(Editor's note: In October, when this feature debuted I listed the definition as "A new feature here at SOTSO Hockey! Shortly after the end of each month we will name one highlight, story, whathaveyou." I have decided on a definition that is a little more, well definitive. The Wild Thing of the Month is now going to feature the one story, performance, or event that, in the opinion of this blogger, made Wild fans the happiest. Feedback always welcome.)
So after returning from the family visits and what-not over the Christmas holiday, I realized there were only about five days left of the month, the Wild had lost six straight games, the Department of Player Safety has spit on the Wild three times, and nothing memorable enough happened to overcome that malaise. The Wild would go on to lose two more games, including a hard fought shootout defeat at the hands of the Nashville Predators. On the afternoon of Thursday, December 29, the word was out that Matt Kassian has been called up for the matchup against the Oilers.
I attended the game against the Oilers on November 25, and watched in disgust as Oilers goon Darcy Hordichuk, who called Brad Staubitz out in the media, hit Staubitz high twice, and then turtled when challenge. Hordichuk baited Staubitz into taking two double minors, and the grease had their way with the Wild that evening.
On the evening of Thursday, December 29, boy did Hordichuk pay. In the second period, Kassian did this.
And to open the third, again Hordichuk didn't have enough pounding from Staubitz...
(videos from hockeyfights.com)
I know it's controversial to support fighting in the modern NHL. But until the NHL gets its officiating and discipline house in order, I say it still has a place. Thugs like Darcy Hordichuk are part of the headshot problem and have no part of the solution if the solution is to some day have a safer NHL.
There is no denying the Wild played their best game of the month that night. And there is no question the effort that was lacking during the losing streak was cured. And Matt Kassian earned the number one star, because he took on the good on a team that had pushed the Wild around for the last two games. The Wild played better than they had during the whole losing streak that night.
I know he has since been sent back to Houston, but congratulations Matt Kassian, SOTSO Hockey's Wild Thing of the Month for December.