I promised an Optional Skate today, and that might come later. Maybe even be pushed to Saturday.
But there are a few more pressing concerns with the team right now. Stupid finals are making me behind in the news.
First of all, my take on the one points out of four on Tuesday and Wednesday: It doesn’t concern me too much. The Wild outshot Winnipeg, and were one off Chicago’s shot total on Wednesday. The winning streak was going to end, and to get seven wins in between losses is something any hockey team will take. The loss at Chicago hurts a bit, but the Wild at least took a point. Sometimes Pat Kane beats your goalie in the shootout like he’s a cab driver. It happens.
What is really concerning are the injuries. Last year, we saw Koivu go down and the Wild’s playoff spot completely collapse. I don’t feel that the loss of Koivu is enough to kill the team this year, and he’s only out for a short amount of time (but definitely tomorrow, which makes me sad) anyway. Bouchard is out after getting his face beat messed-up by a
dirty, suspendable questionable hit by Zach Bogosian, and he should be. Any hit to the head like that has to be treated differently with Bouchard, it’s just not worth the risk of losing him for the year. Especially after the way Latendresse’s concussion went. I’m not a doctor, and I’m not in the locker room, so I have no idea what the doctors saw, or what Latendresse told the doctors. However, from this Gui quote Russo dug out from Tuesday night–
Concussions are not fun. If I get a headache, I’m like, ‘Is that [the concussion]?’ Every day I have something, I’m like, ‘Oh, is it that?’ At some point you have to get over it, go forward and play. I think that’s how you feel better. But I feel good.
it seems like the situation was botched. I’m not blaming anyone, but if Gui was still having even slight symptoms, he shouldn’t have been on the ice. Look, we all love hockey players. Almost all of them, even Gaborik, want to play, want to earn their keep. It’s one of their most endearing traits. But sometimes, you can’t. Hockey is too dangerous to risk your brain when it’s most vulnerable, which is when you still are recovering from a concussion. It’s not as easy as saying “you have to get over it, go forward and play”, that’s not how you feel better. Lets hope that Gui recovers soon, and that when he does come back, he is 100% over the concussion.
But throw those three with Setoguchi (knee injury from a week ago), and Wellman, who is playing with a wrist injury that’s ruining his shot, according to Russo, and we’re seeing 5 of our top 7 “Top 6” forwards hurt badly or out altogether right now. Latendresse and Setoguchi’s seem the most serious, but it’s hard not to be nervous about Bouchard. If Butch, Wellman and Koivu can manage to get healthy soon, then the Wild should be fine, just plug Clutterbuck, Johnson, or Powe into the empty Top 6 role. If even one of those three are out for a while, though, the Wild are basically missing an entire scoring line for a while. That’s obviously not good.
We’ll truly get to see the power of Yeo now. If he can handle these injuries like they’re nothing, he should be praised as Bylsma-esque.
In other news, Boston University’s Charlie Coyle, my (and everyone else’s) number two prospect from before the season (It went Granlund, Coyle, Scandella, Zucker, Hackett, Brodin, Larsson, Phillips, Kuemper, Wellman. Will be updated after the WJC), has left BU today and will be joining the St. John Sea Dogs. First Round Bust was all over this this morning, and in case you missed it, here’s their article. Instead of parroting their info, I’m just going to give my take on it.
As a college student myself, I can appreciate Coyle’s desire to drop out to focus on hockey. Even if rumors over his academic eligibility aren’t true (he says they aren’t), trying to succeed in school can be a draining, taxing thing, and combining that with an extracurricular that is a time vampire can be brutal. Hell, if the Wild had and X million dollar contract waiting for me to blog for them, this blog would be my focus, not my German Cinema paper. It seems like academic pressures are the problem, and it’s not hard to see how that could be a part of why Coyle isn’t dominating the college level like I thought he would.
If what he needs right now is to go to St. John, that’s fine with me. He could slide into a Top 6 role, potentially Huberdeau’s line. If he can do that, he should be able to light it up, regain his confidence, and be ready for Houston next year.
I know a lot of people want him to be in Houston right now, and it’s tempting, now that the Wild is so injury-plagued, but I don’t. Let him play in the World Juniors, let him play in the Q, and let him dominate again before having him go to the A.
So, that’s that for the Whirlwind World of Wild Hockey. Hopefully the news will be better next week.