We've got a late-afternoon tilt against the Wild today. We've already talked to our SB Nation Wild-covering brethren once, but just to remind you that they're around, we've got 3 questions with Bryan Reynolds from Hockey Wilderness to give you a little bit of perspective on our enemy for today. For more perspective, they've got gameday coverage of their own.
1. 14 games into the season and Minnesota sits juuuust outside the playoff chase. How far into the season does that have to last before we're looking at some mashed panic buttons?
There is definite cause for concern, and fans are already mashing the panic button. Coach Mike Yeo and GM Chuck Fletcher seem content to ride it out, saying that the caliber of players they have need to find a way to dig themselves out of the rut and get going. In a short season, though, there is no time for excuses, and the guys either need to start playing, or someone's job is going to be in jeopardy. $196 million investment, and the team is actually scoring fewer goals per game than last year.
2. How are the two big new additions coming along? Parise and Suter are putting up points, but we all know stats don't tell the whole story.
Parise is an animal. There is no quit in his game, and it is incredibly nice to see. Twelve seasons of blah, and the Wild finally have a player who can get the fans out of their seats. It is immediately evident why Parise was so sought after. I mean, you watch other teams play off and on throughout a season, but until you see the guy game in and game out, you have no idea just how good he really is.
As for Suter, he is finally coming into his game a bit. He has struggled mightily on the defensive end of the game, and his physical play has been non-existent. His pairing with rookie Jonas Brodin has given him some confidence back (Brodin is really good. Watch for him.). It would certainly be nice if everything clicked soon for Suter, but there is something about MIke Yeo's system that d-men just seem to struggle with. Tom Gilbert took quite awhile to adjust, so hopefully that is what is going on with Suter.
3. If you could eliminate one team from the NHL, regardless of the business considerations, which team would you nuke and what would you do with the players?
The Edmonton Oilers. I have absolutely nothing against the team, and man are they fun to watch, but their fan base has got to be one of the whiniest in all of sports. They get three straight first overall picks, and somehow the league is always out to get them. Every interaction with an Oilers fan goes off the rails very quickly and turns into them whining about some injustice either another fan base committed or something another team did. The constant reminders of how good the team was before anyone still watching was even born in a bit tiresome as well.
Did you know Wayne Gretzky used to play for them?
As for the players, a standard dispersal draft would be the best way to handle things, but if the NHL just wants to send RNH, Yakupov, and Hall over to the Wild, I'd be just fine with that. The Wild could use a second line.