Minnesota Wild (24-18-3) 51pts 2nd in the Northwest
2.40 Goals For (19th)
2.60 Goals Against (15th)
17.9% Power Play (16th)
80.2% Penalty Kill (21st)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 17G 19A = 36pts
2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 10G 25A = 35pts
3. #29 Jason Pominville ~ 14G 20A = 34pts
4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 4G 28A = 32pts
5. #7 Matt Cullen ~ 7G 19A = 26pts
Top 3 PIM's:
1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 100 PIM's
2. #27 Mike Rupp ~ 67 PIM's
3. #4 Clayton Stoner ~ 42 PIM's
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (22-14-3) 2.50GAA .908%SP 2 SO
2. #35 Darcy Kuemper (1-2-0) 2.08GAA .916%SP
3. #37 Josh Harding (1-1-0) 2.92GAA .885%SP 1 SO
Los Angeles Kings (26-14-5) 57pts 2nd in the Pacific
2.80 Goals For (8th)
2.38 Goals Against (9th)
20.5% Power Play (10th)
83.3% Penalty Kill (9th)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #11 Anze Kopitar ~ 10G 31A = 41pts
2. #77 Jeff Carter ~ 25G 7A = 32pts
3. #10 Mike Richards ~ 12G 20A = 32pts
4. #14 Justin Williams ~ 10G 21A = 31pts
5. #23 Dustin Brown ~ 18G 11A = 29pts
Top 3 PIM's:
1. #5 Keaton Ellerby ~ 52 PIM's
2. #13 Kyle Clifford ~ 51 PIM's
3. #71 Jordan Nolan ~ 44 PIM's
1. #32 Jonathan Quick (17-12-4) 2.44GAA .901%SP 1 SO
2. #45 Jonathan Bernier (9-2-1) 1.86GAA .922%SP 1 SO
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Three games. That is all the remains of this year's regular season. In a normal season, I would say something like it just feels like yesterday that the season started. Well it might as well have been just yesterday since January was just four months ago. Yes, I still have a little bitterness from the fact that the league and the players' association wasted everyone's time with their bickering. They could have spared everyone the craziness of this compressed season. But we can't change the past. We can only change the present, which in the long run changes the future. Hopefully, we can avoid another work stoppage, as three in twenty years is enough. With the three games left, I honestly don't know if I should be cheering and yelling my head off or if I should just be glad that this season is over. It seems I'm not alone either.
Yesterday, Jim Souhan of the MInneapolis Star Tribune wrote an article about the silence in the Xcel Energy Center. There are parts of it that I agree with, but I feel that Souhan left a lot out. Yes, it would be nice for our barn to be louder, but I don't need it to be louder with pointless noise. Souhan blames the fans for the quiet atmosphere. Well let's look at the past two seasons Jim. The past two seasons the playoffs had been in reach, and they should have made it. However, for two seasons in a row, the Minnesota Wild have choked at the worst possible time. Yes, injuries racked up, last year especially, but they still missed the post-season just barely. Last season was probably the worst, as Minnesota became the first NHL team in the "modern era" to miss the playoffs after being the top team in the league in December. And it's not like we were the best team for a single game, but there was a good stretch of a week or so where they were number one or two (depending on the schedule). Yet, they frittered it away. When you have two seasons in a row where you watch the playoffs slip through your fingers before your very eyes, you're going to be a bit hesitant to build your hopes up. Sadly, this season feels like a repeat of the past two seasons, and that's nothing to cheer about.
Then there's the fact that Minnesota has lost the past five games at home. When there are fewer home games in a shortened season, you need to make the most of those home games. How are fans supposed to feel when you win on the road when you can't see them live, but you choke at home, in front of a friendly crowd. A friendly crowd who paid a lot of money to watch you play? If the coaches and players want to hear some noise in their barn, they need to do their part as well. Now, the Wild did a lot of things right Sunday evening. However they didn't do the one thing that really mattered, and that is win. To win, you must score more goals than the other team. To score goals, you must get shots on goal. Instead of shooting and scoring, we get to see a lot of skating and passing. Those are not exciting things. Goals are exciting. Wins are exciting. That is how you can get the fans into the game.
As I said earlier, a little bit more excitement within Xcel Energy Center would be nice. However, I'm afraid Souhan wants pointless noise. I'd like to invite Souhan to take in a Milwaukee Admirals game next season (preferably when the Iowa Wild are in town). I have never seen so much pointless and ridiculous cheering in my life. The Admirals could get four goals scored on them before they score their first goal. And when they do score that first goal, they then do the stupidet sieve chant. I'm sure a lot of the behavior in the Bradley Center was learned from the University of Wisconsin student section. And then if Jim wants to see the NHL version of ridiculous, he simply needs to look at Milwaukee's parent club. Where do you think Nashville fans learned to do what they do? And to the fools in Xcel Energy Center who start the damn wave. You should be forbidden from attending another hockey game in your sad, pathetic life. The wave has no place in hockey. If you stand up in front of me while I'm trying to watch a game, I'm going to be tempted to hit you. Hockey is not like baseball or football in that if you stand up to do the wave you won't miss much. Hockey moves too fast to interrupt my viewing angle. So please, keep your butt in your seat.
So in honor of Souhan and his complaints of silence, I give you Simon & Garfunkle.