Minnesota Wild (11-8-2) 24pts 2nd in the Northwest
2.24 Goals For (26th)
2.38 Goals Against (7th)
14.5% Power Play (23rd)
86.2% Penalty Kill (5th)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 4G 13A = 17pts
2. #11 Zach Parise ~ 8G 7A = 15pts
3. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 0G 14A = 14pts
4. #15 Dany Heatley ~ 8G 4A = 12pts
5. #7 Matt Cullen ~ 3G 9A = 12pts
Top 3 PIM's:
1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 59 PIM's
2. #27 Mike Rupp ~ 27 PIM's
3. #4 Clayton Stoner ~ 16 PIM's
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (9-5-2) 2.21GAA .917%SP
2. #35 Darcy Kuemper (1-2-0) 2.37GAA .922%SP
3. #37 Josh Harding (1-1-0) 2.92GAA .885%SP 1SO
Chicago Blackhawks (19-0-3) 41pts 1st in the Central
3.04 Goals For (4th)
1.73 Goals Against (1st)
17.9% Power Play (13th)
89.7% Penalty Kill (3rd)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #88 Patrick Kane ~ 11G 15A = 26pts
2. #19 Jonathan Toews ~ 9G 9A = 18pts
3. #81 Marian Hossa ~ 9G 8A = 17pts
4. #10 Patrick Sharp ~ 5G 12A = 17pts
5. #2 Duncan Keith ~ 1G 12A = 13pts
Top 3 PIM's:
1. #52 Brandon Bollig ~ 40 PIM's
2. #2 Duncan Keith ~ 27 PIM's
3. #19 Jonathan Toews ~ 19 PIM's
1. #50 Corey Crawford (10-0-3) 1.41GAA .945%SP 2SO
2. #30 Ray Emery (9-0-0) 2.02GAA .926%SP
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Happy Snow Day! Not a big shock. It's March, and here in the Upper Midwest, Mother Nature has decided that she's still making up for last year's almost lack of winter. Depending on where you live, you can expect about 5-12+ inches of snow. Where I live in Wisconsin, our school district (and pretty much every school district) is off for the day. As a kid, I lived for the highly coveted snow day. You get to stay home, sleep in, eat what you want to eat for lunch, and watch TV. The days of elementary school, meant you spent at least part of that time outside playing in the snow. The best part, is when the snow plows would finally go by, and dump huge piles along the street. Those piles of snow became the foundation for the best snow forts, meaning you could stand up in them. However, as adults this weather makes our lives difficult. Very few employers grant snow days to their employees. You either plan for extra time to get to work, or burn a precious vacation day if you can't make it in. I am beyond fortunate, in that I work from home so I don't have to deal with winter driving to get to work. I am also fortunate in that today is one of my days off this week.
Winter weather also can make things difficult for hockey teams. For example, on Sunday the Vancouver Canucks were playing in Calgary. With the condensed schedule this year, teams have had to consider whether to go home between games, to continue on to the next city, and what day they leave. The Canucks decided to not leave for Calgary until the day of the game. That's all well and good, however a snowstorm delayed their departure. For their 7:00pm game in Calgary, the Canucks did not land until 3:30pm. The Canucks lost that game 4-2. Now Vancouver's front office, coaches, players, media and fans have to sit and wonder if the team had left the day before and had a morning skate, would the outcome have been different.
Thankfully, for those of us in the Upper Midwest, we knew that today's snowstorm was coming. With the storm stretching from the Dakotas to West Virginia, and heaviest around the Mississippi River (at least for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois), the Minnesota Wild would not make Vancouver's mistake. Mind you, it takes a lot to shut down Chicago's O'Hare Airport, but it has happened in the past. Sure, the snow will make travel within the Chicago metropolitan area, but like those of us who have commutes to work, the buses that will transport the Wild between their hotel and United Center and later back to the airport will just have to allow for extra time to get everyone where they need to be. Of course, as the snow continues to fall, it will be interesting to see if and how it will effect attendance.
Bad winter weather has created some historic games. For example, on January 22, 1987, the New Jersey Devils were scheduled to host the Calgary Flames. According to records, they had 11,247 tickets sold for the night. Instead of that, a mere 334 fans showed up. Somehow those 334 diehard fans were able to get through two feet of snow. And stranger even, was another game that featured the New Jersey Devils, this time playing in Hartford, Connecticut. On January 15, 1983, a classic New England snowstorm buried the Hartford area. This storm made referee Ron Fournier and linesman Dan Marouelli late to the game. At game time, only linesman Ron Foyt had made it in. At the time, the Rule was 35(K) and is now 31.11. The rule states that if for any reason officials are either unable to make it in or are injured and the reserve official is unable to play and no local substitutes can be acquired, the remaining official(s) will work with the two clubs playing and nominate players to act as officials, usually as linesman. Foyt was now the referee (these were the days of only one referee) and from Hartford, Mickey Volcan and from New Jersey, Garry Howatt were made linesman. Both Volcan and Howatt were suffering minor injuries, and skated out in sweats. For one period, these two NHL players did nothing but call offsides and icings. By the time the second period was ready to begin, Fournier and Marouelli were ready to take their places on the ice. In this game however, the Devils did not come out victorious.
I'm just glad that I have no where to go today (I went to the supermarket yesterday). I get to relax, and get ready for tonight's game. For those of you who have to go out in this weather, please take care. Like hockey players are often told, keep your head on a swivel. While you may not be slipping and sliding, it doesn't mean that someone isn't out there making stupid driving decisions. And when you do get home from work or school, get in some comfy clothes, have a tasty dinner, and then kick back and relax.