Morning Skate: Man-tuzzi vs. Wild

FINALLY! a 3rd jersey that is good

First off, the Man-tuzzi part references our friends at The Production Line's awesome post about the sightings of Man-Tuzzi (or Todd Bertuzzi) and the Wild part references...well, the Wild. Wings travel to Minna-soh-tah to take on a Wild team that is still dangerous despite the departure of Marian Gaborik

  • How will Todd Bertuzzi play? Todd played a good 40 minutes of hockey against the Caps but collapsed in the last 20 minutes. Bert was admittedly upset with his own performance following the game in Washington and let it be known in the post-game. How will he come out and perform tonight? It could be a huge turn around from a guy that seems to be turning his whole career and style of play around. OR, will he fall back into playing poorly.
  • A lot of talk about Bert sticking around until he's done playing the game. The Detroit Free Press has a good piece up on Bert's contract talk.
  • Jimmy Howard will start for Detroit. Howard gets the immediate return to the net following the 3-2 loss by Detroit against the Capitals, a game started by Chris Osgood. Watch to see if the rest did him any good.
  • Osgood is on a short leash with the way he's running his mouth in the locker room. I have no problem with a player voicing an opinion about his own play but when you call out your coach's decision and blame him for your poor play, you're just asking for less playing time and showing incredible disrespect. If you're that mad about the lack of playing time, go out and show you deserve more of it.
  • We've got a really good piece for you guys on Kyle's Friday Prospects so be sure to look for that
  • Playoff watch: LA takes on Buffalo tonight, should be a good game. Buffalo has OWNED the West with a 8-1-1 record so let's hope that goes up to 9 wins, and in regulation too. 
  • Minnesota has a guy checking in at 6'8". Wow. You've gotta click this link for a picture.
  • Minny lost to Dallas, 4-3, the last time it took the ice.
  • Top Minnesota scorer: Mikko Koivu (brother of Saku) with 14 goals and 31 assists.
  • Can anyone tell me why Ville Leino is on the second power play unit? That is all. 
  • Speaking of the power play, can it get it going already please? It could sputter again tonight as the Wild have a pretty effective PK unit. 
  • Hockey Wilderness is your SB Nation source for all things Wild.
  • A regulation win would be big for Detroit. Minnesota is only 5 points back of Detroit right now so making it a 7 point gap would be very big.
  • Petr Sykora was recently waived by the Wild. 
  • Can someone help me with this question? How you turn the Minnesota team name "Wild" into something like "He was a Wing for 5 years"? I mean, "He was a Wild(?) for 5 years" sounds weird to me. Equally, "He was a Lightning (?) for 5 years"
  • The happiest guy on earth that Niklas Kronwall is out: Martin Havlat
  • Ville Leino is starting for Brad May again. Hooray? Eh, who cares. As much as we'd all love to see Ville magically turn it around, it's starting to look less and less likely that that will happen.
  • What is up with Brad Stuart? He had been the rock in this defense until the past week and a half or so. Another bad defensive play by Stewie led to the Backstrom goal and they frequency of the errors seems to be increasing. I'll stand behind Stuart though for the way he plays 95% of the time.
  • Filppula didn't skate in practice but is expected to be fine for the game. It is apparently "Just a precaution,'' Filppula said. "It's good. Don't want to take any risks, for sure I'm going to play tomorrow.''
  • How to beat the Wild: Limit their shots to the perimeter and shut down Guillame Latendresse and Mikko Koivu. Detroit has played some of its best hockey within the last week but unfortunately has very few points to show for it. They need to come out like they did against Chicago and Washington and if they do that, the game is theirs.
  • Key match-up to watch when the Red Wings have the puck: Like I said before, Todd Bertuzzi. Can he make some space on the ice against a big Wild defense? 
  • Key match-up to watch when the Wild have the puck: The guy I'm interested in watching is Guillame Latendresse. The ex-Montreal player has torn it up since joining the Wild: 13 goals in 25 games including a hat trick night.  He's apparently been ill but if he's better, the Wings will have a load to deal with. 
  • Pre-game video:
    Josh Harding doesn't take any crap from Steve Ott and neither should you. It isn't the best fight but at least someone went after him *cough* BRAD MAY *cough*

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