Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gm # 30: Wild 2, Flames 3 (OT)

He's back, ladies and gentlemen!

Tan, rested and ready, ersatz Wild speedster and aspiring sniper/multi-millionaire Marian Gaborik was finally able to shake off the devastating hacky sack injury that sidelined him for 27 of the team's first 29 games. Yes, he took some boos from the faithful early, but he persevered and ended up with a 1-1-2 effort - including the GTG that garnered the Wild their first point in the standings since the words "President-Elect" were allowed to precede Barak Obama's name.

Okay maybe that's a bit of hyperbole. But the bottom line is that Gaborik played, worked through some understandable rust, offered a solid demostration of pretty much his entire skillset.....and now hopefully is that much closer to being traded.

My cheek notwithstanding, it should be noted that Gaborik provided instant offense to a team that has been more like bad instant coffee of late in the offensive zone. While it would be tempting to reverse course and start pining for him to sign a new contract to stay here, I still don't think that's what he wants.

The rest of the team, however, is still discombobulated. There was some predictable misfires on breakouts as guys were looking for Gaby - who settled right into the Bure Office near the center red line - and that's okay. But breakouts were bad all night long, there were precious few clean breaks through the NZ, and crossing into the offensive zone seemed to be the impossible dream. Give credit to the Flames who played a good, solid, patient road game. But we've seen these trends from the Wild for several games now.

Getting the game to OT was a step in the right direction - a step made possible by the return of the Wild's most talented offensive threat. Getting a point is also a step in the right direction. But it appears the journey (to recovery) is far from over.

Chicken Little says: Good teams don't have to rely on one player to win games.

Pollyanna says: One point is better than the alternative.

Bottom Line: Better. Not good. But better.

Stud: Tempting to go with Mikko here, but I suppose I have to give it to Gaborik - for the GTG if nothing else.

Dud: As a defenseman, if you're not going to provide offense you better play solid defense. Last year that would have been directed at Skoula. This year it's being directed at Queen MAB and Zidlicky.


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