When a team fails, fans and pundits often blame the best players. While it’s true that the Minnesota Wild’s top guns shot blanks in the 2013 playoffs, the bottom line is that their big-name guys carried them last season and will need to do the same in 2013-14.
Sure, it’s true that young players like Charlie Coyle and Jonas Brodin, and Mikael Granlund could take the next step forward, but Minnesota’s offseason indicates that they’re only going to depend more on a select group of contributors.
Whether it be via trades or free agent departures, the Wild said goodbye to four of their top-10 scorers from 2013 during this summer. Saying goodbye to Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi might hurt the most.
That means the Wild will look to Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville even more next season.
Pominville, 30, managed nine points in 10 regular season contests with Minnesota, so it could be a big year for him. He joins fading sniper Dany Heatley as the team’s biggest contract year wildcards.
Potentially embattled head coach Mike Yeo must determine if it’s best to load up with a Parise – Koivu – Pominville line or if he should spread the wealth.
Barring some unexpected breakthroughs, it’s tough to imagine Minnesota boasting a balanced attack in 2013-14, so it might all come down to some heavy lifting from the guys taking home the biggest checks.
More from Wild day at PHT
Is Mike Yeo on the hot seat?
Could Charlie Coyle be a star?
Wild wager on Niklas Backstrom
Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.
In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.
Gaborik’s first goal:
And here’s video of the OT-GWG:
Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.
With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”
When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.
With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).
As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.
Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.
You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.
Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.
“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?
Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.
Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.
It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.
Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.
On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?
It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?
* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.
If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.
The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.
After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.
If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.
Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.