Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Monday, October 28, 2013
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Well, watching Dany Heatley is mostly ridiculous. It's also a bit voyeuristic watching him not do anything.
I don't want to tell Dany what to do, but part of me wishes he would take some time off to see the game from above. As Michael Russo has reported, Matt Cooke learned to see the game differently and change his game. As Wild fans, we saw how Andrew Brunette could be effective and skate slower than a sloth in a hockey helmet. As reported, Dany came to camp this season in great shape, ready to be a lean, mean, scoring machine.
The machine is broken.
For Cooke, the impetus was another suspension, with 10 games off, he spent his time watching video. Dany clearly needs a wake-up call. He's in the midst of the worst drought in his career, and isn't doing anything substantial on the ice.
I would say "Waive him and send him to Houston" (Yes, I said Houston. Yes, I know the Wild's AHL affiliate is in Iowa.) but it appears he has an NMC in his contract (per Capgeek), so that appears to be a no-go. Still, maybe some time in the press box, or a video marathon with Brunette might give him some tips or tools that would get his game going. If anyone knows how to score goals with the same handicap (such as it is) that Heatley has, it's Brunette - he scored 25 goals as a 36 year old.
There's got to be a lesson there. Is Bruno Crash to Heater's Nuke?
Does Heatley want to learn? What's his wake up call? Is he going to have a Cooke moment when he realizes he needs to do something different? He seems to have had a moment this summer (or before?) and made an effort to get his body in a better place. Now he's got to get his head in the right place before he can get the real benefits out of the situation.
Now, I don't want to say that Heatley is responsible for the Wild's scoring woes. But for a dude making $5 mil a year and a 7.5 mil cap hit, he's got to score more than Mike Smith.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Wild fans are freaked out by the team's start and particularly with the way the recently-completed road trip went. As, is fans wont in such aggravated situations, the hue and cry for change - at every level of the organization - is reaching a fevered pitch.
Heck, my own blog posts have mirrored this - and the boys have certainly been frustrating to watch - even though they're playing better for more of the time than they ever have.
I'm not sold on the fancy maths. At least not yet. I think the good old fashioned maths suffice just fine. And here's what those old fashioned maths tell me about the Wild under Mike Yeo: they tend to start slow.
In Yeo's inaugural season, 2011-2012, through nine games the Wild's record was 3-3-3, and they had scored 20 goals. However, two of those goals were for winning shootouts. So, call it a soft 20, net 18.
Last season, they started out 4-4-1, netting a total of 21 goals, with only one coming from a shootout win, so soft 21, net 20.
This year, of course, we're 3-3-3, having amassed a hard 19 goals (no shootout wins).
How about defensively? Goals allowed through 9 games:
2011-2012: 23, net 22
2012-2013: 24, net 24
2013-2014: 22, net 20
So you see, the point of this little exercise is to show us (myself included) that this start - this vexing start - is just how Mike Yeo teams start, it would appear. Except that they ARE more fun to watch; ARE controlling play more comprehensively, and for longer, than ever before.
There is no mean to which to revert. This is it. May your blood pressure drop 15 points.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Friday, October 18, 2013
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Monday, October 14, 2013
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Parise and Granlund are tied for the most points on the team - Parise has 3 goals, Granlund 3 assists.
Koivu (0-2-2), Niederreiter (0-2-2), Suter (0-2-2) and Brodin (1-1-2) are tied with two each.
Harding has a .950 save percentage in his only appearance. But for taking a penalty shot cold, he'd be perfect.
Konopka has an impressive streak of fighting majors, and owns 37% of all PIMs of Wild players (17/46).
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
- Ya know, the challenge Wild players faced while playing in awe amidst the Wild-fan-anointed savior that is Jason Zucker.
- Ya know, the challenge of refereeing that lead to a weak 5-on-3 and a penalty shot which somehow resulted from a Predator running and injuring Backstrom.
- Ya know, the challenge of an ice cold goalie coming in for that BS PS, and, upon giving up the goal, the subsequent Predator fans announcing to said cold goalie (who is overcoming all odds while playing the highest level of hockey in the world with M.-MFn-S.) "YOU SUCK."
- Ya know, all that.
The 6:40 20 minutes pre game. Not drunk yet.
6:41 Why do I have to see LaPanta right now?
6:45 God, now I'm looking Gorg.
6:50 10 minutes to go. Beer #1 Summit Summer Ale. (Shut your face, Mason, it was free beer)
7:10 I wish I could hear all the game action without having to hear Lapanta.
7:20 Konopka fighting? I'm shocked.
7:25 A Wild player draws a high sticking call? I am shocked.
7:22 Nashville fans are going to blow out an O-ring if they keep booing like that.
7:25 Weak call on Koivu
7:27 2-1 Predators. I'm glad I've got lots of beer on ice tonight.
7:28 Beer #2: Leinies Orange Shandy. Not a great beer, but, free beer.
7:30 An obnoxious arena announcer is the hallmark of an organization that doesn't respect its own fans.
7:35 I have to say, if Bax allows another goal, I say go with Harding.
7:38 Well fuck me, that doesn't look good.
7:41 So I guess when you run a goalie you get a penalty shot now.
7:50 Two beers down. I need to pace myself.
