Friday, January 22, 2010
Wild television color analyst Mike Greenlay commented to rink reporter Brad Bombardir after the Wild scored a goal in the final period to pull within one of the Detroit Red Wings was that this Minnesota Wild team knows how to make things interesting. Then after tying the score seconds later, Greenlay said that "it's a team that believes". While these two adjectives are so very true when describing the Wild, they are unfortunately, two phrases that have not produced consistent winning results. Simply put, they are not finishing the job. Yes, the Wild have become the 'comeback kids on ice' but they don't have much to show for it. Clawing their way back into games, only have the team lose that really close game is not helping out in the standings. These games are labeled premium games as far as the ticket office folks within the organization are concerned, but are also premium ones to the team in terms of the standings. And they have been unsuccessful in climbing that ladder.
Minnesota has given up the games opening goal in 34 of their 51 games played to date. The teams record stands at 12-19-3 when their opponent nets the games first goal, which is second worse in the NHL. If you consider that when the Wild score first they are 12-4-1, it is not hard to figure out one thing that this team needs to win games. And their lapses in the early parts of games does not necessarily seem to be isolated to road-play, as at home they have had their share of giving up the games first goal. Another interesting take is that Minnesota has the leagues most one-goal games with 30. Their record stands at 17-9-4 in those games but their winning percentage really drops off when the games end in 2 and 3 goal separation.
The results of the Wilds comeback against the Red Wings last night was another loss, this time in a shootout. Minnesota earned the 'freebie' but made no movement in the standings...and this trend is getting old fast. Currently the Wild have earned 52 points, 6 points out of the final playoff spot that is held by...Detroit.
M11 makes appearance
Brent Burns, who has been missing in action for much of this season, and also a good chunk last season as well, made his return to the Wild lineup tonight after being sidelined with a concussion. It may have been a bit of a surprise because all reports indicated that he had only 2 practices with the team since he was cleared to resume full workouts. And along with the return of Burns was the Wild debut of the new M11 helmet, a joint venture in head-wear protection, known as the Messier Project, between Mark Messier and Cascade Sports. The new helmet was specifically designed with the concussion epidemic, as it is referred to on the official Messier Project website, in mind. The technology behind the project centers around a 'new liner system' that is geared more towards absorbing more of an impact within its design.
It is good to see Burns back...and one hopes that if these new helmets help the concussion problems that have plagued many NHL players this season, we will see many more donning the M11.
Check out the Messier Project.