Wednesday, April 8, 2009

HTP Interview Series Pt. 1: The Bandgeeks!

I am happy to present the first in a series of interviews with fellow Wild fans and bloggers as the 2008-09 season winds down for the Wild. This is the state of the Wild, from the residents of the State of Hockey. You've been reading KiPA, WRT and me all season, here's your chance to hear some fresh voices.

Up first are my friends the Bandgeeks (Mike and Carol.)

We sat down tonight for a good chat, and I didn't even have to scratch Mike's leg/toes!

Even though I know you're all going to be listening to the podcast (button to the right,) here's a breakdown of their thoughts:

What were your expectations for the team this season?
  • They were too inconsistent.
  • Coming into the season, Mike and Carol felt the team would at least be able to hold over some of the consistency that helped them win the Northwest Division last season.
Did the team meet, exceed or fall short of your expectation for the season?
  • Defensively and in goal the team met or exceeded expectations.
  • Offensively, the team fell short of expectations.
  • There just isn't a NHL-caliber "top line" and that really hampers the overall effort.
  • The experiment with making the defense more mobile/puck-moving was a success from the offensive perspective, but a failure from the defensive perspective, and at least on some nights, that created a net wash at best.
What are the team's strengths?
  • Goalie and defense, of course!
  • Johnsson may have needed the first year to get into the swing of the system, he's doing much better now.
  • Burns has had an off year, the time at forward being a big part of his issues.
  • Schultz is just steady but needed.
  • Zidlicky is good on offense, but scary on defense.
  • John Scott has been a solid addition, if only because he finally brings a physical presence to the defense corps - which may have worn off on Skoula, who is finally spending time with a guy that is demonstrating that kind of play, as Carol pointed out.
  • Harding deserves a chance to earn a starter's job somewhere. Though hopefully not in one of those "pressure-cooker" locations, according to Carol, who doesn't want to see a good, young goalie blown up before he gets a shot.
  • Mike made a great point about not necessarily wanting "just a cheap guy" as your back-up, pointing to the Islanders as an example of why.
What are the team's weaknesses?
  • Scoring!
  • Carol feels we have too many 2nd, 3rd, 4th line type guys, and not enough 1st line guys.
  • The Bandgeeks don't seem to think the team's lack of offense has as much to do with "Lemaire's System" as some people try to make it out to be.
Do you want Doug Risebrough to return as GM after this season?
  • Yes, but on a short leash.
  • "He's not quite McHale bad yet, but he's getting dangerously close to that level."
  • Whether or not Leipold decides to apply some pressure will be a key to watch.
  • Does the team take a couple years to sort of re-stock, too?
Do you want Jacques Lemaire to return as GM after this season?
  • Yes. Let him play out his contract.
  • The team's problems do not stem from Lemaire, who has done a great job of getting more out of the roster than may be there.
How are you feeling about the team heading into the off-season?
  • Disgruntled, but accepting of the reality of where they are.
  • Riser's chameleon routine is frustrating.

So there you have the recap from our little chat. Please take a listen to the full podcast (button to the right). And be sure to keep stopping by over the next couple weeks as I chat with other fans and bloggers about these same questions.


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