Just a few thoughts before long-overdue bedtime about Game 1 of the Wild-Avalanche series:
1. If they can get any more intense, I really don't see how. Up-and-down hockey all night long. It looks like a war of attrition, and with Minnesota's Mark Parrish now day-to-day with a head injury suffered in the second period of tonight's game, that's 3 Wild players (Foster and Schultz the other two) who need replacement. Would it hurt to put Aaron Voros in there for Game 2?
2. How good did Boogaard look as an actual hockey forward tonight. He even spent some time on the power play. You try to move 6'7", 270 Lbs. sometime from in front of your net. Good luck to you.
3. This team misses Nick Schultz. Period.
4. Wes Walz did the 'Let's Play Hockey' chant tonight before the opening face-off. I hope he went downstairs and chewed out the boys after that horrid second period. A few more stretches like that and I won't have to worry about my remaining playoff ticket payments due after this round of games is over.
5. Both Brent Burns and Kim Johnsson played over 30 minutes each tonight -- each of them played more than Keith Carney and Sean Hill combined. That cannot be allowed to continue. In order for the Wild to be successful, we need three sets of 'D', old or otherwise.
6. Niklas Backstrom was stellar tonight in the nets, when he really needed to be. Too bad Skoula wasn't as aware of what was behind him (namely, Joe Sakic) on that last goal.
7. Let's talk about Skoula. He was as good as I have ever seen him until the start of the overtime. By that time, he had racked up about 25 minutes TOI. In the OT, he started to revert to 'Bad Marty' that we've all come to expect. No major losses of focus, just lapses of concentration. Martin cannot be expected to double-shift in an OT period, no matter what the situation. The Wild have, unfortunately, used two of their allotted 4 call-ups from Houston already (in case you didn't hear, Steve Kelly was sent back down earlier Wednesday.) Doug Risebrough, realizing that the Aeros are in a playoff race of their own, is hesitant to call anyone else up (not that he HAS anyone ready for the NHL level down there now) unless there is a dire (read: Goalie) need.
So that brings us back to Martin Skoula. I know we are all supposed to forgive him for previous brain cramps, but how in the hell can you do that when his play quality diminshes?
Oh, and for the record: The 'Team of 18,000' was actually the 'Team of 19,391' tonight. The place was packed, boisterous, and LOUD. Let's hope the fans bring it for Game 2 on Friday night.
Let's hope the Wild do as well. G'night, folks...