Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways vs. Los Angeles
Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 10:38 PM / Features
By Mike Doyle - Managing Editor
The Wild came into tonight’s game trailing the Kings by three points in the standings and five points out of the eight spot in the Western conference. It was a game Minnesota wanted, but the breaks just weren’t with the Wild. Despite outshooting the Kings, 26-15, the Wild was unable to breakthrough Jonathan Bernier.
Where the tips and bounces were on the Wild’s side in its last outing – scoring three redirection goals – tonight they were not. The Kings benefited from two tipped goals, the first by Justin Williams on Los Angeles’ first shot. The final goal bounced around so much, they had to change the scoring, finally giving credit to Jordan Nolan. In hockey, some days the puck isn’t going to bounce your way, and, for the Wild, today was just one of those days. The good news for Minnesota, there is still 19 games left to make up ground and plenty of games remaining against teams ahead of them in the standings.
The Wild has had 43 different players in its lineup this season, with newly acquired Tom Gilbert making his debut tonight. With so much shuffling, it’s difficult to figure out a new system in your first, second or even third time out. Call-ups coming up from Houston have the advantage of playing the same system as the Wild, but the newly acquired players will have to adjust to playing Wild hockey.
Have you ever switched to a new job, but in the same field? Sure, the tools are the same, but the way your new company runs its business was probably a little different, so there was an adjustment period. Yes, there is not much time for the Wild to climb back into a playoff spot, but you can’t win them all and are not always going to be immediately smooth with new faces in the lineup.
Despite tonight being Gilbert’s first game, you have to like the offensive dimension he adds to the blue line. He’s big, skates well and has good vision. In the second period, he beat a back-checker up ice by jumping into a two-on-one with Matt Cullen and Nick Palmieri. Gilbert’s shot attempt was foiled by Bernier, but in his first time out, he was active and helping create scoring attempts.
I never fully understood the trip/dive combo call. In the third period, Slava Voynov was called for a trip and Warren Peters received the diving end of the combo. Some will argue it’s either a trip or a dive. I’m with the latter. If someone is tripped and he embellishes the infraction, let's call it that. Two minutes for embellishing.
If Peters did dive, then Voynov shouldn't have received a penalty. But in the games Peters has played with the Wild, I wouldn't say he takes dives, so I have to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Was it the fact that Voynov lost his stick on the play that influencing factor for the dive call? I guess we’ll never know. However, in my book if someone dives than its not a trip, and vise versa.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Wild will be without its captain for at least two weeks. Mikko Koivu has re-aggravated an upper body injury from earlier in the season. He will be held out of contact for two weeks and will be re-evaluated at that time.
It's impossible to quantify what Koivu means to the Wild in wins and losses. But, with 19 games left, the team will have to rally, at least for a little while longer, without him to get into playoff position.