Going to make this brief because I've got a drive back to the airport, a car to return and a 6 a.m. flight ahead of me.
As it normally is in front of Josh Harding, the Wild was flat as a pancake tonight, losing 1-0 to Chris Mason and the Blues. The Wild was outshot 18-4 through one, 28-9 through 2, 37-19 through 3. But Harding made 36 saves -- several huge ones to give the Wild a chance.
The Wild didn't reward their goalie. Erik Johnson and Mike Weaver saved a couple goals with huge blocks, Mason made some nice saves, but the Wild generated very little tonight as its four-game win streak ends. The team headed to Phoenix after the game and scrapped practice Friday as coach Todd Richards recognized tired legs.
Paging Colie Campbell, but you're being summoned again. Andrew Ebbett left the arena tonight in a neck brace because of neck, back and shoulder spasms after T.J. Oshie, who scored the lone goal 26 seconds into the third, executed a textbook slewfoot. Referees Kevin Pollock and Ian Walsh didn't think so. If they did, Oshie would have gotten a match penalty and the Wild a five-minute power play in a 1-0 deficit.
One of the most dangerous hits I've seen. Oshie grabbed across Ebbett's chest, swept his legs out from under him and Ebbett's head slammed against the ice while he crashed into the boards. Ebbett tried to soften the blow with his shoulders and back, he said, which is why he thinks he's paying the price now. Better than head smacking directly against the ice, however.
Pretty huge non-call. Wild didn't even get a power play out of it because the holding minor on Oshie -- one Richards claimed was told to him by the refs would not have been called if there wasn't a scrum after -- was offset by Derek Boogaard's roughing minor.
Ebbett doesn't think he's had a recurrence of the concussion that knocked him out of the lineup for five games in December, but he couldn't move his head after the game. Read the quotes in the gamer.
We'll see what Campbell thinks of it.
I'll let the gamer do the rest of my talking. It was just one of those flat, second of back-to-back's for the Wild. Very predictable. They just didn't have their legs tonight. Not an excuse. But it was obvious early. As I said on Twitter when Oshie scored, "That'll be all she wrote for the Wild tonight." Or something like that.
I'll talk to you when I get to Arizona some time in the afternoon your time Friday if there's any Wild news or an Ebbett update. But like I said, the Wild's not practicing.
Lastly, thanks to the Vancouver writers, who sent me Alain Vigneault and Darcy Hordichuk reax today from Derek Boogaard's claims in Thursday's Star Tribune that Hordichuk told him Vigneault sent Hordy and Bolduc out to fight. As you can see, denied, but not denied. The contention is that Hordichuk might have said it, which Vigneault believes, but it just was Hordichuk's way to get Boogaard to oblige him. Here's the quotes.
-- did he tell his players to fight?
I never did say that. At the end of the day, I probably believe Boogaard on this one. It wouldn't surprise me if Hordy told him: 'Coach told me I had to fight.' It must have been a real intellectual conversation. How smart can you be to go after a guy who is six-foot-[eight] like that, real strong, real tough?
-- what did hordichuk say
I had a conversation with him; he told me he didn't remember what he said. I had a conversation with Colin Campbell because I'm on speed dial lately. I just told Coley, I never said that but he [Hordichuk] might have said that. I sort of believe Boogaard on this one.
When I played, you couldn't turn down a fight. The game is different now. For some players, it's tougher for them to find dancing partners. I'm sure they come up with some creative stuff, and this is just another one of those creative things.
-- on faceoff vs. Boogaard
"He wouldn't look at me. Second period, I called him like, 'Boogie, that's twice you've punched me in the scrum. If you want to fight, we'll square off.' That's why off the draw, I was saying 'We're going, we're going.' At the same time, I'm trying to get a reaction from him to see what he's doing. He'd just laid out two of our best players on the team [with bodychecks]. When a guy is 6-8, 275 pounds running around when it's 5-2, I have to respond. That's my role, that's my job. What else am I here for? You think I'm going to score goals?
You know how it is when guys are chirping and things are said. AV is the last guy who would ever send a player [to fight]. He knows I know my role. Everybody knows their role. I don't need somebody to say, 'Hey, Darcy, how about this guy?' That's what keeps me in the league. I'm willing to fight the Boogaards, the McGrattans. There's a lot of guys in the same position as me who maybe won't. This is my livelihood.
-- so did he say that vigneault sent him out?
I can't remember what I said. Guys talk [stuff] all the time. You just say stuff.