Minnesota Wild News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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7/10/14: The Minnesota Wild showed that they are not afraid of free agency two years ago when they signed the top two free agents in Zack Parise and Ryan Suter. That has paid off as the Wild have made the playoffs in both of the last two seasons. Now they are looking to take the next step and used free agency again as their major vehicle. The team signed one of the best forwards available in Thomas Vanek. Vanek got a three year contract for $19.5 million. The team's aggressiveness in free agency should pay off again this season, but there are concerns that their window is a short one, given that they have about $20 million wrapped up in just three players.
7/3/14: The Wild showed everyone that they are a top-flight, up and coming team in the hyper-competitive Western Conference. They knocked out the Avs in the first round and gave the Blackhawks all they could handle in round two. They may need just a bit more to make the next step and Wild management is not just sitting idly by. The team is interested in veteran sniper Jerome Iginla. Iginla is 38 and wants to stay in Boston. However, the Bruins are up against the salary cap and Iginla may walk. Detroit also has interest, but when do they not.
6/26/14: Matt Moulson may be one of the most underrated players heading into free agency. Only seven players have scored 135 goals or more since 2009, and Moulson, a three time 30 goal scorer, is one of those. He split time between the Islanders, Sabres and Wild. His agent, Wade Arnott, says that there is no news about a new contract for him, so he may be waiting until July 1 to test free agency. Certainly someone will put out a little too much money to land him. But with all the talk about Jason Spezza and Joe Thornton, he seems like he is the forgotten man right now.
6/19/14: It has been rumored for some time now that forward Thomas Vanek would end up signing in Minnesota this offseason as a free agent. He began the year on a terrible Buffalo team and was traded to the Montreal Candiens as the Sabres cleaned house. He had a disappointing post season, even though Montreal made it to the semifinals. But those struggles in the playoffs, combined with Vanek's expected price may scare the Wild away from signing him. The Wild may be leery of him right now, but someone will sign a guy who consistently produces and has hit the 40 goal mark twice in his career.
6/12/14: The Wild showed their smarts a couple weeks ago by finally announcing an extension for head coach Mike Yeo. Yeo is the youngest coach in the league and has been with the Wild for three seasons. He made the playoffs in the last two and even advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals before getting eliminated by Chicago. The team held a press conference announcing the extension last week and seem to believe that Yeo is developing a winning culture in Minnesota. Again, this was a good move by the Wild. He is the most successful coach they have ever had, and the team seems to buy what he is selling.
6/6/14: A few weeks ago it was speculated that the Minnesota Wild were considering letting head coach Mike Yeo go. It seemed outlandish at the time as Yeo has been coach for three seasons and has gotten them to the playoffs in the last two. In other words, he was coach for two thirds of all of the Wild's playoff appearances. It was outlandish and now it looks like the coach and team are working on a multi-year extension to keep him around. That seems like a good move for the Wild, as the team has steadily improved under Yeo, especially in the ultra competitive Western Conference.
5/29/14: The NHL regular season is among the best in all of professional sports. That being said, players make their money and show their worth in the playoffs. For example, Jaro Halak had a great run in goal for the Canadiens a few years ago. The Blues traded for him, though he did not have much experience at the time, and he is one of the better goalies in the NHL. Dany Heatly is a bit different, considering his age and pedigree, but he is about to be a free agent, has battled through his past, and will no longer be a $7.5 million annual cap hit. He had a strong postseason with the Wild, so he may be a highly coveted player when free agency hits.
5/22/14: The Minnesota Wild did the right and smart thing last week, signing head coach Mike Yeo to an extension. There was speculation that Yeo was on his way out after the Wild lost to the Blackhawks in the second round of the playoffs in six games. Yeo is the youngest coach in the league at age 40, and deserves to continue his work with the team. The Wild have made the playoffs for the last two years and are certainly a team on the rise. That there was any question about bringing him back is interesting, because he is the best coach they have ever had and there is no reason to mess with success.
5/15/14: Minnesota's storybook postseason came to an end on Tuesday night as the Chicago Blackhawks won in overtime of Game 6 to advance to the Western Conference finals. But this was a very successful season for the Wild. They proved that last season was not a shortened season fluke and took out the top team of the hyper-competitive Central in the first round of the playoffs. There is speculation if head coach Mike Yeo did enough to stay on as coach, but those should just be internet rumors. He is essentially a free agent, but the Wild should do all they can to keep him around for a long time.
5/8/14: This is getting familiar to the Wild. Once again, they are down 2-0 in their series, the only thing that has changed is the opponent - now they are facing the Chicago Blackhawks instead of the Colorado Avalanche. The Wild battled back to win their first round series in seven games. They will need at least six to do this time, and the Hawks are on a six game winning streak of their own. It is not over yet, and the Wild have proven that they tend to play much better at home than they do on the road.
5/1/14: Not many people gave Minnesota much of a chance against the mighty Colorado Avalanche, but the Wild have pushed the Avs to the brink. The series is tied at three game apiece, and the home team has won every game. What is more surprising is that the Wild have actually outplayed the Avs and deserve to win this series. Colorado has had to stage major rallies late in two games and were fortunate enough to win both in overtime. Even if the Wild lose, they have shown that they are a team on the rise, and the rest of the Central Division should be on edge as they continue to develop.
