In my absence this week, WRT, has graciously agreed to provide us with some game thoughts.
Here's his entry for the Hawks game:
You never know which Minnesota Wild team will show up on any given evening. Such (or, suck, take your pick) was the case Tuesday night as the Wild dropped a 'should, woulda, coulda' type of game to the formerly-lowly Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 in front of the 309th straight sellout at the Xcel Energy Center.
It seemed as if the Wild were concentrating much more on form than function -- Pavol Demitra's late second period steal and subsequent 2-man breakaway the crowning dis-achievement of the evening after Chicago goaltender Patrick Lalime guessed corectly that Pav wouldn't shoot -- and that fact came back and bit 'em in the ass, big time.
Of course, the continuing power-play lack of 'power' didn't help much. The Wild went 0-fer-8 on the PP last night. Even worse, their continuing lack of face-off success continues to haunt this team, as James Sheppard, a rookie (!) was the only center to even register a 50% face-off win percentage.
As the game progressed, and the frustration mounted, the team actually did LESS to help themselves win. Mark Parrish, as example, only registered 8 minutes, 30 seconds of ice time last night. One really wonders what Parrish said to P.O. Jacques Lemaire and the staff. He was grounded, and when your main inside guy isn't out on the ice going inside, you're not going to get the garbage goals you better get in order to win.
On the Season: Minnesota vs. Chicago
Overall: 2-2 (each team 1-1 in each arena)
In St. Paul: 1-1 (Minnesota 3, Chicago 4)
In Chicago: 1-1 (Minnesota 5, Chicago 5)
Next Game: Wild: Thursday, March 6 at Carolina (RBC Center, Raleigh) 6:30 PM Central, FSN North, FSN South (Carolina announcers)
Blackhawks: Wednesday, March 4, vs. Anaheim (at United Center) 7:30 PM Central, FSN Prime Ticket.
OK, team, what do ya think?
CHICKEN LITTLE SAYS: Where's Rolston? 17:38 in ice time, -2, one shot, one shot blocked. And this guy is going to be your alternate captain until the end of the season? Give me the map...
POLLYANNA SAYS: At least Martin Skoula wasn't on the ice for any Blackhawk goals!
BOTTOM LINE: St. Paul Pioneer Press writer Brian Murphy once called the Blackhawks 'the Wild's chew toy'. After the last two Hawks-Wild games, it's safe to say that the chew toy is gone for good. A game the Wild needed to have (especially after Columbus' disappointing 1-0 loss at Calgary late last night) that they threw away!
STUD: Nick Schultz. Check this out: 17:44 TOI, 4 blocked shots, one assist. Worth every penny last night.
DUD: Mikko Koivu. 19:01 TOI, 1 shot, 2 giveaways ("Skoula had none, by contrast," adds Pollyanna) , 6-for-13 in faceoffs. Ug-Ly.