Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways at Florida
Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he'll remember from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 2-1 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers:
The Wild closed out its four-game road trip earning a point for the shootout loss. Overall, the Wild went 1-2-1 on the East Coast swing. While tonight clearly wasn’t the result the team wanted, it continued to play stingy defense while generating chances on offense.
Every team goes through scoring woes throughout an 82-game season and it is paramount that the team doesn’t get frustrated. When the goals aren’t coming, it’s easy to start slamming stick in frustration and gripping it a little tighter. It’s a cliché, but it’s true, the team has to stay positive, loose and believe that if it continues to play the way it has on this road trip, the goals and wins will come. Yes, it not fun having to answer the same questions about the lack of scoring and fans don’t want to continue to read about how well the team is playing and just isn’t getting the bounces (heck, I don’t want to ask those question or write about it either). But it’s true, the team needs to keep the faith, and with the leadership in the locker room and behind the bench, the Wild will pull out of it.
Josh Harding has been one of the great stories early on this National Hockey League season, and it’s because of his play on the ice, which is exactly how the netminder would want it.
After goaltender Niklas Backstrom was injured on Oct. 8 against the Nashville Predators, it was Harding’s chance to earn more time in the cage. The 29-year-old stepped up and took the challenge, playing some of the best hockey of his career. Coming into tonight’s game, he led the NHL in goals-against average (1.15). With Minnesota still struggling to produce goals, he put together another gem making 21 saves.
The Butterfly Effect is a chaos theory roughly stating that a butterfly flapping its wings can lead to monumental events. It’s also a terrible Ashton Kutcher movie, but that is not what we’re talking about here. Philosopher Doyle has come up with another chaos theory that relates to the Wild: The Suter Effect.
Let me explain. Ryan Suter is arguably the calmest puck-moving defenseman in the NHL. He has more nerves carrying the puck through traffic than a member of a bomb squad. He slides cross-ice passes through traffic like he’s slicing through soft butter. He’s cooler than Miles Davis when he’s walking the blue line. While Suter is a Norris Trophy candidate and one of the best blueliners in the League, not every Wild player can do the things he does. However, watching Suter day-in and day-out has had a positive impact on the other Wild defensemen. Watching Suter makes them think, “Hey, maybe I have more time out there to make a play than I think.” The effect has had a notable influence on the Wild’s blueliners as they are making crisper breakout passes, regrouping with more poise, playing the game under control and activating on odd-man rushes. The most prominent protégé of the Suter Effect has been a player who is pretty special in his own right…
I didn’t get much of a chance to see Jonas Brodin pre-Suter, and he was primed to be a good regardless of his playing partner. Through nine games, there is a chance that this could be the Suter-Brodin Effect, but we’ll give the vet his due respect and say he’s been a pretty good influence on the youngster. The 20-year-old scored his third goal of the season, which leads all NHL defenseman.
One of my favorite things to watch is when Brodin spins away from a checker. Tonight, Mike Weaver made the mistake of trying to finish a check on Brodin in the neutral zone near the red line. Brodin got the puck in deep, saw Weaver coming and spun around the oncoming Panther, leading him to go face-first into the glass.
Tonight the Panthers became the first NHL team to host a night for the LGBT community with You Can Play Equity Night. Before the game at BB&T Center, there was a meet-and-greet event with Amanda Zuckerman and McCrae Olson from the CBS reality show Big Brother. Zuckerman gained infamy on the show after using derogatory racial comments, but is a supporter of LGBT rights.
The You Can Play Project was co-founded by Patrick Burke and started the program after his brother Brendan, who was openly gay as a student manager of the Miami University men’s hockey team, died in a car accident. The organization is “dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.” It is an anti-bullying message, but also a call to cease all anti-gay slurs as a part of everyday dialect starting in sports to help make all feel welcome to participate. The You Can Play message mirrors the Golden Rule: treat others like you’d like to be treated. It’s a lesson we can all learn and the You Can Play team is doing a great job of spreading the message of inclusion regardless of who you are, what you believe or where you come from.