4/23/14: There have been many exciting games in the playoffs, and to be considered among the top games, you had to go to overtime. The Wild's Game 3 win over the Colorado Avalanche (to narrow the series to two games to one) should qualify. If nothing else, then it was the best 1-0 OT game of the season. The Wild peppered Av's goalie Semyon Varlamov with 44 shots, 22 in the first period alone, but could not score. It was not until Mikael Granlund made a great move with the puck out of the corner and stickhandled through a few Avs to score, while falling, did this game end and electrify the Minnesota crowd.
4/17/14: Heading into the home stretch of the regular season will be a little more difficult for the Minnesota Wild as the NHL has suspended Mike Rupp for four games for a 'late, illegal' hit on St. Louis Blues star winger T.J. Oshie. The hit to the the head knocked Oshie out of the game and may miss some time. The four game suspension would take the punishment into the playoffs. Rupp is not known as a dirty player and has not had disciplinary actions taken against him in the past. Here is hoping that this is a one-time instance for Rupp and that Oshie recovers quickly.
4/10/14: Predators' goalie Pekka Rinne was not the only goalie sporting a new mask last week. New Minnesota goalie Ilya Bryzgalov debuted his new lid as well. Bryz has had a lot of new masks in the past year as he keep changing teams. This one features 'Sonic the Hedgehog' characters, as well as the Wild's red and dark green colors. Bryz put his kids' artwork on his last mask in Edmonton, which was not used for very long. HIs children helped design this one, but the characters were drawn by a professional. If the Wild keep up their play, then all of Canada and the U.S. will get a chance to see it in the playoffs.
4/3/14: The Wild's playoff chances (and possibly their confidence) took a big hit last week when the mighty St. Louis Blues dominated them in a 5-1 loss. The Wild currently hold the first wild card spot, leading the Phoenix Coyotes by one point and the Dallas Stars by four points. While there is not a lot of games left to be played in the season, which is good news for the Wild, there is enough time to be overtaken in the standings. Should Minnesota hold on to a wild card spot, then there is a good chance they would face those same Blues in the first round.
3/27/14: The Wild have quietly put together a pretty solid season to date and are currently in line for a playoff spot. Through their first 70 games, the Wild have compiled a 36-23-11 record, good for 83 points and the seventh spot. They likely cannot catch their more acclaimed rivals (St. Louis, Chicago, and Colorado), but seem firmly entrenched with their nearest non-playoff foe (Dallas) a good eight points back. The Wild have slumped a bit as of late, going only 4-2-4 in their past 10 games, and indeed the streaking Coyotes have a chance to catch them. However, it looks like Minnesota will be in the playoffs for the second year in a row.
3/20/14: The Wild drew rave reviews for winning the free agent sweepstakes in the summer of 2012 by signing the top two free agents available: defenseman Ryan Suter and center Zach Parise. The goal, of course, was to build a competitive team that could go deep in the playoffs. A lot of big name and big money free agent signings do not pay off, but this one has so far. The Wild made the playoffs last season as an 8 seed and are in control this season for one of the two wild card spots available. They have just one regulation loss in their last 10 games and will be in the postseason if they continue this pace.
3/13/14: The Wild were looking for goaltending help as they head toward the playoff run and possibly the postseason. They had been the subject of all sorts of speculation including legend Martin Brodeur and Jaroslav Halak. Brodeur is not the primary starter in New Jersey these days as Corey Schnieder is playing better. Halak was sent to Buffalo a few days before the trade deadline and many expected him to get moved again (he did - to the Washington Capitals). In the end, the Wild picked up Ilya Bryzgalov from Edmonton instead. The Wild are reported to have favored Halak, but the price was simply too high.
3/6/14: The Wild will not go quietly into the night as they continue to play like they are playoff team. They edged out the Canucks - one of the teams they are in a tight battle with for a playoff spot - last week for their fourth consecutive win. Minnesota will probably have to earn one of the two wild card spots available, as the three guaranteed playoff spots look likely to go to St. Louis, Chicago, and Colorado in some order. There is also speculation that the Wild are interested in acquiring goalie Jaro Halak from the Sabres, as he was just traded from the Blues.
2/27/14: In hockey tournaments, ranging from pee wee leagues to the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, no player is more important than the goalie. The Swedes got great goaltending throughout the Olympic tournament from Wild goaltender Nickas Backstrom, and they were shocked to find out he failed a drug test prior to the gold medal game against Canada. He was informed with less than three hours before the biggest game of his life and not allowed to play. Canada won 3-0. Apparently he had too much pseudoephedrine in his body, though he had been tested several times leading up to the Olympics. It was a devastating blow to Sweden, who won silver, and may impact his NHL career as well.
2/20/14: The Minnesota Wild sent four players to the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter (both Team USA) were easy picks as they are both elite players at their positions (forward and defense, respectively). Mikael Granlund is playing for Finland and Nino Niederreiter is on the Swiss team. Granlund is haveding a strong tournament, already notching two goals and an assist. He is expected to carry quite a bit of the offensive load for the Finns, and so far is coming through on those expectations. With quality players like these, it is easy to see why the Wild should make the playoffs again.
