is this.  Tonight is the last night that the Wild play in Vancouver as divisional opponents.  I am glad that next season we will have fewer of these 9:00pm start times.  While some fans will be sad to lose the rivalry, I'm looking forward to form a rivalry with a team that is closer to us as far as distance away.  Whether it is Chicago, St. Louis or Winnipeg, things will certainly be interesting starting next season.  And let's face it, change is often good, and with the change we've seen recently in the Minnesota Wild, I know I'm excited to see what comes next.

 

 

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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