Lockout Patience Will Pay Off For Wild

I just want my hockey.

We all just want our hockey.

It’s incredibly frustrating to see that, for the second time in eight years, we have to put up with this bullshit. The NHL is abusing the players and abusing the fans by exploiting every loophole to spend as much money as possible on contracts, only to cry poor and take that money away from the players, and hockey away from us. Fuck Gary Bettman. He’s the worst. If he spends eternity having his liver eaten daily by an eagle that constantly sings Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”, I will consider it a light punishment. At least Prometheus did something to benefit the Greek version of the 99%, while Bettman puts the manic, irrational whims of the gods above any benefit the hockey community might receive.

But, alas, wiser, better people than I have said “Fuck Gary Bettman, I’d like to put him in a giant paper shredder.” better than I. This isn’t really about that. This is about enduring. Patience. Concerning our prospect development, this lockout might end up being a blessing in disguise.

So, make the jump, fans, and endure.

Continue reading

Previewing the Wild Junior Championships

NHL Prospect rankings are hard. Maybe harder than any other sport.

Obviously that’s might not be entirely true, there is a lot of trial and error when it comes to evaluating minor league talent, a lot of hits and misses with any sport, except maybe top two picks in the NBA. The difficulty in hockey talent evaluations is that you’re dealing with 17 year old kids when they’re drafted- the youngest of any sport. But even the NFL, which waits until the age of 20 to draft prospects, has a lot of trouble evaluating talent.

A huge reason for this is because you’re dealing with human beings, and with the slight exception of hockey experts calling the Wild boring, you can never really predict what human beings are going to do.

But that’s just drafting. At least baseball prospects are in the same minor leagues as everyone else, and football and basketball players make the leap to the highest levels right away. Hockey prospects are all over the world, playing all kinds of different talent levels. We can all figure out that Mikael Granlund’s 38 points in 32 SM-Liiga games are pretty damn valuable. But what’s more impressive? Zack Phillips’ 54 points in 32 games playing against kids his own age in Juniors, or Johan Larsson’s 23 points in 31 games in the Sweedish Elite League? It’s kind of hard to say.

And therein lies the beauty of the World Junior Championships. For a magical two weeks, all the top prospects are on a level playing field. Even in a small sample size, we can still glean quite a bit of information from this tournament. With the Wild sending six prospects to the WJCs next week, let’s break down the prospects participating, and what to expect from them. Continue reading

My First (and Last) Parise Post

I’ve been seeing it float around for a while. It’s actually starting to get tiresome.

Zach Parise is our LeBron, and we (the Wild faithful) are the Knicks fans.

The buzz for the Wild is that in the offseason, they’ll be making a play for native Minnesotan, current New Jersey Devil, and upcoming Free Agent Zach Parise. And really, why wouldn’t that buzz be there? Minnesota hockey is a proud tradition in Minnesota- in fact, along with Mitch Hedberg, Hockey is arguably Minnesota’s finest export, and it would be nice for the Minnesota Wild to have their own version of Neal Broten. Not to mention that it’s nice to be able to root for your favorite team’s best players and your country in the Olympics at the same time.

But, even the most dedicated aficionado of Minnesota-raised talent would agree that the most intriguing reason to sign Parise is this: When healthy, he’s one of the ten best players in the NHL. In 08-09, Parise scored 45 goals and finished 5th in the league in points (94), and in 09-10, he scored 82 points, good for 15th in the NHL. Combine this with his well-regarded two-way play (unlike his teammate Ilya LOLvalchuk), and there’s really not much discussion, he’s one of the best.

The negative with Parise isn’t much, but injuries derailed his 10-11 year, and he’s off to a slow start on a mediocre Devils team.

Anyway, like I said before, this is a fairly regular topic for Wild fans. I and a few other Wild fans are sick of hearing the message and comment boards overfill with “OH MAN, WE JUST NEED PARISE AND WE’RE SET!!!!1” posts. I get it. However, the Devils played at the X last night, Parise had a good game, and the local media is buzzing with the possibility of Parise in Iron Range Red. So, this is going to be my only Parise post until 1) The Wild become involved with trade talks for him (which would be asinine, IMO), or 2) He becomes a Free Agent.

Should the Wild make a run at Zach Parise?

This is a move that seems simple on the surface. Yeah. Duh. But let’s look deeper into how a Parise signing affects the Wild, (potentially) now in 12-13 and in the future. Continue reading