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Postgame: Wild reverts, takes step back at Chicago

  • Blog Post by: Michael Russo
  • January 12, 2012 - 11:28 PM

Just a beyond frustrating team.

The Wild talks a good game, talks about bottling things up, talks about building blocks and taking the good it creates in games, like the big win against San Jose on Tuesday, into the next.

And then it puts forth that display tonight.

Looks like world beaters in the first seven minutes, and then just completely abandoning its system for the majority of the rest of the hockey game. How's it possible to be all over the puck the way it was for the first seven minutes and forecheck like they did for the first seven minutes and then just lack urgency and sense and execution the rest of the way?

Mike Yeo is sick of it. Sick of the turnovers, sick of the erratic play. The Wild's 2-9-3 in its past 14. It's 0-7-1 in its past eight on the road -- the longest road winless skid since Todd Richards' first eight road games as coach in 2009.

Well, they better figure it out because the next three are on the road and seven of the next nine.

"We’ve got to put it between our ears right now and we’ve got to get it in there really hard of how we’re going to do things and how the game is going to be played from start to finish, and we’ve got to commit to doing that," Yeo said.

And

“Let’s decide right now,” Yeo said. “We all talk about the playoffs, and that’s nice. But you don’t talk your way into the playoffs. This is when playoff teams are made -- right now, when it’s hard.
“If we hope it’s going to be easy, it’s not going to happen. It’s time we decide, ‘Do we want to make this happen,’ and start doing it.”

The laundry list of players who didn't show: Mikko Koivu, on the day he made his first All-Star Game, was invisible. No shots. 14 of 24 faceoff losses. Dany Heatley one shot. Matt Cullen minus-3. Tough game for Justin Falk. Darroll Powe turnover leads to momentum-turning Nick Johnson penalty. Nick Schultz and Warren Peters defending Andrew Brunette -- leaving Jimmy Hayes -- all alone because Jared Spurgeon leaves the front of the net. Casey Wellman, not the same player as Tuesday.

And Greg Zanon and Clayton Stoner -- man. Three goals against, and stars on the last two, especially the Viktor Stalberg winner when Jonathan Toews just brushes off a Stoner check and Zanon was caught in la-la land when he should have been smothering Stalberg.

Zanon, a leader on this team and 31, refuses to talk about his individual play of late and did so again tonight. I've got to think Mike Lundin is unfastened and plays in St. Louis or maybe they bring back Nate Prosser or Marco Scandella.

I don't know, but games and points are too critical right now and when you have arguably two better defensemen in the minors and one in the press box than some of the guys on the NHL ice, something needs to be done. That's just my opinion though. I know Scandella was a bit of train wreck lately with goals being scored when he was out there nightly. And I know Prosser had a very tough game in Vancouver.

But tonight, Zanon and Stoner really struggled. There was one shift in the first period when the Blackhawks' third line did circles around the two of them and the Wild's fourth line for a minute.

And that was what was so frustrating about tonight. It wasn't Kane and Toews and Hossa that roasted the Wild.

It was Andrew Shaw. And Jimmy Hayes and David Bolland.

Devin Setoguchi, one game after being scratched, scored in the first period. He had a massive fist pump afterward. But he said after it all meant nothing because of the 5-2 loss.

Just a big step back after Tuesday for a team that could be eighth at night's end if LA wins (they're losing to Dallas right now 3-2 in the 2nd). The Wild's got a ton of tough games coming up, mostly on the road, and this is a team that's proven to be brutal on the road. Amazing, but they once upon a time were the best road team in the NHL.

Talk to ya from St. Loueeeee.

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