27 October 2008

Wild through 7 games

So far the SOTSOH (State of the State of Hockey) is strong.

Admittedly they've had a pretty weak schedule, but the team has only given up 2G/gm meaning their new investment in their Defense is paying off. (Not to mention all the goals Miettinen has been kicking in).

I'm a little bothered by all the goals they've given up in the 3rd period so far. And they had to get pretty unlucky to lose to Buffalo on Thursday. Also, like everyone else, I'm still waiting for a Gaborik deal to get done.

Whatever happens there, they'res a lot to be happy about so far. But the test starts Thursday, when Eastern Conference favorite Montreal comes to town, when the Captian Koivu brothers face each other. Should be a great game and what I would call the Wild's first quality opponent of the year.

13 October 2008

Wild Game Review - 11 Oct 08

Here are my thoughts on the new team after watching opening night.

What I like...

*James Sheppard and Owen Nolan. These guys are the new grit leaders on the team.
*Eric Belanger is off to another fast start
*Derek Boogard is looking for the front of the net
*Colton Gilles also showed the ability to create space

What I didn't like...
*Despite a goal, D Bergeron's debut was marred by pretty bad puckhandling errors. We'll hope that was just first game nerves and will correct itself soon.

What we wonder about...
*How long will Gaborik stay in Minnesota now that they seem to be at an impasse, the franchise player played well in his opener.
*What will become of that other free agent.. G Niklas Backstrom looked terrible in the first period Saturday, but settled it to a strong game. Still one wonders if he'll be dealt at the deadline.

Up Next, Southeast roadtrip for the Wild. I like them against Atlanta and Florida, I'll be curious to look at Tampa Bay's team under the Melrose regime.

11 October 2008

Official Wild Preview

The Minnesota Wild had a tumultous summer. Losing Brian Rolston, Pavol Demetria, and Mark Parrish really put a dent in the Wild's scoring punch. Couple that with the ever-present question of Gaborik's injuries, along with the question of how much longer he's even going to be here.

But it looks like Andrew Brunette returns to Minnesota as a solid first-line player with Koivu and Gaborik. "Old-Man" Owen Nolan looked great in the one pre-season game I attended against Buffalo. He's got a lot of fight in him in front of the net and at the boards. And he still can get some speed on a shot.

I have more confidence in the blue line. Brent Burns will be a star, and Kim Johnsson finally showed some improvement. It remains to be seen what effect the new guys will have, and if Skoula will ever reach expectations.

So even though the Wild have lost a lot they seem to have a lot going for them going into this winter. Also going for them, it doesn't seem like a lot of the teams below Minnesota last year have done alot to improve their situation, which is why I again picked them to finish 3rd in the West :). But not a lot can go wrong for them this year, if they're going to stay on the level of last season.

10 October 2008

NHL Preview

Real Quick here are my thoughts on how the league will shake out

Western Conference (Divisions: C-Central, P-Pacific, N-Northwest)

1> (C) Detroit - Same team as last year, but with Hossa. It would take massive underacheving to keep the Stanley Cup outside of Detroit.
2> (P) San Jose - Despite their playoff struggles last year, they still seem to be the favorite to take the Pacific.
3> (N) Minnesota - This is more by default than anything, I just don't know if any of the other Northwest teams have gotten better, even though the Wild definatly took a step back this summer.
4> (N) Calgary
5> (P) Anaheim - G JS Giguere still makes them strong
6> (P) Phoenix - A bit of an upset to make the playoffs, but they finally seem to be in the right direction
7> (P) Dallas - Step back, but should still get in.
8> (C) Chicago - First full season post-wirtz, and should get some value if they trade Khabibulin
9> (N) Colorado
10> (C) Nashville - Teams future very uncertain11> (C) Columbus
12> (N) Vancouver
13> (C) St. Louis
14> (N) Edmonton
15> (P) Los Angeles

Eastern Conference (Divsions: A- Atlantic, N- Northeast, S-Southeast)

1> (N) Montreal - They have lots of power
2> (S) Washington - Ovechkin Breakout year
3> (A) Pittsburgh - Need one more move to go from great back to dominant
4> (A) New Jersey - Rolston provides desparatly needed offensive punch
5> (A) New York Rangers
6> (A) Philadelphia
7> (S) Tampa Bay - Coach Melrose is back, needs to get more out of the defense
8> (N) Toronto - Coach Wilson going to help Tornto through a weaker NE div.
9> (N) Ottawa - Falling fast
10> (N) Buffalo
11> (S) Carolina
12> (N) Boston
13> (S) Florida
14> (A) New York Islanders
15> (S) Atlanta

09 October 2008

Construction from the West Side...

In the infinite wisdom of MN/DOT I-94 and I-494 Eastbound will be closed that will affect people traveling to the wild game Saturday.

I-94 closed from I-35W to MN280:

I-494 closed from I-35W to Nicollet Ave:

I guess the best bet for east to west, from points north of I-94 or I-394 is to find I-694 or MN-36 to 35E south.

from points south of I-94 or I-394: MN-62 to MN-5.

Should be a treat traffic wise on Saturday :(, Go Wild!

Welcome to SOTSO Hockey!

SOTSO Hockey is Born! This has been an idea of mine for sometime time to have a Minnesota Wild fan blog. Sotso Hockey stands for "State of the State of Hockey" which I think reflects my goal of reflectling the views of the greatest fan base in the NHL throughout the internet.

Also, thanks to the miracle of RSS, Y! Pipes, and other Blogger gagets this blog will also prove to be a wealth of Wild information form other sources. Headlines from area newspapers, live standings and scores from ESPN.com all in on place. And RSS users can subscribe using the buttons above.

Furthuremore, I may be looking for additional contributers, all you need a gmail account to use blogger, once set up email sostohockey@gmail.com and I can give you access to the blog :).

Doubleheader on Versus tonight: Toronto at Detroit, followed by Boston at Colorado. Boston of course is Minnesota's opponent on Saturday in their opener (of which I'll be attending). I'll have my Wild season preview tommorow, and postgame notes.