Saturday, February 9, 2013

Worry: Yes. Panic: No

"We’re trying to do everything we can to find the right solution, whether it’s to spark guys or find the right mix. Usually there’s a method to the madness, we’re not just trying to catch lightning in a bottle. We want to make sure that are putting something together that can work, more than just in the short term." -Mike Yeo

For those of who who already are panicking, you can stop reading. I have no time for you.

Over the week, I have separated myself from the blogs and tweets because simply, too many have chosen to hit the panic button on the season. And its hard to simply wrap my head around the fact, that after 10 games, we should be firing Mike Yeo, demoting Mikael Granlund to AHL, and trying to trade Devin Setoguchi.

I believe that Mike Yeo is the right leader for this team. He has won before as an assistant. And in his lone season as the Houston coach, he lead the team to the Calder Cup Final. The guy has always been around winning. And he has a team right now that can and will win.

Mikael Granlund is a rookie folks. He has 9 games under his belt, in the NHL. He registered 21 points (8G, 13A) in 21 games for Houston, and if memory served me right, he did not get off to a fast start there either (But don't hold me to this). He will come around, it just takes a little time. Even Steven Stamkos sat out a few games in his rookie season too.

And despite a horrendous start by Devin Setoguchi, I too am a believer in NOT trading him right now. He has played well this week, despite not scoring a goal yet. But if he can continue playing like this, he will start finding the back of the net. And yes, I am well aware of the many forwards this team is carrying, but is it possible that Yeo is keeping them, so players can step up their game so they dont have to watch the game from upstaits? I would certainly think so. And it is certainly a good problem to have, when you can't decide which forwards to scratch because they all have played well this past week (Granlund was scratched Thursday despite a great game Monday. Mitchell is a scratch tonight despite his stellar performance all week).

Yes, I know that its a shortened season, and we cannot afford to have prolonged slumps like this. But, no, I do not believe that this slump will go on much longer. This team just needs a bounce to go their way. Once they get that bounce and find confidence, they will take off.

Should we be panicking, absolutely not. Should we be worried, yes, a bit.

We can talk about the panic button after 20 games.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

Monday, February 4, 2013

Wild Trade Powe For Rupp

In a swap of fourth line players today, the Wild sent F Darroll Powe to the New York Rangers in exchange for F Mike Rupp. F Nick Palmieri was also sent to the Rangers in the deal too.

Rupp, 33, has been around the league a bit, playing for 5 different teams (NJ, PHO, CBJ, PIT, NYR) before being acquired by Minnesota today.

Rupp is a big guy, standing at 6'6" and 243 lbs, and gives them a physical presence this team sorely needs. As Russo mentioned today, he has been in 78 career fights. He also is a Stanley Cup winner, with the Devils in 02-03.

The Wild are taking on slightly more salary with Rupp than Powe. Rupp is owed $1.5M this year and next year, whereas Powe was due to make $1.066M this year and next year. Obviously not a huge cap hit, but when you are as close to the ceiling as the Wild are, every dollar counts.

Since there are many videos of Rupp fighting, here is a Rupp goal video

A message is being sent to this team. Play well, or you can hit the road. Devin Setoguchi may not be far behind Powe on his way out the door. But look for this to maybe jump start this lifeless team starting tonight in Phoenix.

Friday, February 1, 2013


(It just happened to be a coincidence that I thought of this video and we are playing the Ducks today)

Tonight, the Wild open up a brief 2 game road trip in Anaheim. And as the team still is trying to find consistent scoring from lines 2-4, they can certainly help themselves by doing one thing: Shoot the puck.

The Wild come into tonight's game with the 4th lowest shots per game average in the league (27.1). They had at least 30 shots in each of their first three games, but since, they have totals of 27, 16, 26, and 25. They have been doing this, despite having one of the higher Time on the Power Play numbers in the league, with 48:33 of total PP time (11th best in the NHL).

But perhaps the most alarming stat out of all of this, is the 3rd period shots, or lack thereof, this team is getting. Through their first three games, they were averaging 11 shots on goal in the third period. But in the 4 game since, they are just averaging 4 (Yep, you read that right, 4) shots on goal in the third period. And miraculously, this team has won 2 of those games, and they have earned 5 out of a possible 8 points.

And during all of this, Zach Parise has fired 30 shots on goal, which ranks 3rd in the NHL, behind scoring leaders Patrick Marleau and Thomas Vanek (Both have 33 SOG).

(This is the part of the post where you cue up Greenlay saying "Every shot is a good shot!")

Now getting back to tonight's matchup, the Wild find themselves playing a Ducks team that comes in with a high goals for (3.2 GPG-8th best in NHL) average, and the same goals against average (3.2-10th worst in NHL). The Ducks have had inconsistent play from Jonas Hiller in the past few years, and they have a more offensive minded defensive core.

So Mike Yeo's pregame message tonight should be pretty plain and simple: Shoot the freaking puck! (He may choose to replace freaking with another word beginning with the letter f)

Even if its like mean Russ Tyler, and he takes a shot from his own blue line (As you can watch in the video at the top), please, shoot the puck! Because sometimes just taking the shot, is better than trying to find the perfect shot.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell