Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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A playoff hockey reminder...

Posted by: Jim Souhan under Wild coaching, Wild management, Wild news Updated: April 30, 2013 - 11:52 PM

If you had never seen an NHL playoff hockey game before, Tuesday's night's in United Center would have been a great introduction.

I wrote about Josh Harding for the paper. Here are my thoughts on other topics related to the game:

-Jason Zucker makes some rookie mistakes, but his speed and aggression can win you a game. He drew two penalties on Tuesday night and almost scored the winner off a faceoff in overtime.

-I don't know how Ryan Suter does it. He played a game-high 41:08 Tuesday. The Wild player with the next-highest total ice time was his defensive partner, Jonas Brodin, who played 34:20. And those were all stressful minutes against an excellent team.

Suter was outstanding, and Brodin seems to keep getting better. He's a brilliant skater and remarkably calm with the puck for a rookie.

No Blackhawk was on the ice for more than defenseman Michal Rozsival's 27:11.

-Fatigue could be a big factor in the series. The Blackhawks are deeper and were the superior team after the Wild bottled them up in the first period. I saw Matt Cullen leave the ice with an apparent injury, and he would be a major loss if he can't return for Game 2.

-I actually saw Pierre Marc-Bouchard throw a body check. That's when my cohort Michael Russo said, ``It must be the playoffs.''

-Wild coach Mike Yeo defended his first line after the game. Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle managed a combined five shots. Yeo said they played well defensively, which is true. But the Wild needs scoring from that line and that line was rarely an offensive threat.

-Eden Prairie native and former Wild prospect Nick Leddy wasn't on the ice for any of the goals, and put two shots on net.

-The Wild's lack of size on defense is most evident on the power play. Andrew Shaw spends a lot of time in front of Harding. Suter battled him aggressively, but Jared Spurgeon can't move him.

-The magic question is whether playing so well in Game 1 and losing is a positive or a negative for the Wild. Does it set the tone for a competitive series, or this the Wild getting its best chance to win a game (or a game on the road) and missing its opportunity.

The concern for the Wild is that its players performed extremely well, played physically, blocked a lot of shots and got a tremendous goaltending performance and still lost. Is this team capable of playing like that every night?

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I'll discuss with Judd & Dubay at noon on 1500ESPN every day this week. My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.

 

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