Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gm # 17: Wild @ Flames (3/8)

Back in, oh, 2002, the Wild were a plucky young team, outmatched in essentially every skill department by virtually every team. So they relied on a tight-fisted defensive game to stay competitive game in and game out. At that point, it was said by the coaching/management staff that it was the best way to stay competitive. Many of us swallowed that whole.

Over the years since then, as the players have matured and the overall skill level theoretically increased, the coaching/management staff has pontificated that they no longer HAD to rely on the harsh, cult-like adherence to a strict defensive code to win games, and even loosened the reigns on our more offensively-gifted players. As well, the coaching staff in particular has been talking about how nice it is to be a three-line-deep team on offense.

Then the WonderGroin Twins (thanks to the residents of Russoville for that one) go down and we're exposed as a stunningly thin team up front, with virtually no speed, much less finishing skill.

Last night might as well have been "Throwback Night" in Calgary considering how the Wild played. It was a page right out of the 2002-2003 yearbook. The Flames outlasted the Wild in a 3-2 win, with four of the five goals scored in the third period. It was, in a word, boring.

The Wild had zero jump whatsoever - against a team coming in at a low point in confidence amidst a five-game losing streak. The slightest bit of a killer instinct and the Wild could have taken control of this game early. Sadly, the only thing the Wild killed was it's fans' buzzes.

I understand we don't have our entire top line, #1 PP unit and #1 PK unit. That's a major bummer. But are we now forced to realize that we simply don't have the depth to overcome that? We do not have enough guys to restock those units? If we don't, we don't. But then the coaches and management waxing noxious about how deep we are rings pretty hollow.

I don't need sunshine blown up my butt to make me feel good about the team. I need effort, if not wins.

Now we have a tough back-to-back in Edmonton and then Vancouver starting Thursday night. We could very easily come out of this four-game road trip with zero points, and sitting somewhere in the middle of the NW division. If salvation is on the trainer's table getting his groin iced (or sitting in a hot tub back in St. Paul, sipping energy shakes and watching the games on TV) then we're in serious trouble.

If salvation is in the locker room, we'd better see it and soon.

CHICKEN LITTLE SAYS: How you can't get up for a division game is beyond me. Pathetic effort by a team with no margin for error, apparently.

POLLYANNA SAYS: Voros played well again!

BOTTOM LINE: In the words of Dudley Moore's "Emory Leeson" in the movie "Crazy People": "First a mental institution, now rain?"

STUD: Koivu is a stud. He was the best player on the ice for us all night. That "A" looks really, really good on him.

DUD: I can only choose one? Ohhh...Skoula almost scored on Backstrom and generally didn't help the cause. It's always fun to put Skoula in this space, so why not?



Kirsten said...

I just got Koivu on my fantasy team. Such a good pickup. He's turning into a great all around player. He's clearly gunning for season MVP. I feel like a C is in his future, and hopefully he's in this team's future.

Nick in New York said...

He got the extension last summer when PMB only got a year. I think they realize that Mikko's the real deal - at least I hope they do!

Kirsten said...

Good point. I expect they will make an effort to sign Bouchard to a longer term contract this summer.
Blaming Skoula is always a good call. Who does he think he is? Bryan McCabe?