Friday, April 18, 2008

Wild vs. Avs, Game 5: 'Poppin' Fresh Night'

And the really sad part of this is, that Jacques Lemaire actually thought they played good!

With two very ill-advised turnovers in the third period, the Colorado Avalanche moved to within one game of advancing in the NHL Western Conference playoffs by defeating the Minnesota Wild 3-2 Thursday night before 19,364 loud Wild fans at Xcel Energy Center. Colorado now leads the series 3 games to 2.

The Wild will face elimination on Saturday evening at Pepsi Center, Denver (8 PM MDT: Versus, CBC, Altitude, FSN North) and from what I saw tonight, there's little reason to expect otherwise.

The 'Marian Gaborik watch' continues, as he has not scored a single point in this series. The Wild captain is so gripped by this drought, he has, IMO, stopped effectively skating altogether. Despite scoring a goal in game 2, Pavol Demitra has virtually done nothing else. Eric Belanger? Qui? The Wild offense is being carried by Brian Rolston and Mikko Koivu, and precious little else.

The defense is operating short-handed, with 2 good defensemen (Johnsson, Burns), 2 bad defensemen (Hill, Nummelin) and two defensemen who leave a lot to be desired (Carney, Skoula). Yes, I know Skoula is having the series of his Wild lifetime, but with two top-6 defensemen out (Foster, Schultz) you can't keep up with Forsberg, Sakic & Co. for long.

It is sad to think that a Wild season which started out in September with so much promise could possibly end in this crash-and-burn style. One would surmise that this Wild team needs an overhaul; get rid of the prima donnas that this team has been hiding from public view most of the season and build on the solid foundation that you have already in place. Continue the development of young guns like Pouliot and Sheppard. Let Foster heal; he's earned a spot as a 5th-6th defenseman. Get rid of the dead wood and sign hungry, young talent that will respond better to Jacques' coaching. Make decisions on Rolston, Demitra (you can't have both). Dump Skoula and, if anyone will have him, Johnsson (his contract may be hard to take.) Make a decision on who will be No. 1 in goal long-term -- Backstrom or Harding -- and stick with it. But most of all, get rid of the 'country club' atmosphere which permeates the locker room. You want men's salaries; play like it, every game, no matter what. No nights off.

Beacuse that's what good teams do.



Jibblescribbits said...

Your Wild DID play good. They outplayed my Avs all game. The difference was our Goalie, José Theodore. Frankly he stole that game from the Wild.

(BTW nice blog here, I have had nothing but compliments for the Wild bloggers and that includes you as well. Good job)

WRT - Wild Road Tripper said...

I'll giver Theodore credit for having a very good game in game 5. Not spectacular, but very, very good. A lot of the Wild shots on goal were from outside the face-off circles away from the slot. You should be able to stop those all night, especially when you have defensemen on either side of you to clear the area.

The reason the Wild are facing elimination is clearly Marian Gaborik. If he even begins to play like he had down the stretch the Wild win Game 5. Gaborik is so choked up right now he is nearly beside himself. (He won't admit it, but...)

When 3 of your top 6 forwards (Gaborik, Demitra, Belanger) can only account for a grand total of one goal and one assist, you have real problems. I really don;t expect a Game 7 Monday night, but I can now only hope for the near-mracle to occur.

jibblescribbits: Thanks for the prop!

Anonymous said...

Is this the "near-miracle" you were referring to?