Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wild needs: Sweep the Week

The Minnesota Wild have played themselves into a corner. They need to sweep this week's 4 upcoming home games. Or else, ...?

The facts are clear. Clear as mud, granted. But they are clear.

The Wild cannot win a game away from the 'friendly confines' of St. Paul. And for a team as talent-laden as this one is, that's not a good thing.

The fact that they are such a Jekyll-and-Hyde team away from Xcel Energy Center belies the fact that this is a young team, which needs to get younger yet (buh-bye, Dany Heatley) in order to achieve anything, like what the management and ownership wants them to achieve.

You can't change the players, especially when nine of them have no-trade/no-movement clauses. You will move up to five players thru free agency, simply by not re-signing them; making the Wild a premiere target on Trade Deadline day, should the Wild's precipitous fall in the NHL's Western Conference standings continue into the New Year.

As the calendar turns into the New Year, Wild fans are looking at another near-.500 month in January, with the team having a chance in 6 of their 7 games next month (you REALLY think they'll beat Chicago, the way they are rolling right now?) at home; and losing 6 of the seven road games (the only game they may have a chance at is at Nashville, but even that is the second of a back-to-back, the only one next month, and as we all know, the Wild do not do home-and-away back-to-backs well ).

So, going into the Olympic break, the Wild will barely be on the cusp of a playoff spot. Barely. And looking at the NHL's 16-day Olympic break (Feb. 9-25) and wondering...

'What if we had beaten the Jets back on Dec. 27 in Winnipeg?'

Please, Wild. Prove me wrong. Sweep the week. This week.

Monday, December 23, 2013

'Yeo woe' hits new low as Wild bumbles, stumbles towards holidays

Second-worst offense in NHL stumbles thru Metropolitan Division as holidays approach; no end in sight

The facts are clear. The Minnesota Wild stink right now. And there's absolutely no way to sugar coat that fact, as the Wild wrap up a disasterous 3-game trip thru Pennsylvania and New York City, just in time to gift-wrap two points to the Penguins, Rangers and Flyers.

With the No. 31 offense in the 32-team NHL -- only the gutted-for-rebuild Buffalo Sabres are worse at scoring right now -- the No. 31 road offense in the NHL limps (literally) into the mandatory three-day holiday break after a pair of disgusting, lacklustre, 5-2 and 4-1 losses at Pittsburgh and the NY Rangers, respectively, into the NHL's nastiest arena for visiting teams, as the Flyers are given the gift that keeps on giving -- the Wild -- at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday night.

This team needs offense. Desperately. The shuttle between Des Moines and St. Paul has had enough grooves in it already to resist snow plowing; another move was made prior to Monday's game, as Stephane Veilleux was called up and Erik Haula was returned to the Iowa Wild, whose own roster belies the up-and-down nature of a farm team of a desperate big club.

When you peel back the cover just a bit, you have a lot of problems; two lines that cannot score no matter what; a power play that cannot score on a 5-on-3, or even get a shot on goal during a power play; a No. 2 goalie who can't stop much of anything when he sees it right in front of him; and a No. 1 line that would rather pass than take a shot on goal, like it's a mortal sin if they did.

Dany Heatley needs to take a seat in the press box. So does Kyle Brodziak, and anyone else whose lack of effort does not warrant dressing for games. This season is careening out of control; will anyone in the Wild organization be able to stop this skid in time, in order to salvage a playoff spot?

I guess we all find out...together.