Key Wild Homestand Opens Tonight
The Wild get a healthy dose of home cooking as they open up their seven game homestand that is broken up by the All-Star break and their bye week. This will be a good indicator of where the team is headed for the remainder of this regular season.
By recent results it does not appear that the Wild have the horses to make the playoffs. We know that they are capable of stringing together some good hockey as we saw through much of November and into December.
That is a distant memory though now, and decision time is fast approaching for Wild management. Transitioning a roster and trying to remain competitive at the same time is very difficult if not impossible in today's NHL.
The bandaid approach has been the norm for much of the past few seasons and the time has come to end that insanity.
Yes, there are a lot of veterans on this Wild team that have pride and desire nothing more than a crack at playoff success. That said I wonder do they have enough desire to put the pride aside and help nurture the next generation of Wild players to elevate their game and who knows where that ride can take them.
We know that the same old Wild is going nowhere fast while the glimmer of hope that the Wild faithful saw came when the kids were carrying the team.
Gotta get Jordan Greenway going again. The kid has tremendous upside talent and physical attributes that cannot be taught. There needs to be a change in how he is used to take full advantage of his size, skill, and strength.
There is no time like the present to turn the page and elevate the ice time of the Wild next generation and see just what they got.
The latest rumor has Jason Zucker being linked to Pittsburgh possibly for Alex Galchenyuk and one of the Pens younger fostered players.
Galchenyuk a UFA at season's end would not be a long term solution most likely so some sort of reasonable draft pick needs to be in play in my opinion before parting ways with Zucker. For certain there is the cap space that would become available and maybe more importantly the roster position opening up for Karill Kaprizov.
Coming off the humiliating defeat on Tuesday in Pittsburgh that began with the lineup snafu that cost Wild defenseman, Greg Pateryn, another game after making his season debut Sunday against the Canucks.. The penalties, the dreadful penalty kill, and the overall lackluster effort then followed.
The positive was that the team did not totally roll over as they did put in three goals of their own in the third period of course that only matched the three that they let up in the final frame.
Marcus Foligno has been a real positive all season and dating back to last year he has been a force in the hitting department adding his play on the PK and now we are seeing offense from the Wild fourth liner who now has nine goals and 18 points, just 4 and 5 shy of his career highs in both categories. Foligno has scored in four of the last five Wild game tallying five goals and an assist over that stretch, while still delivering his standard toughness with 23 hits in the last six games and just two PIMS.
Tampa is the opponent tonight, the league's hottest team, who had their 10 game win streak snapped Sunday in New Jersey but got right back into the win column with their shootout victory Tuesday over the Kings at home. Tonight opens a six game road trip for the Lightning, last season's President's Trophy winner, who have climbed to 2nd in the Atlantic Division just six points behind Boston, following their less than spectacular first third of the season.
Fresh off the drubbing in Pittsburgh the Wild should be prepared for the pace of tonight's game, let's see how they respond to open the crucial homestand that could set the stage for how this team looks moving forward.
It's always Hockey Day in the State of Hockey!