How do you rate the 'new Wild order' so far?
So far, at least by first view, so good. Martin Havlat is the real deal. Brent Burns is already at literally 2000 RPM and counting, he was so excited to be back out there Friday night vs. Columbus. Petr Sykora can still play the game; he might be the steal of free agency if he continues what he started vs. Chicago Sunday night. Both John Scott and Matt Kassian 'punched in' vs. the Hawks, as both were happy to oblige any and all requests for pugilism.
Has anyone seen Nick Schultz as involved as he was Sunday night? For that matter, any of the Wild defensemen? It's like they've been unleashed and there was fresh, red meat, 6 feet away.
The fact that it is still pre-season -- when mistakes are forgiven easier than during the 82-game regular-season campaign -- makes the two home back-to-back shutouts even more impressive. The Wild haven't just given up the defense for offense. They are protecting their own end as well.
Now, if they can get Mikko Koivu and Andrew Brunette going (both still have yet to make a pre-season appearance due to muscle soreness) and figure out who will play center between what wingers, then we can see if this Wild team is a playoff contender or a playoff pretender.
Three of the remaining four exhibition games are on the road, beginning with Monday night at Columbus. We'll all find out together who stays, and who goes.
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