2/13/14: Don't look now, but the Minnesota Wild currently own the first wildcard spot for the NHL Playoffs. The team has really played well of late, and that is translating to wins and points. While they still trail the Colorado Avalanche by several points and may not be able to catch them for an automatic bid, they are (points-wise) in sixth place overall in the West. This is continued improvement from the young team that snuck into the last playoff spot last season and is now trying to make the next step in their organizational development. With strong goaltending in the spring, they could surprise a few teams in the playoffs.
2/6/14: The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are right around the corner. NHL teams may never say it, but they probably do not like their best players going half way around the globe to play exhibition games and possibly getting injured or getting very tired. Regardless of that notion, the Wild have something to be proud of. Zach Parise will be the captain of Team USA. That is an extraordinary honor, and hopefully Parise will lead the team to the Gold Medal. Also, Wild defenseman Ryan Suter has been name as an alternate captain - which is still a great honor.
1/30/14: The Wild currently are holding on to the last available playoff spot and are neck and neck with the Vancouver Canucks for the seventh and eighth seeds. Teams on the bubble like this often make big trades and that may be in the Wild's future. Minnesota reportedly made a big offer to the Buffalo Sabres for the best goalie available, Ryan Miller. The trade proposal may include forward Dany Heatly and NHL-ready prospect Charlie Coyle. That would be big price to pay for a half season rental, but may be needed if the Wild are going to make the playoffs and get anywhere this season.
1/23/14: Minnesota is in the thick of the race with 59 points (very good in the East, just average in the West). That being said, they need to play the best hockey that they are capable of for the next couple of months to secure a spot in the NHL postseason. They have taken hits earlier this season with Zach Parise missing signficant time with a foot injury, but have survived so far. Parise may never have fully healed from that injury and will be on the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team in Sochi, Russia. The last thing the team needs is for Parise to aggravate or re-injure himself in the Olympics - that certainly could kill their playoff hopes.
1/16/14: With Claude Noel out of Winnipeg, many people may think that Mike Yeo may be the next head coach fired in the NHL. After signing the top two free agents in 2012 (defenseman Ryan Suter and center Zack Parise), many believe that the Wild are underachieving. A closer look tells a different story. The Wild are currently in line for a playoff birth. That is saying something considering how strong the Western Conference is. They also play in a division with Chicago, St. Louis, and Colorado - three elite teams. While they may not win the division, anything can happen in the playoffs.
1/9/14: The Wild have been reeling for a while. They made a push to challenge the Colorado Avalanche for the third spot (and guaranteed playoff seed) last month, but have fallen off. Now they are a bubble team and need to improve over the next couple of months to get back to the postseason. They stole a game against the Washington Capitals on Saturday, and that is a good start. Ryan Suter had a hat trick in the 5-3 win. Minnesota only had 11 shots on goal - for the entire game. However, they made almost half of those for an important win. This is the type of game that can leave one team lost and give the other a lot of confidence.
1/2/14: The Wild are still struggling on offense, but there seems to be at least a little hope. Playing without star Zach Parise (again with the foot injury), the Wild scored three times in just over seven minutes. Compare that to their average output which is barely over two goals a game and there is reason for hope. The offensive onslaught chased Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. At the same time, the Wild need some help in the defensive zone. Goalie Niklas Backstrom allowed four goals on 11 shots. It all comes down to consistency with the Wild. They can play low scoring games as long as they keep them as low scoring games.
12/26/13: Minnesota's star forward Zach Parise has been playing with a bruised (maybe fractured?) foot for the past several weeks. He originally hurt himself against Phoenix and probably came back too soon. The injury has never quite healed. Parise has played well, but the Wild offense is really struggling to score goals. At 88 goals (just over two per game), the Wild are only ahead of Carolina with 86, though the Hurricanes have played two less games. The power failure came back to bite them against the Flyers earlier in the week. But it is tough to win games with only two goals.
12/19/13: The Wild are fighting for position in the Central Division, and are see-sawing with the Colorado Avalanche for third place - which earns a guaranteed playoff spot. Therefore, every point is important. Head coach Mike Yeo vented last week about the San Jose Sharks and their penchant for 'embellishing'. He may have a point - the Sharks had seven power plays while the Wild only had three. Yeo has since apologized for his remarks - but if he was effective in his rant, then refs will keep a closer eye on the Sharks throughout the year.
12/12/13: Who? The Minnesota Wild? Really? Yes, really! The Wild have surged as of late to move into a tie for second in the Central Division with the St. Louis Blues. Both are sitting on 41 points (division leading Chicago has 47). They have overtaken the Colorado Avalanche as well. This is important because the top three teams from each division make the playoffs, as well as two wild cards. As it stands right now (and we are still several months from the playoffs, please bear in mind), the Wild are in with a pretty good seed. They need more consistent goaltending to maintain this pace, but still, congratulations to the Wild.
