Sunday morning update: Charlie Coyle will face no supplemental discipline from the NHL for last night's incident. The league deemed it a full body check and that Coyle was not targeting Artem Anisimov's head.
So, yes, 17 seconds into a big game, the refs and linesmen had a conference after not calling an initial penalty and wound up blowing the call massively, handing Columbus a major power play and forcing the Wild to mix and match first-line right wings for 59 minutes, 43 seconds. I think 17 seconds into a game, if you're going to boot a first-line right wing this time of year, you better be certain you're getting the call right. Just the latest in a long list of dubious calls and missed calls against Minnesota.
Plain, simple: Sergei Bobrovsky stole the Columbus Blue Jackets two points from the X tonight with a 3-2 shootout win.
Everybody in the Blue Jackets’ room knew it and said it. Same with the Wild’s.
The good news is at least the Wild got one in a game it deserved two thanks to Jason Pominville burying Ryan Suter’s rebound with 3:15 left in regulation. The Wild could have really used that second point, but Bobrovsky, who has a 2.01 goals against average and .932 save percentage, made two more saves in overtime, then two more saves in the shootout against two of the best shootout performers in the NHL – Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu.
I was just talking to the Columbus Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell up here in the press box and the Blue Jackets beat writer said, “He has four shutouts this year, but that was by far his best performance of the season.”
Still, Pominville said of Bobrovsky, “He’s had a good run. He made some big saves early. As good as he is, I think it falls on us to find a way to put one through. As good as he is, we’re the ones that are shooting.”
The Wild outshot the Blue Jackets 41-22, outchanced them dramatically and if not for a sloppy first 6:18 of the second period, would have skated off with two points. On the two shifts that resulted in two goals, Mikael Granlund lost Vinny Prospal on the one goal and on the second, the crowd sensed what was coming when Kyle Brodziak, who started the mess by coughing up the puck, Cal Clutterbuck, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Jared Spurgeon and Brett Clark got hemmed in the zone for 60 seconds of a long, long shift that actually lasted 1:34.
Finally, Niklas Backstrom left open the wickets and Fedor Tyutin fired it right through. But despite Bobrovsky stoning and frustrating the Wild to no end, finally Devin Setoguchi drew a power play late and Pominville scored his first goal at home and second with the Wild.
So, tonight could have been worse. The Wild could have sure used that second point though. Instead, it settled for one and remains seventh in the West – but only two points up on Dallas, Detroit and Columbus as it now heads on a three-game trip to Calgary, Edmonton and San Jose.
Before I continue on the game and Charlie Coyle incident, some news:
-- The Wild is 1-4-1 without Matt Cullen. He will be on the road trip, coach Mike Yeo said after the game.
-- Because of Zenon Konopka’s injury, which sources tell me is a broken foot, Jason Zucker was considered an emergency callup. Because that was considered an emergency, technically Mikael Granlund remained an emergency. That means the Wild still has exhausted only two of its four non-emergency callups – not the maximum. This is only important because there may come a point where the Wild may want to give Marco Scandella a shot.
However, for that to happen, the Wild would have to put Dany Heatley or Josh Harding on retroactive Long Term Injury Reserve to create the cap space. The Wild has so little cap space right now, GM Chuck Fletcher may go over the ceiling if he buys a coffee and a bagel (just a joke). Honestly, it’s like $6,000 or $7,000 bucks shy of the ceiling.
By the way, there is little doubt Jonas Brodin will hit some rookie bonuses, meaning the Wild will likely be charged a bonus overage next season, meaning there’s a chance the Wild’s cap ceiling next year could be a few hundred thousand less than the league’s $64.3 million.
Back to the game, rookie Charlie Coyle was assessed a match penalty for contact to Artem Anisimov’s head 17 seconds into the game. The Columbus forward never played another shift. Clearly dazed. Anisimov was reaching for a puck, so he was bent downward.
Yeo felt it was a “clean hit” and it should not have been a penalty. GM Chuck Fletcher felt the same and met with Supervisor and former ref Mick McGeough during the first intermission. We’ll find out Sunday what the league feels. I don’t even want to venture a guess. Coyle was given a warning earlier this season by Brendan Shanahan for his high hit on Matt Stajan. To me, Niklas Kronwall’s flying forearm to Coyle’s head in Detroit last month was way worse and more blatant, but who knows?
Losing Coyle meant Yeo had to mix and match right wingers on the snakebit Parise-Koivu line the whole game. Setoguchi saw time there for the first time this season. Pominville and Cal Clutterbuck saw time there, too.
Koivu has no points in seven games by the way. Bouchard scored his first goal since March 25 tonight.
Yeo loved Jason Zucker’s game. He had a game-high six shots and Yeo wants to see this continue on the road now.
I asked about Brodziak. He is minus-15, turned the puck before the second goal, missed on some golden scoring chances and only has six goals after 22 last year.
Yeo: “I’m not going sit here and throw Brodzy under the bus. There were a lot of guys on the ice at that time (Tyutin goal). For anyone that’s watching and have no idea how much a guy like Brodzy cares, you have to make sure you channel it the right way and it doesn’t affect you the wrong way.”
But he said it’s a team game.
Suter again awesome tonight. Played 30:29, assisted on the tying goal, and he probably should not have been playing with his injury. If you watched the game closely, watched how he shot, watched how he stick-handled, watched how he checked people, it should be clear to you what’s wrong.
On a personal note, great seeing Vinny Prospal after the game. I covered him briefly in Florida. Just a class act all the way around and he’s very happy with this Blue Jackets team and what they’re accomplishing right now.
OK, I have to get out of here. Early flight to Calgary and I still have to pick up a prescription tonight. I will talk to you Monday from Calgary. Kent Youngblood is covering Sunday’s practice.
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