Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Wild's road winless skid hits double digits

Posted by: Michael Russo under On the road, Wild game coverage Updated: January 17, 2012 - 10:35 PM

Great news folks. The Red Wings beat Dallas in a shootout, meaning the Wild's still in eighth!

Boy, that was close. If the Stars would have won, that would have meant in one calendar month, the Wild would have gone from first in the entire NHL to 9th in the West. 

Yes, on Dec. 17, the Wild was last No. 1 in the league. It's late on Jan. 17, and the Wild almost was out of a playoff spot. That would have been quite incredible to freefall out that quickly.

Give em time though -- sadly, if you're a Wild fan.

Four playoff outsiders are within two points and the Wild's game is completely missing and tonight it looked like their will was defeated, too. The bench was sad and deflated, frustration was visible to the naked eye, the Wild lost its discipline, whether it was discipline with the puck or its game (line changes and puck support and things like that) and actual discipline (Cal Clutterbuck running around taking penalties; he took 4, 7 in the past 5 games and declined to talk after).

Players were snapping at each other in the locker room. Players had no answers.

This is beyond alarming and I just don't see any way this team gets it back.

Mike Yeo is starting to sound like a broken record. Dany Heatley's not even getting chances anymore (no shots tonight), Matt Cullen's trying to do so much, he was almost a liability at times tonight (minus-2), Marek Zidlicky's just killing them (minus-3, the missed shot that turned the game because it led to a shorthanded goal winner as rooks Sean Couturier and Matt Read teamed up.

Zidlicky's got zero goals. I mean, do you keep playing him on the outside chance that he will one day actually help your power play? He certainly isn't now. And tonight, we watch Philly generate three goals from its blue line, one on a blast, two on little wristers.

I don't know what Chuck Fletcher does. I don't know at this point if he should do anything. A little trade or one player addition isn't going to save this season at this point. There are just too many holes. 

The Wild is a fragile, defeated team right now. The Wild is fractured, and like I said, I just don't see how this swoon ends.

It's lost 14 of 16. It has lost 10 in a row on the road. It has to work so excruciatingly hard just to generate scoring chances, and then when it does, it just doesn't have the guys to finish.

The Flyers had a field day tonight. They played a complete 60-minute game. Even when the Wild seemed to be playing well, it looks at the scoreboard and is down 1-0. Then it takes one bad thing, and the game unravels. Even when Darroll Powe makes it 2-1, the Wild give the two-lead right back.

"Obviously bad things are going to happen, but one bad thing shouldn’t turn into 10 bad things," said a pale, almost emotionless Kyle Brodziak.

Not good. I'm concussed and ready to go back to the hotel. Talk to you from Toronto

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