21 December 2011

Passive Play against the Flames...

The second period last night was just brutally bad.  The Wild were extremely passive against the Flames the in their own zone.

It looked like they were content to let the Flames move the puck without any attempt to force turnovers, and when they finally did get the puck, all they could do was chip it out, hoping they didn't ice it to change lines.  This made a team with a 16.8% powerplay conversion rate look outright competent 5 on 5.  The Flames had the first 9 shots of the 2nd period including what would be the game winning goal.

After that horror of a period, it did seem the Wild got the message, and there is some positivity to take from the game last night.

1) Josh Harding

In his return he was quiet, but played well enough to keep that second period from becoming a laugher.  I'm glad to see he appears to be okay and hope he is able to stay in the lineup.

2) Third Period

The Wild did seem to turn it around in the 3rd.  Even though they weren't rewarded with a tying goal, the Wild fought hard and drew a couple penalties.  They had their chances, it just didn't go their way tonight.

3) Bouchard

Bouchard had a goal and looked like he is okay after the incident in Winnipeg that made Brendan Shanahan dead to me.  Slowly the Wild are getting healthier and hopefully.

4) Brodziak

While leading the team in goals, it seems apparent he is not going to be as effective when he gets 2nd line minutes.  So why is this a good thing?  First, when the Wild get healthy, he will return to a role where he has been more successful, and he will draw the defensive matchups that are more favorable (weaker) to him.

Second, this seems to reduce the risk that the Wild will end up overpaying him when he becomes a free agent.  I like Brodziak as a player very much, I think he's effective at what he does for the role that he plays as a depth forward.  I was hoping more minutes might mean even more goals and would be a huge help during this rash of injuries, but that just doesn't seem to be the case.  That's okay, though, the Wild will be deep again soon.

The State of Hockey may be down right now.  Losing streaks suck.  But try and remember, streaks are only observations that can be made about past events.  The games are over, the Wild can only move forward.  If the Wild are still near the top at the end of the season, no one is going to remember the two points from five games in December.  The Wild are getting healthier, and everyone that's come back so far looks good doing it.

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