Sunday, January 16, 2011

Reality sets in for .500 Wild

4-game win streak one week, 3-game loss streak the next typifies 2010-11 season

The week that was, was a very bad one for the Minnesota Wild. As a .500 hockey club, with a better record away from home than in front of your own fans, the season has come down to hoping the team gets out of town OK, on their Monday charter flight to Edmonton.

The Wild are only one game away from pulling an 0-fer at home in January, the first time that feat will have been accomplished, in the same month at home, in team history (the Wild are winless in their last 4 home games, going into this afternoon's potential blowout vs. Vancouver, the NHL's best team, a 5 PM start at the 'X'.)

A few chilling statistics should tell you the direction this afternoon's game should -- SHOULD -- be headed:

The Canucks have only lost one game (Thursday, 1-0 to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden) in regulation since Dec. 5th. (They are 15-1-3 since then.)

The Wild have not won a game at home since Dec. 29th (5-3, vs. San Jose). In fact, the Wild have won two games at home -- TOTAL -- since Dec. 1.

The Canucks have 3 players (Tanner Glass, Aaron Rome, Aaron Volpatti) who are listed as minus in the plus/minus statistic. Only Glass plays regularly; the other two shuttle between Vancouver and their AHL affiliate in Winnipeg. The Wild have four players on their roster who are NOT in the minus column of plus/minus. And, if you want to draw this stat out a bit, the Canucks have nine players -- that's half of their roster -- who are a +10 or better, including 4 of their six defensemen and both of the despised (because they are so good together) Sedin twins.

The Wild, on the other hand, have six players who are a -7 or worse, including 2/3rds of their top line, two of their top 3 checking forwards, their All-Star Game representative (Brent Burns) and, in my opinion (and that of many, many others) the single biggest stiff in the NHL, Cam Barker (tied for worst at -13).

The Wild are the second worst home team in the Western Conference (10-11-2), and are in danger of breaking team records for the most losses at home (16, 2005-06), fewest points at home (41, 2001-02), longest losing streak at home (the Wild will tie that streak with a loss today), and longest winless streak at home (8, Feb.-Mar., 2001).

Fortunately, the Wild leave the not-so-friendly confines of St. Paul (where booing and jeering at the end of periods has become commonplace) for the sanctity of the road, where they will be until the All-Star break (with games at Edmonton -- the only team with a worse home record than the Wild; the last game of the season vs. Calgary; and games at San Jose and Chicago), all winnable games, as long as they aren't played in St. Paul, before the home losing begins again, on Feb. 1 against the LA Kings, who themselves just went thru a 2-6 homestand at STAPLES Center.

So go away, Wild. You're bothering your fan base. Get some wins, then come back and see us. Show your fans that their support is appreciated. Win at home.

No comments:

Post a Comment