Gutless, putrid, embarrassing Minnesota effort leads to shootout loss, starts lowering the coffin on Wild season
By Wild Road Tripper
The Florida Panthers were given a very special gift for being tonight's participant at Xcel Energy Center.
The gift? Two points in the standings, courtesy of a team that has lost its' will to win a hockey game.
The Minnesota Wild, in true Minnesota fashion, took a two-goal lead into the third period of tonight's game in front of an announced 18,191...and promptly went out and blew the hell out of it. Two Florida goals in just under 11 minutes tied the game in the third period, and then Cory Stillman ended the torture, by a score of 3-2, for the 'Team of 18,000', by finally ending the nightmare with the lone goal of the four-round shootout, a shootout which, in the opinion of this blogger, should rightfully have never even been allowed to happen.
I can go on and on about how there were goals scored, etc., and how Niklas Backstrom would do well to contact an attorney, as he should sue the players in front of him for non-support. Even after both Shane Hnidy (leg) and Brent Burns (hip) left the game due to injury, the Wild still proved they could disappoint.
There were new lows for shots in regulation (9), a tie for overall fewest shots in a game (11), the second time the Wild has taken a two-goal lead into the third period, and so on. But, this is the most telling stat that I could come up with:
There were as many broken sticks (7) as shots on goal (also, 7) until 8:45 remained in the third period. This means there had been 51:15 played, and only seven shots in goal. Seven. Against a Florida Panthers' team of few real stars, and many career 3rd and 4th liners.
This is a classic embarrassment for the Minnesota franchise which vowed to be that much better, on the ice and off, than their other pro counterparts. To play a game like this one, with pretty much your season on the line, against a team which has shown they can be as bad as any in hockey when pushed, in your own building, on regional free TV, when you are in the middle of your season ticket renewal drive, is beyond any possible scope of human comprehension or understanding of how successful businesses draw fans (and, their money, necessary in today's sports landscape of escalating salaries) in the middle of this downturned economy.
As if the Wild needed help alienating any more of their upper-level faithful, most of whom are seeing their season ticket prices raised $5/seat per game, this squad comes out and quite frankly beat themselves this evening. They didn't need the Panthers around to do that.
New Ulm High School would have gladly done the honors, but they were busy next door at the State High School Boys' Hockey banquet at Roy Wilkins Auditorium.
Too bad for the Wild. Because New Ulm would have provided a better challenge...
and if you care to stomach it:
Next Game: at Detroit, Thursday, March 11, 6:30 PM Central (7:30 PM Eastern) Time, Joe Louis Arena. (Wild TV: FSNorth; Detroit TV: FSDetroit; NHL Network-US; XM Radio, Ch. 237)