Minnesota Wild (5-1-0) 10pts 2nd in the Central
3.33 Goals For Per Game (11th in the NHL)
3.00 Goals Against Per Game (19th in the NHL)
18.2% Power Play (21st in the NHL)
69.2% Penalty Kill (27th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #36 Mats Zuccarello ~ 3G 4A = 7pts
2. #97 Kirill Kaprizov ~ 0G 5A = 5pts
3. #14 Joel Eriksson Ek ~ 3G 1A = 4pts
4. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 2G 2A = 4pts
5. #24 Matthew Dumba ~ 1G 3A = 4pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 26 PIM’s
2. #24 Matthew Dumba ~ 8 PIM’s
3. #97 Kirill Kaprizov ~ 8 PIM’s
1. #33 Cam Talbot (5-0) 2.55GAA .906%SP
2. #34 Kaapo Kahkonen (0-1) 5.36GAA .828%SP
Seattle Kraken (2-4-1) 5pts 5th in the Pacific
2.57 Goals For Per Game (21st in the NHL)
3.43 Goals Against Per Game (26th in the NHL)
14.3% Power Play (24th in the NHL)
87.5% Penalty Kill (7th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #16 Jared McCann ~ 3G 4A = 7pts
2. #13 Brandon Tanev ~ 5G 0A = 5pts
3. #5 Mark Giordano ~ 1G 3A = 4pts
4. #21 Alex Wennberg ~ 1G 3A = 4pts
5. #72 Joonas Donskoi ~ 0G 4A = 4pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #14 Nathan Bastian ~ 27 PIM’s
2. #24 Jamie Oleksiak ~ 17 PIM’s
3. #9 Ryan Donato ~ 17 PIM’s
1. #31 Philipp Grubauer (2-3-1) 3.29GAA .883%SP
2. # Joey Daccord (0-1-0) 3.08GAA .906%SP
Well my friends, it looks like we’re already having to sing this tune. Yet the crazy part is, no one is injured. Bumps and bruises wise, the team is good. However, there is this thing called Covid-19, a thing which too many people, especially in the United States, either think is over or was just the flu or refused to believe even existed. As someone who got it, and still deals with some lingering issues (for me, the biggest killer was my voice and the headaches), I’m telling you, we’re not out of the woods yet. I’m fortunate, in that I was never hospitalized like many were and still are. Too many have yet to even get vaccinated. I know this may come off as political, but it’s a hill I’m willing to die on. Get your damn shot(s), or this will never get under control.
According to Michael Russo on his podcast with Anthony LaPanta, the Wild have sent home assistant coaches DarbyHendrickson and Frederic Chabot as well as video coach J.T. Jindra. Now with three members of the coaching staff out of action and back home, one would expect that we will soon see players sent home and quarantined as well. That quarantine, means an automatic 10-game quarantine. Read that again. It’s not a normal 10-day quarantine like you and I go through if we’ve been in close contact with someone who has it. No, this is 10 games. If you think the penalty kill is bad now, imagine if any of the semi-decent penalty killers are out for 10 games. We have no player names yet, and according to Russo, he won’t be saying any names until the team itself releases a statement. He knows something is up, because the team was on the practice ice in Seattle, when suddenly practice was cancelled and a “team rest day” was declared. Honestly though, I’m still shaking my head a bit looking at full arenas. We’re still not out of the woods folks. And let’s remember, this is also the same professional sports league that had a mumps outbreak. Mumps, a disease that most of us don’t even think about, because if you’re of a certain age bracket, we all had our MMR vaccine as was expected and required.
There’s another elephant in the room to talk about. All of you fanboys out there even have to admit that Kirill Kaprizov has looked like absolute garbage this season. Yes, I realize that opposing teams are dedicating time to prevent Kaprizov from having much time and space on the ice, but at some point, he needs to make something happen. If he truly is the Wunderkind he and everyone believes him to be, he needs to start looking like it. Especially with how much he is getting paid. Something needs to change, and he needs to make it happen. He looks disengaged and disinterested on the ice, which is never a good combination. And then to make things worse, his skating looks less explosive as well. However, if we end up seeing his name on the Covid protocol list, it could possible explain some things. I know for a fact, “brain fog” is a real thing.
Now I think we need something positive to talk about. Now while head coach Dean Evason doesn’t like to use the terms first-line, second-line, etc while at the same time using those terms to explain who is on the ice, we have to give some mad props to the Wild’s fourth line. And in particular on that line, let’s give a stirring round of applause to Nico Sturm and Brandon Duhaime. They’ve got that much needed combo of fast, gritty, and able to put opponents on their heels on the forecheck. And if that isn’t enough, they’re able to create scoring chances as well. In recent seasons though, it’s been the fourth line (and it doesn’t matter the roster at the time) that has been a bright spot for fans. It might be a bit of “oh they’re the fourth line so we don’t expect much but really love when they make things happen”.
Tonight is the Wild’s first meeting with the league’s latest expansion team. As an expansion franchise, their stats look more like an expansion team compared to Vegas’ inaugural numbers. Yet, their stats and roster are still leaps and bounds better than what Minnesota and the Columbus Blue Jackets had in their respective first seasons. Yet, there is an interesting Minnesota Wild connection to the Seattle Kraken. Here’s a name for the Wild faithful. Raise your hand if the name Tod Leiweke rings a bell. He was President back in the Minnesota Wild’s formative years. He is now part owner of the Kraken as well as president and CEO of the team. This connection may explain a certain item in the Kraken’s arena. Remember when the Minnesota Wild retired the #1 jersey for the fans? Well Seattle has done something similar. They’ve retired #32 in honor of the Kraken being the league’s 32nd team. Stupidly cheesy if you ask me, and it makes me wonder if Leiweke played some part in that decision. Hard to say, but it’s too similar for it to simply be coincidental.
So here we go. Another late game. Who knows what tonight’s roster will be like. At this point, I think this is going to be another crazy, Covid-ridden season. Buckle up folks, I think we’re in for another bumpy ride.
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