Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways at St. Louis
Saturday, 02.18.2012 / 6:06 PM / Features
By Mike Doyle - Managing Editor
When a team is struggling to find offense, losing your second leading scorer and captain can be deflating. That might have been the case, as Mikko Koivu didn’t play because of an undisclosed injury. He didn’t travel with the team to St. Louis and with another game tomorrow, things don’t look good for the Wild Captain.
It’s no excuse, but the Wild can’t seem to catch a break on the injury front. The Wild has missed 224 man games due to injury. As of today, Koivu is considered day-to-day and we’ll have to wait till tomorrow to find out more on his health and the injury.
Obviously, things are not going well for the Wild. But, when two players score their first goals of the season and your captain is out with an undisclosed injury, it’s hard not to think that there might be a witch doctor down at Mardi Gras in St. Louis sticking pins into a doll wearing a Minnesota Wild sweater.
For his first on the year, Ryan Reaves was the recipient of a fortunate bounce off of Nate Prosser’s skate directly to his stick. To Reaves’ credit, he was going to the net with his stick on the ice, but it’s doubtful he called post and in to make the score 1-0 in favor of the Blues.
In the second period Barret Jackman broke a league-high 150-game scoreless drought with a knuckle puck that Russ Tyler couldn’t have pulled off - even without the goalie pads on. The shoot fooled Josh Harding and squeaked through his arm. I doubt Jackman’s shot was an ode to the recently retired knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield.
Justin Falk returned to the lineup after sitting out as a healthy scratch for the last three games. One thing that you can always expect from the young defenseman is physical play. Sure, the 23-year-old still has some things to learn before he is a consistent top-six NHL defenseman, but one thing he doesn’t need to be reminded of: protect your goaltender.
Anytime that Falk is in the lineup, you’ve got to believe that the Wild’s netminder on the night is psyched. In the first period, Falk flattened Jamie Langenbrunner after he tried to get in an extra shot on Harding. In the third, Falk laid out David Perron for poking his nose where it didn’t belong. Falk drew a penalty on the play, but you have to like the kid’s willingness to protect the crease.
In the final minutes of the third period, Warren Peters received a five-minute major penalty for cross checking Blues Captain David Backes. Moments earlier, Backes rubbed out Jared Spurgeon from behind in front of the Wild bench. On the replay, the hit didn’t look malicious, as Spurgeon caught an edge and Backes didn’t 'run' him from behind.
Peters’ cross check looked like a combination of frustration and retaliation for the hit on Spurgeon. Anytime a major penalty is assessed, the league reviews it. We’ll have to wait and see if there is any disciplinary action taken on Peters, but this could have an impact on tomorrow’s Wild lineup against the Boston Bruins, so stay tuned.
Aside from the outcome of the game, these matinee games are kind of nice. I’m not so sure how the players feel about them (I’ll let you know), but, selfishly, wrapping up before dinner is never a bad thing.
We’ll get a chance to do it again tomorrow as the Wild host the Bruins at 2:30 p.m. for Hockey Day America. If you don’t know about all of the festivities going on around St. Paul, check out the Wild.com story and schedule, here. Get there early participate in the activities and get home before it’s time to put the kids to bed. See you all tomorrow for another great day in the State of Hockey.