Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways at Los Angeles
Sunday, 11.13.2011 / 1:33 AM CT / Minnesota Wild | Features
By Mike Doyle - Managing Editor
“Mama said there’ll be days like this, ‘There’ll be days like this’ my mama said.”
No way around it, this was one of those days for the Wild. “Right from the drop of the puck, we weren’t ready to play,” Head Coach Mike Yeo said after the game. Yeo didn’t hold back, but in an 82 game season, teams are bound to have games like this. Murphy’s Law might not have been a strong enough description for the team’s first two periods.
It’s tough not to look at the Kings’ first goal as an indicator as how this one was going to go: A bouncing puck lands under the pad of Josh Hardin; he doesn’t know it’s there; as he starts to stand up, Colin Fraser is Johnny-on-the-spot to tap in the easiest goal he will ever score.
Obviously, the Wild didn’t help their cause to start with the penalty situation, but, honestly, did Warren Peters deserve a five-minute major for boarding? That call led to the Kings’ second goal and a four-goal second period. Not to make excuses, but if the Peters call is only a two-minute penalty, the Wild kill it off and start the second period even strength.
The Injury Bug continues to afflict the Wild. After losing winger Guillaume Latendress on Thursday, burgeoning blueliner Marco Scandella left the first period of tonight’s game and did not return. At this time, his status is unknown. Regardless, it was a tough loss tonight as the remaining defenders had to log additional ice time and bad news for an already depleted D-corp.
The Wild has already lost a total of 47 man games due to injury. Clayton Stoner is on the trip and his availability for tomorrow’s game against the Anaheim Ducks remains uncertain. Mike Lundin (back) is on the trip but not ready to return to action and Greg Zanon (groin) is unavailable. Also, the game’s 5 p.m. start time gives the Wild little time to recall another defenseman. Speaking of players being recalled…
Tonight, the Wild recalled goaltender Darcy Kuemper from the ECHL’s Ontario Reign. He was at the STAPLES Center and will travel with the team to Anaheim tomorrow.
Kuemper, 21, is 4-0-0 with a 1.47 GAA and a .941 SV% in four starts for Ontario this season, and was selected by the Wild in the sixth round (161st overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Television Analyst Mike Greenlay speculated that the Wild could send one of the goalkeepers to Columbus tomorrow in order to adjust to the time zone change. This strategy is similar to baseball teams sending their starting pitchers to a city ahead of the rest of the team during the playoffs. But we’ll just have to wait and see.
The one bright spot in this black hole of a game was the Wild’s third period. Once again, the team showed some fight in scoring two goals and creating several other good opportunities in the final frame. It would have been easy for the team to tank the third and save their energy for tomorrow, but the Wild did show heart and resiliency.
Yeo had this to say in the post-game press conference: “I’m glad we play in less than 24 hours, I can’t wait to see how we respond.” I’m glad the Wild play in less than 24 hours as well. Even though the team wasn’t on its game tonight, they showed that no matter how bad things get they will always fight back.
A stick tap goes out to Dany Heatley, who tallied his 700th career point with an assist on Cal Clutterbuck’s power play goal. Heatley was brought in to add some offensive punch to the Wild and leads the team with 11 points. He is the 25th active NHL player to reach 700 points. Although this is his first season with the Wild, the 700 Club is quite a career milestone. We can only hope that he will have many more in a Wild sweater...maybe a couple tomorrow night?