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Wild subjects NHL to a lot more Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks in playoffs

  • Blog Post by: Michael Russo
  • April 10, 2011 - 10:12 PM

Check out the fan behind Marc Crawford after Pierre-Marc Bouchard's empty-net goal.

Now, that was suave. Uh, what she says.

Actually, as far as I'm concerned, tonight was payback folks.

No, no, not for Norm Green snagging your beloved North Stars and moving 'em to Dallas. I'm talking more recent.

It was on March 11 in Dallas where I declared on Twitter that the Wild's 2010-11 season officially ended that night. Back-to-back 4-0 losses in Nashville and Dallas after clobbering Colorado at home, 5-2, to begin that four-game trip.

The losses emotionally crippled the Wild, and that would be all she wrote as the Wild wound up swept on the 4-game trip that continued in Vancouver and San Jose, then returned home to lose to Columbus, Montreal, Toronto and St. Louis.

So effectively, redemption. Dallas ended the Wild's season. The Wild ended Dallas' season.

And in the process, the defending Stanley Cup champ Chicago Blackhawks return to the playoffs against the team they love to beat in the postseason, Vancouver, meaning we could be hearing the Fratelli's Chelsea Dagger for another, who knows, how long.

Jose Theodore made 26 saves in what may have been his last game with the Wild. He had some funny stuff to say to me after the game, so check out the paper. He also said he feels he's done everything he can do to prove he warrants being a No. 1 in this league, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Selfishly, I'd love to see him back because the dude is a class act and I thoroughly enjoyed getting a chance to cover him. But he deserves and should be a No. 1.

What I think he should do and the Wild should do is this: There's going to be lots of goalies available this summer to back up Niklas Backstrom. The Wild could still get a quality backup even if it waits until mid to late July. Give Theodore a window to look for a No. 1 job. If he can't find one, leave that spot open for Theodore. He said in his mind, the door is still open and he'd like to return because he loved it here. But he feels he owes it to himself to check his options first.

And no, with two years left on his contract at $6 million annually, don't email me that the Wild simply need to trade Backstrom. Ain't happening.

Antti Miettinen, the former Star, stuck a dagger in his old team's heart with the eventual winner. As you can see on the above video, he got behind Brenden Morrow and buried it on Andrew Brunette's 450th career assist. Check out Morrow's quote on that play in the paper.

Brad Staubitz scored four goals in his final 11 games after none before this year, and he said he hopes to keep growing as a player. Jared Spurgeon capped off his great rookie campaign with a goal for a second straight game. Check this stat: 2 penalty minutes in 53 games averaging 15 minutes. That says everything you need to know about him. How the heck can you play that many games and minutes without hooking and holding and obstructing as a defenseman. He's just a smart, mobile player who gets the puck out of trouble and up the ice.

The Wild's going to have potentially Spurgeon and Clayton Stoner next year at 500K and change. For a very expensive blue line, that's big. The Wild has seven returning defensemen and wants to create a spot for Marco Scandella, so one's got to think a defenseman will be moved this summer.

Can't see it being Greg Zanon and I think it'll be hard to trade Nick Schultz and Cam Barker. Marek Zidlicky has a modified no-trade clause. So that leaves Brent Burns, who's a year from free agency.

Colton Gillies was fast, finished checks, brought energy and scored his first NHL goal since Feb. 2009 tonight. He made a good showing in his brief callup, and I see him making a push for a roster spot next year.

By the way, Gillies, Spurgeon, Drew Bagnall, Carson McMillan and Maxim Noreau were all sent to Houston, where it begins the playoffs Wednesday against Peoria. Scandella is down there, too.

What else? Wild, barring winning Tuesday's draft lottery to move up four spots (2.1 percent chance of that), will pick 10th in the June 24-25 draft here. Also, the Central Scouting Service's Final draft-eligible player rankings come out Monday.

The Wild will have player availability on Monday morning, so I'll be back on later in the afternoon with a fresh blog.

Regarding Todd Richards, I wrote a big story on him for the paper, so check that out. No sense in rehashing that.

Also, if you didn't read the analysis in Sunday's paper, here it is.

That's it for me. Glum day as usual when the season ends and there's no postseason.

I hope you enjoyed the Star Tribune's Wild coverage this season.

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