Off-season, we hardly knew ye. I can't tell you how happy I am that the summer is over and it's hockey season again. Mostly because, you know, it's hockey season again... but also because this was a frustrating summer for Wild fans. But that's all past now, and the Wild just ran the first part of their 82-game marathon that is the 2008-09 season. Successfully.
While it wasn't the prettiest thing on ice, the Wild did persevere and hold on for a win over the Bs last night at the X. To me, the story of the night was the newbs. Marc-Andre"Queen MAB" Bergeron had a goal with a laser of a shot, but looks like a court jester flopping around in the defensive zone. I know they're working with him on it, and we'll obviously take the offense, but man, you know there isn't a whole lot of room for defensive grab-ass on this team.
Owen Nolan, the Irish God of War, was a presence all night. Particularly in front of the net where previous Wild players with that role have been, shall we say, reticent to pay the price necessary to be effective there and still figure out a way to finish. He also showed some veteran snarl, which is the kind of balls-out leadership I have thought this team has lacked the last couple years.
Antti Miettinen - hereafter "Mittens" in this space - also acclimated himself nicely, and also with some offense. The knock on him in Dallas was that he had vast reserves of untapped talent. Sort of the Alaskan nature preseves, but hockey, not oil. Tell you what, kid, keep driving the net and Bruno will make sure you get some nice looks, dats fer sure, ya.
Colton Gillies has to feel like he just won the lottery, then walked into a casino, pulled a one-arm bandit and won a car and then had Selena Gomez pull him up on stage and kiss him in front of everyone. With tongue. To cap it all off, he notched an assist in his first NHL game.
B-b-b Benny Pouliot had a sweet defensive play, Erik Reitz didn't pull a Skoula, Bruno had a couple helpers...hell, even Skoula played well. And, lest I forget, our new coach earned a win in his first game, too. I mean, there's no way it was Jacques Lemaire behind the Wild bench considering the lines were the same all night.
So it was good times down at the barn again last night. If nothing else, it was nice to be able to focus on something other than Gaby's contract and Nordy for a couple hours.
Chicken Little says: Maybe it's too much to expect a team to play a full 60 in game 1, but how about 40?
Pollyanna says: Demo, Rolston, Carney, Hill, Nummy, Radio, Voros, Fridge and Simon - who?
Bottom line: No one got hurt, and every win counts. Lets hope they can get some good practice time in between now and Tuesday night.
Stud: Eric Belanger (Reggie, [you know, Mr. October?] per toivo - which is awesome) tallied twice to lead the team. Hopefully that 25 on his back represents the minimum number of goals he pots this year - and two in game 1 is a great start.
Dud: Gaby is still oh-fer against the Bs. Way to "earn" that contract, dude.