12/5/13: Zach Parise is showing some incredible toughness. After being hit in the foot by a shot against St. Louis, Parise was ruled out two to three weeks. However, he returned to practice and skated the following day. The Wild need Parise on the ice, especially after losing forward Mikael Granlund for at least a week. Granlund suffered an upper body injury (possibly a head injury), which has forced the Wild to call up Jason Zucker from the minors. Granlund was in his first game back from a lower body injury that cost him two games when he was hurt against Phoenix.
11/28/13: Minnesota does not score as much as they would like to, but their defense and goaltending has been excellent so far this year. The Wild are among the top teams in the Western Conference so far, and would easily be in the playoffs if they started today. Minnesota is 19th in scoring with a meager 2.6 goals per game, but is sixth in goals against at 2.2 goals per game. Their power play is impressive, ranking fifth in the league 22.9%. If there is one area to improve, it would be penalty kill, where they are ranked 24th out of 30 teams with an uninspiring 77.4%. If they can improve that number, then they can be more aggressive and generate more scoring chances during 5 on 5 play.
11/21/13: The Colorado Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks, and St. Louis Blues are garnering all the publicity in the Central Division - and with good reason. The three teams only have a combined 10 losses between them and all appear to be worthy Stanley Cup contenders this season. The Wild are flying under the radar but should be in that conversation as well. They have won nine of their past 11 games and three in a row - putting them in a tie for third with Colorado at the quarter-point of the season. Minnesota has a history of hot starts then fading, but this team looks much better than past versions and may be around all year.
11/14/13: Head coach Mike Yeo has been under fire in Minnesota seemingly since the day he took the job. About three years ago, Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky criticized him for being too conservative. That seems to be a common theme in Minnesota. Yeo seems to have changed his philosophy this season and is allowing for a more open and offensively aggressive game. The results have been positive as their possession stats have improved dramatically over last year. Yeo seems to understand that he has some offensive talent and that is a good way to win games and win fans.
11/7/13: Zack Parise will play against his former team, the New Jersey Devils, and admits that it will be 'weird'. It was expected that he would face them last year, but due to the lockout, the schedule makers did not permit that. The Devils are a lot different team now than the one that Parise took to the Stanley Cup Finals just two years ago. The Devils have been terrible this year and have lost many of the key players from that season. For those that are holding out hope that the Wild will get Thomas Vanek, they will have to wait until the offseason, as the New York Islanders traded for him last week.
10/31/13: Life is looking pretty good for the Minnesota Wild right now. Last Saturday, they completely flummoxed the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks 5-3, in Chicago no less. The Wild also signed Jason Pomminville to a five year extension that should give them a pretty strong core group of players for the next few years. The next possible step for the team could be trading for Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres. Vanek seems to be waiting for his time in Buffalo to be up and reportedly favors the Wild to join his good friend Pomminville.
10/24/13: It is long believed that forward Tomas Vanek wants out of Buffalo and it appears that his desired destination is the Minnesota Wild. Vanek drove his friend Jason Pominville to the airport when Pominville was traded from the Sabres to the Wild last April, and Vanek would fit in well with his skill set and salary obligations. Minnesota will likely part ways with Dany Heatly during or after this season, and Vanek would be a clear upgrade. Adding Vanek would certainly help the Wild's offense. However, this is not a deal yet, and Edmonton is rumored to be interested in Vanek as well.
10/17/13: Minnesota has struggled in the young season, so they needed something to spark them to get their first win. That came from an underrated aspect of the game - faceoffs. The Wild set a franchise record by winning 78.3% of their faceoffs in a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Wild captain Mikko Koivu led the way by winning 14 of his 19 draws. That is an astounding faceoff win percentage and sets up the offense well. The Wild are better than their 1-1-2 record, and have not lost by more than one goal all season.
10/10/13: After a disappointing start where the Wild lost one game in regulation and two more in overtime - against zero wins - the team decided they had seen enough to make a move. And it was a surprise move. The Wild sent down popular youngster Jason Zucker and called up Stephane Veilleux from their Iowa AHL farm team. Zucker played in 20 games last season with four goals, but he is known as a scoring machine. He had 24 goals and 50 points in 55 games with the AHL Houston Aeros last season. He played his first game for the Wild this season earlier in the week, but only registered one shot. This may be a way to get Zucker some more time to develop and bring him back later on.
10/3/13: It is no secret that the bar has been raised for the Wild. Last season's playoff birth only whetted the appetite of Minnesota hockey fans hungry for success. The team returns their top six forwards - all of whom are talented but have suffered a lot of injuries over the past few years. The defense is young and inexperienced so they will have to learn on the job. Be on the lookout for Jason Zucker. He may not start the season on the roster but should get called up and provide an offensive spark - and be around a long time once he gets to the NHL.
9/26/13: The Wild finally got back into the playoffs last season so the goal this year must be how to build on that success. The team let a lot of experience go over the summer in unloading Matt Cullen, Tom Gilbert, and Devin Setoguchi, so they are obviously expecting their young stars to pick up the slack. Make no mistake, this team is young. Nino Niederreiter is 21 and Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle, and Mikael Granlund are all 20 years old. This may put some added pressure on veterans like Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to guide this young team back to the playoffs.
