Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways at Vancouver
Thursday, 01.05.2012 / 1:55 AM / Features
By Mike Doyle - Managing Editor
Tonight’s 3-0 loss to the Canucks marked the final trip to Vancouver for the Wild this season. It is also the last 9 p.m. CST start for the Wild. With realignment on the way next season, the West Coast road trips will be cut down, which should bode well for the Wild. The team will play more games in the central time zone and won’t have to play nearly as many late games in the West. It also will bode well for fans in the State of Hockey and east of the Mississippi who don’t enjoy staying up for the late starts. For you night owls who like the late starts, I guess you can TiVo the games next season.
Tonight was the official mid-way point of the season, as it was the Wild’s 41st game. If you had told me that the Wild would be fighting for its 50th point at the halfway mark, I’d have called you a very optimistic person. It is easy to get caught up in all the negativity of the Wild’s recent struggles, but there is still the second half to be played and Minnesota is still in a position to be where it wants to be at the end of the season.
Coming into tonight’s game, Roberto Luongo’s career numbers against the Wild were less than impressive. However, somehow he has managed to turn thing around against Minnesota of late. Luongo pitched his third-consecutive shutout against Minnesota. His current streak is at 194 minutes and 23 seconds. Vancouver’s goaltender has taken a lot of heat over the years for the Canucks playoff woes, but tonight, once again, he bested a Wild team that was only three points behind in the Northwest Division. Many of his best saves came against Devin Setoguchi…
It was great to see Setoguchi back on the ice after missing nearly a month with a lower body injury. His speed was an immediate factor as he drew the Wild’s first power play of the game after stealing the puck from Mason Raymond in the first period. Setoguchi had five shots on goal, many of them grade-A chances. After the legs, the hands and coordination is the toughest thing to get back after a long layoff. Setoguchi’s legs were moving and he was getting involved in the offense. It won’t be long before he is burying those chances, too.
Unfortunately, it is often in tragedy that we are reminded the sport we love and passionately watch is only a game, and there are things much more important than wins and losses. Tragedy struck Jack Jablonski when he was checked from behind in a junior varsity high school hockey game last week. The Benilde-St. Margaret's sophomore underwent surgery today to fuse his vertebra, but the surgery also confirmed the severity of his injury. The 16-year-old has limited mobility and no movement in his lower body. It is unexpected that he will ever walk again, and we can only hope that this young man will overcome the odds. Words cannot put into perspective what a horrific tragedy this is to Jablonski and his family, and the hockey community prays for him. Visit his CaringBridge.org page and show your support here.