“The scouts have done a great job and Bob is just a smart guy. We’re staying levelheaded though. There’s a lot of great teams in the NHL, a lot of teams that can win a playoff series.”
NHL Short Takes
Winter Classic update
The Wild so badly wants a Winter Classic that sources say owner Craig Leipold has changed his tune about an outdoor game.
Previously, Leipold said the Wild was not interested in playing in any of the stadium series games, that the franchise wanted the actual New Year’s Day Winter Classic that is televised on NBC and comes with all the bells and whistles like HBO’s “24/7.”
But Leipold has informed the NHL that the Wild is willing to either play in or host a stadium series game if it would enhance the team’s chances for a Winter Classic.
Besides the Red Wings-Maple Leafs Winter Classic, there are four stadium series outdoor games this season in the NHL — Kings vs. Ducks at Dodger Stadium, Devils vs. Rangers at Yankee Stadium, Islanders vs. Rangers at Yankee Stadium and Penguins vs. Blackhawks at Soldier Field.
Great game, lousy business
Paul Maurice, technically the new interim coach in Winnipeg, discovered a note left on his desk from fired coach Claude Noel.
“It’s really special,” Maurice said. “The point was: There are very special people here. …When you get fired, you’re dealing with a lot of tough emotions and for him to take time, that just shows how much he cares and the quality of the man that he is.”
As Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said, “It’s a great game and a lousy business.”
The Chicago Blackhawks may be a juggernaut, but even they have problems.
1) They’re 4-11 in shootouts. 2) They can’t seem to find a consistent second-line center to play alongside Patrick Kane. They experimented with three in three games last week.
Still, Kane is second in the NHL in scoring.
Wild’s Week ahead
Tuesday: at Dallas, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Thursday: vs. Chicago, 7 p.m. (FSN)