9/19/13: The Minnesota Wild unveiled their new road (white) jerseys at the state fair, and they are getting credit for their design. It is essentially the inverse of their green jersey and emphasizes the Wild logo. The good thing is that the home and road jerseys are now pretty similar except for the sweater color. The alternate green jerseys are still magnificent, with 'Minnesota' sprayed northeasternly in script. It kind of looks like a softball jersey from a local tavern, and that is simply the beauty of it. The speculation is that the red home jerseys will be phased out.
9/12/13: That the top line of the Wild, as well as their top two defensemen, are capable of playing against any other line in the league is beyond discussion. They are solid. However, the issue with the Wild continues to be their lack of depth. They will be among the youngest teams in the league when play starts, and they need for their second, third, and fourth lines - as well as their number 3-6 defensemen - to gel quickly. The Wild took a big step forward last season by making the playoffs. That is a great start. Now they need the young guys to develop to make a bigger splash.
9/4/13: The Minnesota Wild and their fans should have plenty of reason for optimism going into the 2013-14 season. The team boasts a very strong top line with Zach Parise, Jason Pomminville, and Mikka Koivu. Their top two defensemen, Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin, are quite solid, not to mention veteran Kieth Ballard. This group will be relied upon to keep a rather green team focused throughout the season. The Wild made the playoffs last season, but were bounced in the first round by Chicago. With another year of experience, this may be the season that the Wild truly break out.
8/29/13: The Wild took a big step last season by making the playoffs - indicating that their mammoth investment in center Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter were paying off. But to reach another level, the team needs more depth. This season, Charlie Coyle could be the break out player that the team needs. Coyle earned a spot on the top line last year with Parise and Mikko Koivu. He could be ready for bigger things with another year under his belt. Coyle is a natural center, so it is possible he plays there on the second line. In any case, the Wild have a young gun that is poised to break out.
8/22/13: The Minnesota Wild are still a developing team. Yes, they took huge steps forward last offseason by signing the top two free agents (Zach Parise, New Jersey and Ryan Suter, Nashville) to identical $98 million and 13 year contracts. And yes, they made the playoffs as an eighth seed, but they are still developing. Apparently one player on their long-term radar is 30 year old right winger Jason Pominville. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher reached out to Pominville recently to discuss an extension that would keep him in Minnesota for a few more years. The team does not have a ton of money to spend, but keeping a solid winger around would be a wise decision.
8/15/13: The Wild made the jump last year from middling lower tier Western Conference team to playoff participant. While they only earned an eighth seed, and only won one game in their series against the eventual Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks, they did make the tournament. By that measure, their aggressive campaign in the 2012 free agency (where they signed the top two free agents: Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to identical $100 million contracts) was successful. Now it is time to move further up the ladder. The West will continue to be ultra competitive, but there may be room for advancement now that Detroit and Columbus are in the East.
8/8/13: David Piole, the general manager of the Nashville Predators who is moonlighting as the GM for the U.S. Olympic Hockey team recently referred to Wild players Zack Parise and Ryan Suter as the most important pieces to the team for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Both signed with the Wild last summer to roughly $100 million contracts - Parise had been with the New Jersey Devils, and Suter was from Nashville, ironically. Additionally, Mikko Koivu, Niklas Backstrom, and Mikael Granlund are working out with Team Finland while Jonas Brodin has been invited to Sweden's camp and Nino Niederreiter is expected to play for the Swiss again.
7/18/13: The Wild have a good solid core to build upon. They made the playoff last season and even stole a game from the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. But what they did on draft day was equally as impressive. The Wild swindled the New York Islanders. The Wild picked up the number five pick overall for a third round pick and Cal Clutterbuck. The team used that pick on Nino Niederrieter. They also addressed their defense, with is good because the team needs some depth after their top two defensemen. Consider this team a threat in the Northwest division.
7/11/13: A lot of Minnesota Wild fans and followers were unhappy about the team signing Matt Cooke from Vancouver last week. One local reporter called him a 'cheap shot artist'. The animosity dates back a few years ago when Cooke blatantly cross-checked a Wild player into injury and was suspended. But Cooke did a classy thing when he got to Minnesota. He has always worn number 24, the same number as late Wild player Derek Booregard. He contacted the family and asked for their permission to wear the number, even though he had no obligation to do so. So far, the family is impressed and is fine with him wearing the number.
6/13/13: Ten years from now, we may look back on the current Minnesota Wild franchise as how not to build a roster. The team, of course, committed about $200 million to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Now they have about $7.5 million in remaining cap space for about a dozen players. That means that they will have to make some cuts or trades, and will also have to be efficient in their spending. It also probably means that goalie Nik Backstrom will probably be gone via free agency. The Wild have a great first line and first defensive pairing. After that, the team is average and out of money.
5/16/13: Minnesota's wild ride came to an end just five games into the playoffs. The Wild captured the 8th seed in the West on the last day of the season, which meant that they had to face the Chicago Blackhawks - easily the best team in the NHL this season. Chicago won the first game and the Wild surprised everyone by taking the second game in Chicago. But that was all they could muster as the Blackhawks won the next three games and eliminated Minnesota. The good news is that the offseason free agent signings of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise did some good. the team got into the playoffs, which has been missed in the land of 10,000 lakes.
