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The Wild Conundrum 2/13/2012


Guest Todd Varga
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The Wild Conundrum 2/13/2012

It’s been a rough week for the Minnesota Wild. The past week has seen the boys in green lose two games to the last place Columbus Blue Jackets, and a game to the division leading Vancouver Canucks. For a team that is desperate for wins, this was not a good week. Not only were the results bad, but for two of those three games, the Wild played fairly uninspired hockey in two of those games. It was so bad to the point that Mike Yeo vented his frustration to the media after Thursday’s game against Vancouver (I covered this in a previous blog “Wild Musings-Judgment Day”). While the effort was there on Saturday, the results were still the same. The Wild have scored only six goals in their last five games, and are about to run into another rough patch in their schedule, approaching games against the Blues, Bruins, Panthers, Stars (in Dallas-where the Wild have not won a game since 2003), Sharks, and Kings. If the Wild are going to make the playoffs, they are going to have to beat teams that will be in the playoffs, and be serious contenders in the Playoffs.

All of this brings us to the Wild conundrum. The Wild will play the Sharks on February 26. If the results don’t change over the next week, the Wild team that plays in that game could look very different than it will tomorrow against the Ducks.

The schedule may actually set up the Wild perfectly to either solidify their role as buyers or sellers. If they can defeat these teams, they will gain points in the standings, and hopefully the confidence they will need to push forward. Should the Wild continue their slide, they could easily become sellers mid next week. Looking at the schedule, and how the Wild have been playing lately, I’m finding myself (admittedly an optimist by nature) having to convince myself that they can make it happen. Losing to Columbus was bad. Losing to Columbus twice was very sad. But the game that hit me the hardest was the Vancouver. Vancouver really has an embarrassment of riches. They have all stars on every line, they play good defense, and they have two very good goaltenders (most of the time). The Wild don’t have the talent that Vancouver does. It was evident in that game. This isn’t news to me or anyone else, I just never saw it illustrated as much as I have in that game (That’s not to say the Wild can’t beat the Canucks, they can, they just aren’t going to do it on raw talent… and probably not consistently - or in say… a seven game playoff series). With that said, the Wild are going to be even more shorthanded as Cal Clutterbuck is now officially day-to-day after Saturday’s game with Columbus, and Clayton Stoner’s return from IR not looking as immanent as once thought.

That means more of what we have to expect this season from the Wild… Call ups from Houston.

Marco Scandella and Kris Foucault have been recalled from Houston.

Scandella has played 37 games for the Wild this season, and has 3 goals, 3 assists, and is a -10 on the year. Foucault will be making his NHL debut, and will wear #72 for the Wild. I’m glad to see Scandella back. He is going to be a big part of the Minnesota blue line for the next several years, and I’m anxious to see if he was able to refine his game at all in Houston. He should also help in putting up shots from the defense, which is something Mike Yeo has been asking for more of.

I Hope everyone has a good week.

Thanks for reading- I appreciate all the comments, questions, and feedback, and am really enjoying talking hockey with everyone.

Todd Varga

Follow me on Twitter @Wild_Halo

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@Todd Varga

Calling up Scandella means the Wild are playing with 8 healthy d-men not including the injured Stoner. This has a TRADE-coming all over it.

I wouldn't be surprised if Zanon or Zidlicky could be wearing the O and B soon. Especially when both of these players have a history with Timonen in Nashville.

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@yave1964

I really think that is a possibiity. I can't see the Wild holding on to Harding. Hackett is ready, and they are organizationaly stacked at the goalie position, so it makes no sense to hold on to Harding. The Wings woud be a great fit for Harding, along with a few other teams.

@hf101

I agree. I'll be shocked if one, even both, are not moved. Lots of teams out there want D-men, especially an offensive minded, puck moving D-man like Zidlicky (alledgedly). Zanon has been good, but he's not the top 2-4 D-man that the Wild need. I would trade them both and look at one of the top D-Men on Juy 1st.

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