7:55 Great control on the late shift by the Koivu - Parise - Pominville line.
8:00 I'm glad I put SwiftKey keyboard on this tablet. It knows how to spell "Laviolette" even if I'm too drunk to do it.
8:05 This live drunk blog is not sponsored by SwiftKey keyboard.
8:15 Beer #3 More free beer.
8:20 I swear I just heard the beginnings of a boo from Preds fans when Brodziak touched the puck, obviously confused over which Wild player had it. 21 is not 20.
8:22 Nino to Spurgeon. Two Isles castoffs connect for that one.
8:27 I never really saw Weber as an overly intelligent player.
8:35 Beer #4 Leinies Hoppin Helles
8:42 There's the pack of wolves mentality for you.
8:43 It takes a special kind of asshole to run both of the other team's goalies.
8:46 Fine. It takes a special kind of group of assholes..
8:55 Is it redundant to call Lapanta the worst game caller in the NHL?
8:57 My wife just reminded me that I said I'd do the dishes. I don't think she realizes how drunk I am.
9:15 Beer #R MORE FREE BEER
9:20 Hold up. Scandella didn't fuck up the odd man rush?
9:23 This third period is either really boring or I'm really drunk.
9:26 Nice job by Pommer hounding Seth Jones to get the puck out of the zone.
9:32 Too much hockey on the right side of my TV, not enough on the left.
9:38 A fucking tiger on a desk of a banker. Either I'm on a hell of a bender or this is one fucked up commercial. Oh, and beer #6 Leinies Oktoberfest.
9:43 Stoner did something good? I'm really fucking drunk or it's the apocalypse.
9:51 And that's game. They should buy the refs a Hello Kitty cake for that win.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Friday, October 4, 2013
Yet again, the Wild couldn't close it out.
Yet again, the Wild played good one period and terrible the next.
Yet again, Mike Yeo is to blame.
Yet again, Mikko Koivu is to blame.
Ah, it's Wild season. Hockey has arrived. You can smell the ice when you walk into the Xcel Energy Center. I love it.
You know what else I love? Watching people lose their fucking minds when the Wild lose.
What I saw in the second period last night was one of the best periods of Wild hockey I've seen in, ever. The Wild defense was shutting down the Kings' breakout. Forwards were buzzing. Coyle and Niederreiter were parking themselves in the crease like giant fucking Cadillacs squeezing into the compact car space.
And Jonathan Fucking Quick was Jonathan Fucking Quick. I hated him last night in the same way I hated the Penguins and Red Wings of the late 90s; so damn good and you can't do anything about it.
With a human playing goal last night, the Wild would have put the game away. With Quick, they didn't really have much of a chance.
Relax, Wild fans. Breathe. It's going to be a long season. Enjoy it.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
In another ongoing series this season, I want to look at how other teams are covered. I can't say how often we'll be doing this series, but we can kick it off with the Wild's season opener.
This is one of those days I wish my day job wasn't so, um... I'm going to shut up now. Let's just say I wish I'd had more time for research.
On the one hand, I'd expect more from a big, serious newspaper. On the other, this is about the level of coverage I'd expect from a big, serious paper that also covers the Ducks.
Compared to the quality and quantity from Michael Russo in the days leading up to the Wild season opener, I think the LA Times has a long way to go to consider itself on even footing in terms of NHL coverage with the Star Tribune.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Since the Wild have played, uh, zero games, I wanted to look at how the schedule is laid out. I don't have much analysis to go with this week's numbers.
By day of week, the NHL has the following schedule:
Day League Wild
Sunday 132 9
Monday 115 9
Tuesday 227 15
Wednesday 90 5
Thursday 234 20
Friday 152 6
Saturday 280 18
As you can see, Saturday is the most popular day of the week for the League, with Thursday and Tuesday also very common game days. The League apparently hates Wednesday. The Wild's most common game day is Thursday, with Saturday and Tuesday close behind.
By quarter and month, here's the Wild's breakdown, by type of rival:
D C IC
Q1 6 3 11
Q2 8 5 8
Q3 8 9 4
Q4 7 4 9
October 6 2 5
November 5 2 8
December 4 4 6
January 6 5 3
February 1 3 1
March 3 5 7
April 4 0 2
(D = Divisional game, C = Conference, IC = Inter-Conference)
Interestingly, the Wild play most inter-conference games at the beginning of the season, but also a large number at the end of the season. Fittingly, the final six games include 4 against the division (I say "fittingly" because that has been common in seasons past).
Thirteen times this season the Wild will play back to back games. Fourteen times, their opponent is playing on no rest.
Days off Wild Oppt
0 13 14
1 48 44
2 15 15
3 3 5
4 1 2
On average, the Wild play on 1.37 days rest. Their opponents average 1.43 days.
The difference in rest is also something to look at.
In other words, the Wild have three more days of rest than their opponent once this season. (March 8 in Dallas. The Wild will be playing on 4 days rest, the Stars one day.)
So what does all this mean?
Not a damn thing. That's why they play the games. Maybe in April, I'll revisit this topic and we'll see something important from this.
But I doubt it.
As an aside, Mason's got a busy few months coming up, but I fully expect to see drunken rants from him on a regular basis.
I'll be back tomorrow with another new feature.