5/2/13: The Wild are in their first playoffs in several years, sneaking in as the number 8 seed on the last day of the regular season. Their reward for being among the top 8 Western teams in a 48 game season is facing the league leading Chicago Blackhawks. Game one was on Tuesday and the Wild held their own for sixty minutes - forcing the Hawks to overtime in their own building. But it was not meant to be, as talent finally won out over grit, and the Blackhawks overcame the pesky Wild in overtime. Chicago was expected to romp in this series, but the Wild are showing that they are here to play.
4/18/13: Minnesota has its first chance to get into the playoffs in several years. The team is playing very well, and the infusion of the top free agents (hometowner Zach Parise and Ryan Suter) seem to be paying off. The Wild probably will not overtake Vancouver for the top spot in the Northwest, but should find themselves playing in May - which is really what this fan base needs. What they do not need is to be matched up against the St. Louis Blues who seem to have their number in every game. The Wild must, must figure out a way to generate more offense.
3/28/13: The Wild have been playing much better of late, pulling even with the Vancouver Canucks for first place in the Northwest Division. Minnesota and San Jose drew the Saturday afternoon game, which gave them the chance to get in front of a national audience. However, it is March Madness time, so that may have been a wash. In any case, the Wild shutout the San Jose Sharks 2-0, and even got a goal from Ryan Suter. Suter does not have many points this year, but is among the league leaders in ice time and playing great defense - what the team should expect from one of their $100 million men.
2/28/13: Minnesota made the big free agent moves in the offseason, signing the two biggest players on the market: Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The move immediately excited the loyal Wild fans and made them a contender in the eyes of many experts. So far, the signings have paid off somewhat. The team is a game above .500 and in second place in the Northwest division - a full six points behind Vancouver. The Wild started well last season too, but then faceplanted into obscurity. This season should be better though. The team has better leadership and talent on the roster, and certainly has a shot at making the postseason.
2/21/13: Minnesota Wild right winger Devin Setoguchi is now a criminal in the eyes of the NHL. Not really. But the league did fine him the maximum for a high sticking infraction against Detroit Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey. The two collided near center ice in the second period of the Wild's win over Detroit on Sunday. Setoguchi's stick got high and hit Quincey's head. He received a double minor at the time. Setoguchi is not a dirty player and this was his first offense. H was fined $8,100, or 1/2 of one day's pay for the incident.
2/14/13: Minnesota has never won the Stanley Cup (though the franchise is only about a decade old), but they did win the press conference over the summer. The blockbuster free agent signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter put the team on the map and sold a lot of tickets in Minneapolis. But the signings have not turned into dominance. The team is tied for second with Edmonton in the Northwest Division with 13 points and is three behind Vancouver. The Wild are having trouble scoring, with 26 goals through 12 games. If they cannot turn their offensive around, they will be home early in the summer again.
11/29/12: When the Wild signed the top two free agents this past summer, center Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils and Ryan Suter of the Nashville predators, the team was the toast of the league for their bold moves. Those signings included $10 million in signing bonuses to each player, regardless of any work stoppage. However, those cheers have turned to boos. With the lockout dragging on and no revenue coming in, Minnesota Wild staffers are being forced into taking a 20% pay cut. Many are citing the obvious conflict considering how much the players made, making for bad PR across the board.
11/22/12: Not much is happening in HockeyWood (aka: Minnesota), but the Houston Aeros continue their season in the AHL. The Aeros lost to Rockford 201, but then beat the Ice Hogs 3-2. The Wild are actually in a pretty good position for the next few years. The team has a strong top-six on offense, now anchored by Zach Parise and a respectable defense which will be headed up by Ryan Suter. The recent high draft picks will eventually come of age, making the Wild one of the more interesting teams to watch in a couple of years.
11/15/12: Charlotte has opened up a four point lead in the standings over Houston, five over Oklahoma City, and 10 over San Antonio early in the 2012-13 season. The logical assumption is that this would be NBA standings, but that would mean that Michael Jordan was making good executive and personnel decisions. No, this is the AHL, and the Wild's affiliate, the Houston Aeros are in second place in the South Division with 15 points so far. That the minor league team is doing well should not be surprising. The Wild have a wealth of talented prospects developing for the NHL game, which bodes well for the franchise in the future.
11/8/12: Even when there is no NHL hockey, the Wild just cannot stay healthy. Mikael Granlund and Jonas Brodin are the latest injury casualties. Both were injured in the same game, playing for the AHL Houston Aeros against Oklahoma City. Granlund sprained his right ankle and is out tow to four weeks, but should be fine there after. Brodin, however, broke his clavicle and is out eight weeks. A rehab schedule will be made once it is determined if he needs rest or surgery. Last season, the Wild started off red-hot, but lost four of their top six forwards to injury, and failed to qualify for the playoffs.
