And, the Blackhawks’ 0-3 start to the preseason had you concerned? The guys at Hockey Wilderness, a Minnesota Wild blog, are thinking of jumping, having the following to say regarding the Wild’s Thursday night loss to the Blues:
Tonight was the first time people should rally start to feel concerned. Concerned about the fact that nine regulars are still shelved, concerned that the team on the ice looks utterly confused at times as to which system they should be playing, concerned that the defensemen don’t know whether to pass or skate it out, concerned that we are a week away from the start of the season and the Wild still have six or seven guys who should be in Houston getting massive ice time, concerned that the Wild are going for the long bomb time and again instead to taking the zone with speed, concerned that the new “up-tempo” offense only amassed 18 SOG tonight. Frankly, things are NOT looking good.
And, the Wild blogosphere is merely taking a page from its rookie coach’s book. Todd Richards, most recently a Sharks assistant coach, had this to say following the loss:
Coming off the way we played tonight, I think I have to change the way I’ve been doing things … The guys who are going to play are going to be the guys who have to go.
Yikes. Now I feel stupid for crying myself to sleep worrying about Dustin Byfuglien’s ailing groin.
In all fairness, the Wild is experiencing its own injury problems, with regulars Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Petr Sykora, Andrew Brunette, Mikko Koivu, Shand Hnidy, Benoit Pouliot and Derek Boogaard missing the tilt. In other words, the Wild is perhaps missing each of its offensive impact players, minus Martin Havlat and Brent Burns.
That, along with Richards’ proclamation that the regulars will play from here on out, likely means that Havlat will make his first appearance in the United Center tonight since he left game four of the Western Conference Finals after taking his second crunching hit in as many games.
UPDATE: I should also mention that tonight marks The Committed Indian’s return to the UC. (Only in America could a guy like the Indian’s Sam have a publication with a solid following. Only in America.) To aid the celebration, the Feather has contributed a piece regarding the Central Division’s offseason. Read it and weep.