Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways vs. Edmonton
Eventually, the Minnesota Wild was likely to have its winning streak, its home winning streak, its Edmonton Oiler winning streak and its Edmonton Oiler home winning streak snapped. But it just didn’t feel like it would happen today, even after the Oilers came out flying on the first shift and took a 2-0 lead after 16 and a half minutes.
As they have done so often, the Wild relentlessly fought back and tied the game on goals by Devin Setoguchi and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, but the comeback stopped there in a 5-2 loss to the Oilers.
The win streak ends at five. The home win streak ends at six. The streak against the Oilers ends at eight and the home winning streak against Edmonton is stopped at a whopping 17.
But the young Oilers team showed why they are going to be tough to deal with for the rest of the season. Nikolai Khabibulin was exceptional in goal, and the Oilers kept plugging away despite getting dominated for long stretches. The youngsters – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall – accounted for three of the five Oiler goals.
“It’s been happening a little too often,” said Head Coach Mike Yeo about his team falling behind early. He later added, “We did things we shouldn’t be doing and we didn’t do things that we should be doing. And the result is what you saw.”
With the early start today, there wasn’t a morning skate so Yeo had his media availability at 1:00 today, two hours before puck drop. The young coach was his usual polite self with thoughtful answers and some humor mixed in. But you could tell that he was yearning to share his thoughts about a certain article published in the Edmonton Sun today.
In the article, the author (who will remain nameless here, but you can see the article here) said the top team in the NHL is “horrible to watch” and “bad for hockey.”
Yeo took exception, most likely because he read it this morning and didn’t have time to change the game plan in order to please the Edmonton writers. You can see exactly what he had to say about the situation here.
Is there any wonder why Yeo has about a 99.99% approval rating in Minnesota right now? He’s got his team tied at the top of the NHL standings after 22 games, and he’s also got that wit that comes through in his dealings with the media. He’s not malicious, but he is funny and he gets his point across.
Nugent-Hopkins carried the puck out of his own zone, but just before center ice, Bouchard snatched the puck away from behind and in one quick turn was in alone on Khabibulin. Bouchard, who is the biggest Oiler killer on the Wild roster and a thorn in the side of Khabibulin, skipped the spin-o-rama and just neatly tucked a shot in on the prettiest play of the game.
The undercard in this game belonged to Brad Staubitz and Darcy Hordichuk who engaged in a bizarre back-and-forth throughout the game. In the first period, Hordichuk and Staubitz exchanged hits in the Edmonton zone. Staubitz finally had enough after another run-in, so he dropped the gloves and went after the Oiler tough guy, who immediately went down on the ice with his gloves over his head. Staubitz ended up with four minutes in penalties, despite being bloodied on one of the hits by a Theo Peckham stick.
Later, Hordichuk tried to engage Staubitz in a fight, and Staubitz ignored him until taking another hit along the glass. When Hordichuk fell face down on the ice again, Staubitz started throwing punches and Hordichuk again had his gloves over his head. Again, Staubitz received four minutes in the box.
I’m not defending Staubitz on the second altercation, and neither did Yeo, who gave him the benefit of the doubt on the first scrap. But Hordichuk continued to jaw at Staubitz and others throughout the games and cameras seemed to capture him using words questioning the toughness of Staubitz. Are those really the words to use when you twice laid on the ice with your hands over your head?
Staubitz did admit to getting overly aggressive, and said it "was selfish on my part." You can see his postgame meeting with the media here.
Having already established the record for most mustachioed men in one place a year ago at Xcel Energy Center (1,132 men with ‘staches gathered on the ice following the Wild’s win over Nashville on November 26), there was no reason to break our own record.
But the Wild officially celebrated Movember at today’s game by bringing in the two finalists of the Wild.com Best Mo contest. Dan Johnson of Coon Rapids and James Burazin of Milwaukee (“booooooooooo”) were pitted against each other in a second intermission trivia contest. They had to guess the names of several celebrities with famous ‘staches.
I’m proud to say that Johnson won on the tiebreaker. Take that Wisconsin!