11/1/12: New Wild player Ryan Suter is making some pretty serious charges against the owners and their contract and negotiation tactics. His statements essentially convey the thought that owners who gave out massive contracts in the offseason, including his own, negotiated in bad faith because now the owners are asking for the money back while still retaining the services of the star players. Suter makes an interesting point, particularly since several megadeals were signed just prior to the lockout. The owners keep the players but the players are unlikely to see the full value of the deal.
10/18/12: The much-hyped Minnesota Wild season still on hold. The good news is that the NHL has made a realistic offer to the players and the real negotiating for a new CBA is about to begin. The league even wants to preserve a regular 82 game schedule. Meanwhile, all the new Zach Parise and Ryan Suter jerserys purchased by ravonous Wild fans collect dust closets throughout the 10,000 Lakes State. The season, if it can be saved, is as anticipated as any since NHL hockey returned to the Twin Cities. The team is finally healthy and has the top two free agents from the offseason - meaning the Wild could make the playoffs for the first time in years, once play resumes.
10/4/12: The NHL lockout will hurt many teams, including division rival Calgary. But no fan base should be more dissapointed than the Minnesota Wild. After suffering through an agonizing year - one in which they led the NHL early on - and missing the playoffs, and enduring injury after injury. The Wild looked like a team on the rise. Players are finally healthy and the big signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter offered hope for the season. With any luck, the lockout will just be a delay, and not another lost season for Minnesota Wild fans.
8/16/12: Would Edmonton, a team that has done about as fine a job as any team in any sport in rebuilding their franchise, really make a trade for defenseman Jay Bowmeester? Bowmeester is under contract with the archrival Flames, and owns a no-trade clause. The move does make sense for the Oilers. They need to improve on defense, and a veteran presence in the locker room would be an asset. The impact of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement will have bearing on any acquisitions the club would like to make, particularly if the salary cap decreases for the next season.
8/2/12: Minnesota Wild fans are still celebrating the coup that landed the top two free agents: center Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter, and the team has been relatively quiet since then. But the Wild may have to make some moves in the next few weeks. They have 49 players under contract, one less than the maximum 50, but only have $2 million in salary cap room under the current $70 million cap. The cap ceiling is likely to down after the new collective bargaining agreement is completed, so Minnesota would have to reduce their payroll. The question is how much will it fall, and how many players will the Wild have to lose to reach compliance.
7/26/12: Twitter followers are talking about a trade rumor involving the Wild trading Dany Heatly to the Penguins for Pascal Dupuis, Paul Martin, and either a first round draft pick or Tyler Kennedy. Multiple sources, including Dupuis' agent and Pittsburg media have denied the rumors, but these things do tend to bubble up, particularly when there is no other news. If these rumors are true, then it would appear that this is a Plan B for the Penguins if they can not land Alexander Semin, Shane Doan, or Bobby Ryan, having already missed out on Zach Parise and Rick Nash.
5/22/12: Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said he did not think the Wild would miss the playoffs for three straight years, and (in what may be a first in professional sports front office history) he takes responsibility for that. Fans of the club are likely to agree with that assessment - though they may prefer his head to his humility. The Wild assembled two forward lines that can compete day in/day out in the NHL. but they have little, if anything after that. In short, the team lacks depth. It showed when four of their top six forwards were injured at the same time, and must be a top priority going into the offseason.
5/16/12: The names on the top of the Wild's free agent wish list are rumored to be the Devils' star (and Minneapolis native) Zach Parise and Predators defenseman Ryan Suter. The Wild want to develop an atmosphere that star players want to join - but that, of course, requires consistent winning over several years. The Wild started off 2011-12 very well - at the top fo the league. Unfortunately, a rash of injuries set in, resulting in the team losing over 400 man-games, and ultimately any playoff hopes. A return to health will make the team competitive again, and some star players could put them over the top.
5/11/12: The Wild started the season as strong as anyone in the NHL. They were the first to 20 points and at one time led the league with a 20-7-3 record. Unfortunately, they lost Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Brouchard, and Guillaume Latendresse in a 48-hour stretch, while already being without Devin Setoguchi. The Wild did not have the depth to offset losing four of their top six forwards - then again, no team does. The Wild have cap-space to burn in the offseason and may target Zach Parise in the offseason, while also welcoming in a slew of prospects trying to make the big-leagues.
5/3/12: Despite not qualifying for the NHL playoffs again, the Wild have several players and prospects on rosters of the World Championship teams. Mikko Koivu will again captain Team Finland, as Finland looks to defend their crown at home. Joining Koivu will be prospect Mikael Granlund, who made waves on YouTube last year with his amazing lacrosse-style goal against Russia. Goaltender Matt Hackett was added to Team Canada, Wild draft-picks Jonas Brodin and Johan Larsson are on Team Sweeden, and goalie Dennis Endras joined Team Germany. Endras was MVP of the tournament last year, though Germany finished in fourth place.
4/25/12: Like several other teams who missed the playoffs, the Wild had trouble scoring goals this past season, averaging only 2 per game. One reason may have been that team points leader and leading scorer, Dany Heatly, had been playing on an injured knee. Heatly had surgery after the season, but there is no way of knowing how much the knee affected him during the season. To his credit, Heatly was one of only three Wild players to play in all 82 games. Additionally, goalie Niklas Backstrom and defenseman Devin Setoguchi both had procedures on their ankles since the season ended.
