A Wild Week 1/29/12-2/4/12
The Wild finished up this week going 1-1-1, holding on to 8th place in the Western Conference by 2 points over Dallas. This week we saw the Wild lose a heartbreaker to the Nashville Predators, defeat the Colorado Avalanche due to a Nicklas Backstrom shutout, and drop a shootout to the Dallas Stars. On Tuesday the Wild will finish up their 3 game road trip in Columbus. That game will complete a stretch of 30 games in which the Wild played 20 on the road. While the results have not been what the Wild would have liked for the majority of that stretch, this past week saw the Wild play some very good hockey. The Wild look like they are getting back to playing their system, and playing the way they were playing when they were winning at the beginning of the year. They are playing with a confidence they will need for the rest of their playoff push.
This past week also saw Mikko Koivu and Guillaume Latendresse get back on the ice and practice with the Wild. While Gui will take some time to get back from his concussion, Mikko will more than likely be back this week, and has not been officially ruled out for Tuesday’s game. This is great news for a team that is 29th in the league in scoring. Mikko is a significant force on this team. He plays all facets of the game, and will more than likely lead the team in scoring at the end of the year. Since coming to Minnesota, Latendresse has been a goal scoring machine when he is on the ice. Unfortunately that time has been limited over the past two seasons. If this team can get Gui back on the ice within the next month, they will have a lot better chance at making the playoffs.
We also saw the Wild kick the tires on the trade deadline, and make what could be the first of a few trades to help the team before the trade deadline on February 27. The Wild sent young undrafted free agent Casey Wellman to the New York Rangers for Erik Christensen and a conditional 7th round pick. Christensen played his first game for the Wild in Dallas. He registered no points, and missed a shootout attempt, but he looked good for a guy that has not played since the middle of December. He skated well, and fit into Mike Yeo’s system very well. The Wild also made some noise this morning signing young defensemen Nate Prosser to a two year one-way contract extension. Prosser is a very good young defense man that has earned his shot at being a staple in the Wild Defense Corps. Prosser is very good in his own zone, and is able to step up into the offense when he needs to.
When the Wild take the ice on Thursday to play the Canucks, they will kick off the last 29 games of their season in which they get to play 19 home games. The Wild will have to take advantage of their schedule, and keep playing their system if they want to make the playoffs. The Wild are in as good a spot as they could hope to be in after the January they had. They will need to get healthy, play strong and confident hockey, and perhaps make a few upgrades before the deadline to make a strong playoff push.
Thank you all for reading. I’ll be back later in the week with another blog.
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