Scoggins: Playoff hatred turns Xcel into a tinderbox

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 24, 2014 - 11:13 AM
hide

Erik Haula (56) and PA Parenteau (15) collided in the first period. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ cgonzalez@startribune.com - April 21, 2014, St. Paul, Minn., Xcel Energy Center, NHL, Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche, Stanley Cup Playoffs round 1, Game 3

Mike Yeo said before Game 3 that his team’s series against the Colorado Avalanche needed some old-fashioned playoff hatred.

Pretty sure that’s not a problem anymore. Matt Cooke took care of that with his left knee.

The general disdain between the Wild and Avs had been percolating long before Cooke planted his knee into Tyson Barrie’s knee, an act that put another suspension on Cooke’s already checkered résumé and left the Avs without a top defenseman for at least a month.

This is where things really become interesting. The Avs are ticked off and would love to pound on their opponent. The Wild likewise would be foaming at the mouth if the roles were reversed. And the referees who will preside over Game 4 haven’t been living in a cave so they’re aware of the mounting tension.

The Wild should invite Michael Buffer to introduce the lineups.

“Everything is earned, and in a seven-game series, it’s kind of who breaks first,” Wild defenseman Clayton Stoner said.

This actually feels like a true playoff series, which wasn’t the case last season when the Chicago Blackhawks matter-of-factly dismissed the Wild in five games. That series offered no real animosity. It felt like five consecutive regular-season games against the same opponent.

This series has been testy from the start, probably because the Wild truly believes it can win and advance. There’s none of that false hope that players peddled last season.

The teams have combined for 10 roughing penalties, two game misconducts and an endless supply of post-whistle scrums. We’ve seen Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson repeatedly punch Zach Parise in the back of the head after he crashed into goalie Semyon Varlamov in Game 2. Even the normally calm Ryan Suter blew his stack late in that second game.

And, of course, Cooke raised the tension to a new level with his knee-to-knee hit on Barrie.

“You have a hatred for the other team,” Wild winger Charlie Coyle said. “It naturally comes out. They give a little push, you give a push back and everything starts. Just playoff hockey. We’re not afraid to shove right back.”

Therein lies an important distinction. Where is that line between being physical and being foolish? Cooke crossed it with his actions.

The Wild’s best hope to win this series is to play a gritty, punishing style that neutralizes Colorado’s speed and skill. Game 3 was a perfect template. But the Wild can’t get swept up in the emotion and become overheated in trying to establish its will.

Yeo felt his team put itself in “vulnerable” positions by crossing that line a few times in Game 3. Cooke’s hit will only draw more scrutiny from the officials.

“We have a lot of respect for most of their guys, almost all of them,” Johnson said. “Both teams are playing hard, but we’re not looking to do anything to the extent [Cooke] did. As far as retribution, no.”

The pressure of playoff hockey sometimes makes guys lose their minds. The first week of this postseason provided a few examples. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville went bonkers protesting a call and grabbed his crotch in the direction of the officials, a move that earned him a $25,000 fine.

We’ve seen two players on separate teams get speared in a place that no man ever wants to be speared. And Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook received a three-game suspension after nearly decapitating St. Louis captain David Backes.

“You’re fighting for a chance at the Cup,” Coyle said. “You put everything you have into it. Sometimes those other emotions come out. But you need to learn to control them.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - J. Lester 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
New England 14 FINAL
Kansas City 41
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Boston
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Ottawa 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Carolina 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Dallas
Colorado 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 9:30 PM
San Jose
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is it the right move to replace Ron Gardenhire?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close