4/17/12: The Wild can use help everywhere in the offseason, as in score more and allow less. The team averaged just over 2 goals per game and surrendered 2.65. But help could be coming soon in the form of young prospects. 2010 second round pick Jason Zucker played the final six games, notching two assists. Johann Larson is excelling in the Sweedish Elite League and has a legitimate shot at making the Wild next season. The team may also pursue Minnesota native Zach Parise (Devils) and Ryan Suter (Predators) in free agency. Additionally, the Wild are working on an extension for GM Chuck Fletcher.
Minnesota Wild Tickets -Team History
Minnesota Wild tickets allow fans the opportunity to see one of the NHL's newest franchises begin to write its own history. Established in 2000, the Minnesota Wild joined the National Hockey League as an expansion team along with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Wild play their games at Xcel Energy Center and have called the venue home since it opened in 2000. Watch as the Wild build a new legacy and work to bring a Stanley Cup to Minnesota!
Minnesota Wild Tickets -Season Info
The Minnesota Wild have come a very long way in such a short amount of time. With playoff appearances two of the last five seasons, the Wild have certainly given the fans hope for big things in the near future. With star players like All-Star Brent Burns and veterans John Madden and Martin Havlat leading the charge, Wild fans can expect to see their squad in playoff contention year after year.
Minnesota Wild Tickets -Ticket Information
Minnesota Wild tickets ensure that fans see the Wild playing top contenders throughout the entire NHL season. The Wild have their work cut out for them in a tough Northwest Division. With matchups against great teams like the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames and non-divisional meetings with P. K. Subban's Montreal Canadiens, the Wild are sure to be tested all season long. Grab your Wild tickets now and don't miss the action!
Minnesota Wild Schedule & Key Dates
Opening Day / Minnesota Wild First Game 2013
Minnesota Wild Regular Season Last Game 2013
Minnesota Wild Preseason Beginning 2013
WILD SCORES4 wins, 2 losses (66.7%)
May 13, 2014 Western Conf Semifinals: Chicago Blackhawks 2 - 1 Minnesota Wild - Game 6 May 11, 2014 Western Conf Semifinals: Minnesota Wild 1 - 2 Chicago Blackhawks - Game 5 May 4, 2014 Western Conf Semifinals: Minnesota Wild 1 - 4 Chicago Blackhawks - Game 2 May 2, 2014 Western Conf Semifinals: Minnesota Wild 2 - 5 Chicago Blackhawks - Game 1 Apr 30, 2014 Division Semifinals: Minnesota Wild 5 - 4 Colorado Avalanche - Game 7 Apr 28, 2014 Division Semifinals: Colorado Avalanche 2 - 5 Minnesota Wild - Game 6 Apr 21, 2014 Division Semifinals: Colorado Avalanche 0 - 1 Minnesota Wild - Game 3 Apr 13, 2014 Nashville Predators 7 - 3 Minnesota Wild Apr 10, 2014 St. Louis Blues 2 - 4 Minnesota Wild Apr 8, 2014 Boston Bruins 3 - 4 Minnesota Wild Apr 7, 2014 Minnesota Wild 1 - 0 Winnipeg Jets Apr 5, 2014 Pittsburgh Penguins 0 - 4 Minnesota Wild
Sep 22, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs Winnipeg Jets Sep 25, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs Pittsburgh Penguins Sep 27, 2014 Winnipeg Jets vs Minnesota Wild Sep 29, 2014 Pittsburgh Penguins vs Minnesota Wild Oct 2, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs St. Louis Blues Oct 4, 2014 St. Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild Oct 9, 2014 Colorado Avalanche vs Minnesota Wild Oct 11, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs Colorado Avalanche Oct 17, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs Anaheim Ducks Oct 19, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs Los Angeles Kings Oct 23, 2014 Arizona Coyotes vs Minnesota Wild Oct 25, 2014 Tampa Bay Lightning vs Minnesota Wild Oct 27, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs New York Rangers Oct 28, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs Boston Bruins Oct 30, 2014 San Jose Sharks vs Minnesota Wild Nov 1, 2014 Dallas Stars vs Minnesota Wild Nov 4, 2014 Pittsburgh Penguins vs Minnesota Wild Nov 6, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs Ottawa Senators Nov 8, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs Montreal Canadiens Nov 11, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs New Jersey Devils Nov 13, 2014 Buffalo Sabres vs Minnesota Wild Nov 15, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs Dallas Stars Nov 16, 2014 Winnipeg Jets vs Minnesota Wild Nov 20, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs Philadelphia Flyers Nov 22, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs Tampa Bay Lightning Nov 24, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs Florida Panthers Nov 26, 2014 Los Angeles Kings vs Minnesota Wild Nov 28, 2014 Minnesota Wild vs Dallas Stars Nov 29, 2014 St. Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild Dec 3, 2014 Montreal Canadiens vs Minnesota Wild