Backstrom disappointed in Wild's performance

I had hoped the Minnesota Wild would have won on Tuesday night. I was
all ready to look up the record for least amount of shots a team has
had in a game it’s won. But I guess when you can only muster 11 shots on
goal in 65 minutes then you deserve to lose.

The Wild were
absolutely hapless against the Florida Panthers, who aren’t exactly
renowned for their defensive prowess this season. In fact, Florida is
allowing the most shots per game than any other team in the NHL. So what
in happened the other night up in Minnesota?

Two of the veterans
on the team, Niklas Backstrom and Andrew Brunette, met after an optional practice yesterday, then
spoke to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune
about their mindset:

“Very disappointing. One of the most disappointing,” Backstrom said
Wednesday. “It was a game we must have. We’re fighting for our lives,
and that’s how we play.

“You want to go out there and play your best games of the year. You
always have a chance to be close to your best game, and we were not
close last night.”

What in the world is the thinking behind just having an optional practice the day after such a horrid loss the night before? I understand that the schedule this month is
brutal, but that was a must-win for a team on the playoff spot bubble
and they embarrassed themselves in front of a home crowd. Wouldn’t you want the team right back
out on the ice the next day, trying to figure out what went wrong?

the fact that just nine players showed up to the skate is indicative
enough of what’s gone wrong with the team this season.

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    Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

    Ryan Kesler
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    For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

    On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

    With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

    “It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

    As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

    It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

    Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

    Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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    Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

    We’ll know in a month.

    Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

    The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

    The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

    If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

    Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

    And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

    While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.