Wild second half opens with dud

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 8, 2012 - 8:44 AM

Instead of getting back on track, it was more of the same, punctuated by old nemesis Jarome Iginla's 500th goal.

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CALGARY, ALBERTA - With Calgary overtaken by the World Junior Championships, the Wild left town for a few days in Banff with the intention of clearing the minds.

The second half began Saturday night against the Flames, and the Wild's hoping to reset the season after a gruesome 11-game stretch destroyed much of what it accomplished in the first 30 games.

Playing against a severely injury-ravaged, struggling team that was lit up for nine by Boston two days prior, the Wild worked hard, got pucks behind Calgary's defense and established some quality forechecks.

But as usual, an inability to finish was the problem for the second-worst offensive team in the NHL as the Wild was beaten 3-1 by largely a minor league cast of Flames at the Saddledome.

Lance Buoma's first NHL goal and Jarome Iginla's 500th highlighted a three-goal third period for the Flames as the free-falling Wild fell to 1-8-3 in its past 12 games.

Dany Heatley scored late to spark a late push, but the Wild's road winless skid since Dec. 10 hit seven (0-6-1). The top team in the NHL for part of November and the first half of December is now in seventh place in the Western Conference -- a point ahead of ninth-place Los Angeles and 10th-place Colorado.

"We're in a tough spot, there's no question about it," captain Mikko Koivu said. "Not a lot of wins lately. It's a process for us, and there were a lot of good things about our game too."

The Wild's objective in Banff was to begin the process of reestablishing its identity of a hard-working, good-defending team.

It won't happen overnight, coach Mike Yeo says. The Wild won't be able to flip a switch and rediscover the exact recipe that helped it win 17 out of 21 at one point.

It will take a string of good periods and games. Saturday may have been a modest start from a work ethic point of view in the first two periods, but it simply cannot score.

The Wild has scored five goals in the past seven road games and is 1-for-29 in the past 11 games on the power play.

General Manager Chuck Fletcher is monitoring the team closely. He admits he's been on the phone a lot with the Feb. 27 trade deadline on the horizon, but he's not looking for "short-term, quick fixes."

"If we do anything, preferably it would be something that makes sense for at least a couple years," he said Friday. "We have a lot of [prospects] coming that I think will be able to play. It's exciting what we're trying to grow here, so I don't think I'm in a hurry to dismantle a lot of what we're trying to build. But you look at everything."

Reportedly, Anaheim is willing to trade one of its core forwards, Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry -- three players Fletcher played a large role in drafting.

"I'm not afraid to be aggressive if we need to be aggressive, but those type of trades are hard to make [in-season]," Fletcher said.

You can bet the Wild is interested in New Jersey's Zach Parise, but most likely as a free agent rather than in a trade. Destroying the Wild's stable of prospects in a trade to get him wouldn't be the smartest way to entice him to commit long-term.

The Wild has a logjam of defensemen. It's also rich in goaltending.

Fletcher said "health will be the biggest determining factor of what we do moving forward."

He's mostly referring to whether or not the Wild can get back Guillaume Latendresse, a go-to scorer when he plays. He's shut down because of a concussion.

"He's one of the few big bodies that we have that can play in offensive situations," Fletcher said. "Hopefully he'll get well. You just don't know. Head injuries you never know. His addition would be a huge boost."

On Nov. 30, the Wild began a stretch of 20 of 29 games on the road, "so you know you're not going to steamroll through it. You know there's going to be bumps along the way," Fletcher said.

"Are you bruised or are you beaten? To me, at the end of the year, the key is not to be defined by what we're going through now. It's to be defined by how we respond to what we're going through now, and there's a lot of character [on this team]."

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  • Recap: Calgary 3, Wild 1

    Sunday January 8, 2012

    STAR TRIBUNE'S THREE STARS1. Jarome Iginla, Flames: Goal No. 500 deflected off Mikko Koivu's skate, but it was the winner.2....

  • Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom looked back at the puck as Mikko Koivu crashed into him Saturday night. The goal was Calgary's second of the third period -- and the 500th of Jarome Iginla's career, all with the Flames.

  • CALGARY 3, WILD 1

    Up next: vs. San Jose • 6:30 p.m. Tuesday • Xcel Energy Center • TV: NBCSN (100.3-FM)

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Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta 1 Bottom 11th Inning
Cincinnati 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City 5 Bottom 8th Inning
Texas 3
Pittsburgh 8 Bottom 8th Inning
Milwaukee 2
Detroit 5 Bottom 6th Inning
Minnesota 7
Miami 6 Top 7th Inning
Colorado 4
San Diego 0 Top 5th Inning
Arizona 4
LA Angels 1 Bottom 3rd Inning
Oakland 1
NY Mets 1 Top 4th Inning
Los Angeles 1
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 4th Qtr 0:33
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 7 4th Qtr 10:44
Green Bay 31
Chicago 0 2nd Qtr 12:01
Seattle 14
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
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Real Salt Lake 0 2nd Half 25:00
FC Dallas 1
Montreal 13 13:00
Winnipeg 11
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
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Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
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Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 34 3rd Qtr
Phoenix 35
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