The bad news is the Wild was sliced and diced like few games I’ve ever covered of theirs, losing 5-2. It was not nearly as competitive as the score would indicate.
The worse news is Marco Scandella appears to have suffered another head injury. Mike Yeo said he didn’t know for certain, but Scandella was hit hard (shoulder to chin) by Ethan Moreau on his fourth shift and never returned. He looked out of it after the game, was definitely glum and didn’t want to talk. Remember, Scandella missed 14 games last season with a concussion.
As of now, the Wild needs a defenseman for Sunday’s game at Anaheim. It could call somebody up or Clayton Stoner could return. That was the sound of it after the game (read Yeo’s quote below, it was classic).
As I said, the Wild was annihilated in every facet tonight. Every player said so, well, except, Mikko Koivu, who takes umbrage to most questions after losses. Every player stood up and said, “we stunk,” but Koivu was offended by the questioning and said this wasn’t even close to one of his most frustrating losses.
This, remember, is the captain of this team – a captain with one goal in 16 games now.
I can go on and on about the Wild’s poor performance and poor effort tonight, but to their credit, the coach and (most) the players admitted they stunk, so we’ll let you hear from them. Kyle Brodziak was particularly good afterward. Here's the quotes:
Coach Mike Yeo
“Right from the drop of the puck, we weren’t ready to play. You always get what you deserve, or at least, way more than often you get what you deserve. We got what we deserve tonight.”
Why not ready: “I don’t know. I don’t know. We’ll find out. We’re going to find out. I can say that we felt like this was coming. I didn’t think we were that great in the St. Louis game, we won that. We played the Calgary game, I thought we were not good at all. And then we played San Jose, and maybe we kid ourselves and think we were in that game. So as far as I’m concerned, we’ve played three bad games in a row. I don’t want to say I don’t know. Because I know. Like, we think we’re there. We’re not even close. Like, we think we’re good enough yet, that because we won five games in a row that we’re there. It’s not even close. We said this when we were winning these games. We’re not there. We along the way forgot what we have to put in to winning hockey games.”
How do you move on to Anaheim game? “Good. I’m glad we play in less than 24 hours. Can’t wait to see how we respond.”
Why do you think LA’s in your zone for the first 40 minutes? “They won every battle, they executed, they made plays, we couldn’t make a pass. If we made one pass, we definitely couldn’t follow it up with another pass. It came down to battles tonight. Like, we weren’t … we were not ready to play. We were not ready to pay a price physically. When you’re not engaged in the game, everything else is out the window. You can talk about x’s and o’s and all of that other kind of stuff, it’s great, it’s important … IF you show up. If you don’t show up, forget it. You can get every great coach in the world out there, you’ve got to show up, you’ve got to pay a price. The rest of it, … the rest of it comes along with that.”
Scandella concussed? “I don’t know yet to be honest with you, but he was definitely out. He took a hard hit there, so we’ll see. I’ve got to talk to the trainers.”
Can Stoner play tomorrow? “I have to talk to him. They wanted him to play a couple weeks ago and he’s not at 100 percent, but he’s going to go in there and battle. We could have used a guy that was going to battle tonight.”
Motivate the guys tomorrow or up to them? “I said what I had to say. I don’t need to say what I’ve said. But I shouldn’t have to motivate. You should be embarrassed. I’m embarrassed, and when that happens, you come to the rink the next day and you find a way to better.”
How long can this go without Mikko scoring? “I’m not putting blame on Mikko. I don’t want to go down there. We can win a game without Mikko scoring a goal if our team shows up.”
But it’s been 15 of 16 games where he hasn’t scored a goal, and he is your captain? “I agree. Of course we want to score. And you know what? Nobody wants to score more than he does. I know it’s not because he doesn’t care. I know that. Like I said, I don’t lay awake at night thinking Mikko needs to score a goal. What I think about is how is are team going to be ready to play the game the right way. If our team is ready to play the game the right way, we can win games without Mikko scoring. We’ve already won more games than we’ve lost this, and like you said, he’s only got one goal, so to me, my biggest concern is how’s our team going to come out. From the drop of the puck tomorrow, are we going to be ready to play?”
What do you think happened? “It’s too early to analyze that. You’re in the moment, and like you said, a lot of things went wrong.”
Why spend so much time in the D zone? “I don’t know. Like I said, it’s too early to analyze that. Like you said, a lot of things went wrong. So not only the D zone. Obviously we’re not spending time in the O zone.”
As frustrating a loss as you’ve had? “My whole career. No! Not even close.”
Why’s that? “Been playing hockey for 20 years, so I’ve had worse games than that – and bigger.”
“There’s no excuses. You’ve got to come out and compete. It’s inexcusable. We’ve got to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
“We’ve got to come out with a lot better effort than that.”
Warren Peters major, and it was downhill from there? “It was downhill all the way from the start of the game. We weren’t ready to play. We were standing there watching. We made it way too easy for them tonight. They came hard and we weren’t ready to play a hard game. A team with skill like that, they want time with the puck, and we gave it to them. They just took it to us all night. It wasn’t good enough for us. We weren’t ready.”
“We weren’t ready. We weren’t ready for the game. We weren’t jumping on loose pucks, we weren’t winning battles, we weren’t playing our system. Just mentally and physically, we weren’t ready for the game. It was just way, way too easy for them to play.”
As bad as a game as you guys have played in your 2 years here? “Yeah, yeah, not a pretty game. Obviously, we don’t have any real answers. We have to figure it out in a hurry. We’ve got a big one tomorrow.”
Why was it so easy for them in your own end? “I don’t think there’s one simple thing. It was a number of things and it just all added up to a terrible game. I don’t know.”
Major turn game around? “we were on our heels before that anyways. It’s frustrating to get that at that point where you’re still in the game and have an opportunity to win. That’s a tough one, for sure.”
On Wild’s lack of scoring? “You have to score goals if you’re going to win games. We know that. We’re not doing the things to score regardless. We’re not getting it done. There’s no real secrets or anything. We’re just not getting it done. We have to play our game, and we’re just not playing very well.”
Lastly, Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper got to watch tonight's game from the press box with injured Mike Lundin and Stoner. In a neat thing, the Wild recalled Kuemper from ECHL Ontario (Calif.) so he can take the ice during the Wild's optional morning skate Sunday at Anaheim's Honda Center.
That means Kuemper, 21, the Western Hockey League's Player and Goalie of the Year last season, will earn his first NHL paycheck and a day's per diem before being reassigned -- likely Monday.
Talk to you Sunday. Unless the Wild calls up a player, I'll blog right after our availability with players and coach Mike Yeo right before gametime.