Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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Patrick Kane is, our mind, one of those players you can't truly hate because he's just so good and smooth. You just want him to wear the laundry of your team instead of a rival.
Kane was mic'd up after his OT winner last night, and he became even less hateable if you're a Wild fan with some sincere praise for players and coaches in the post-series handshake line:
We might let this stand as the final post of the day because of its relevance and the fact that two of your favorite commenters -- RandBallsStu and Clarence Swamptown -- combined on a Hunt down of former Wild player Cal Clutterbuck and his trade to the Islanders for Game 7 hero Nino Niederreiter. It required more editing than usual (Clarence), but it was worth it. Fellas?
The Hunt Down
Name: Cal Clutterbuck
Claim to Fame, Minnesota: played right wing for your Minnesota Wild from 2007-2013. Had a brief interval with the Wild’s Houston affiliate in 2008 before settling in with the franchise. His most noteworthy achievement was during his rookie season, when he set the NHL record for hits with 356. This is not to be confused with the record for most country music hits, which still belongs to the Ol’ Possum, George Jones. Also grew a fine mustache. Was traded the day of the 2013 NHL Draft to the Islanders for a 3rd-round pick and Nino Niederreiter, who my mother has now heard of.
A Brief Word on This Trade and the Minnesota Wild’s Past, Present & Future from the Internet’s Clarence Swamptown:
I have a billion words on Cal Clutterbuck but I'll try to boil it down to this: the Clutterbuck-Nutterbutter trade provided a microcosm of what I've been begging for from the Wild for years. They desperately needed to start scrapping their stockpile of the likable, scrappy, slow, limited skill veterans in favor of faster, younger, raw players with higher upside. And even today they still are not completely there. Rupp, Konopka, McCormick, Ballard, Brodziak, Heatley, Veilleux; they’ve all taken valuable minutes away from much more talented youngsters. But the Clutterbuck-Nutterbutter trade encapsulated a significant step in the right direction. For far too long this franchise was mired in the Jacques Lemaire boring-as-some-3-hour-Hilary-Swank-Oscar-bait-sleeping-pill neutral zone trap game. (I don’t mean to make it sound like Clutterbuck is some old veteran, he’s only like 26 years old, but he feels a lot older. And that’s not the point anyway. But let’s move on.)
All of that said, Cal Clutterbuck is a [redacted] awesome name. Let’s break it down. To start: Cal. Cal is an awesome first name.. “[Redacted] this snowblower. Gotta call Cal I guess. Overahaul the carb. Needles, gaskets, whole nine. Cal will take care of it.” Timeless first name. Then there’s Clutterbuck. What a great hockey surname. Add them together. Cal Clutterbuck. Alliterative. It’s got it all.
Cal Clutterbuck was a good player for the Wild. Many times on some bitter, 2- below January Wednesday night game against Edmonton, Cal was the only bright spot in an otherwise forgettable 2-1 snoozer.
Anyway, I’ll try to summarize by saying this: While the Wild already had some high-end, quality players on the horizon, I believe history will someday show that the Clutterbuck-Nutterbutter trade was the definitive watershed moment when this franchise finally went from a band of nomadic role players with limited skill to an up-and-coming, fast, strong, skilled group of youngsters with something to prove.
Thanks Stu. I have no idea if any of that made any sense. But good luck. Thanks again.
Claim to Fame, Everywhere Else: the
Wellman Welland, Ontario native played juniors for teams in Toronto and Oshawa before being drafted by the Wild in the third round of the 2006 draft. He is not separated from Hilary Duff, TV’s Lizzie McGuire. That person is former NHL player Mike Comrie. Clutterbuck is married to Cassie DePalo, per the Google search engine.
Where He Is Now: still with the Islanders. Finished this past season with 12 goals, three of which were short-handed, or “shortest ones” in hockey’s obsolete vernacular.
Is He on Twitter: no. There are multiple parody accounts, if that’s your thing.
Has He Ever Been in a Twitter Feud with Patrick Reusse: no. Uncle Pat did call him overrated in a prescient column from October of last year, though.
Glorious Randomness: the Select Committee On Perfect Names, which is a thing I made up, has determined that the trade of Nino Niederreiter for Cal Clutterbuck is the best alliterative sports trade of modern times, and second-best overall sports names trade behind the miraculous Charlie Furbush/Doug Fister deal. That one even had a human adult named Casper involved, which is just gilding the darn lily. It will never be equaled.
We asked you on Twitter today how you planned to watch Game 7 of the Wild/Avs series on Wednesday. Here are the very unscientific results, in handy pie chart form:
Avs coach Patrick Roy turned some heads Thursday when, down 4-3, he decided to pull goalie Semyon Varlamov with 3:01 remaining. Conventional wisdom usually leads coaches to pull the goalie with about 60-90 seconds remaining in a one-goal game. Of course, conventional wisdom is wrong ... and Roy's gamble ended up paying off, though the degree to which the early pull aided a goal with 14 seconds left can be debated.
In any event, Roy is known around the league for pulling his goalie earlier than most. But Thursday's move was even earlier than usual. SB Nation has a great breakdown with a chart of all the times Roy pulled the goalie this year. The key takeaway:
In one-goal games it was typically around two minutes to play in the regular season, but as you can see on the table above his decision to pull Varlamov on Thursday with three minutes to play was by far the earliest he has done it this season in a one-goal game. Before that, the earliest he had pulled a goalie in a one-goal game was with 2:31 to play against St. Louis on March 8.
As such, if the Wild is holding a close lead late in another game this series, don't be surprised if Roy employs a similar tactic.
So, as some of you might have noticed, we haven't posted in these parts for a while. And as some of you might know, the reason is pretty simple: we had two weeks off after the March 30 birth of our first child, a daughter named Anabel.
She arrived after a somewhat lengthy process, but she did arrive right on her due date -- which also happens to be the same birthday as our wife Julie (aka the RandBall Better Half). She is healthy, sweet, and generally good-mannered (both of them are, we suppose), though Anabel did have her first rough night last night by keeping us up until about 3 a.m. with unexplained crying.
Babies are going to do baby things.
The past couple weeks have been somewhat of a blur. They also happened to be two pretty crazy weeks of sports. As such, here are very brief recaps of what we missed out on posting on, even if we barely remember a lot of it happening:
*UConn won the NCAA men's hoops title; the Gophers won the NIT title. Wisconsin lost in the Final Four. We were watching "Say Yes to the Dress" in the hospital during a couple of Elite 8 games since the person delivering the baby gets the remote, so don't come back to us for much more insight than that. (Side note: What is the point of that show? Nobody wins anything. There's not really a host. It's just basically watching people shop for a wedding dress.)
*Small sample size, but the Twins can hit but can't pitch? Is that right? As expected.
*Corey Brewer scored 51 points in a game? Also, the Wolves have defeated the Grizzlies, Heat, Spurs and Rockets while we were away, but they also lost to the Magic and Kings? Yeah, that sounds just about right for a season that makes no sense.
*Justin Holl. Seriously, one of the most amazing finishes to a game we have ever seen. No other way to describe a short-handed tie-breaking goal with 0.6 seconds left in an NCAA semifinal against a bitter rival.
*And the Wild will face ... Colorado in the playoffs? We can only hope coach Patrick Roy comes out of retirement to let in another Game 7 overtime goal.
OK, there was tons more that happened. But we need to save some of it for some longer posts on what figure to be plenty of long nights.
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