Thursday, November 12, 2009

Game 16: Minnesota in Tampa

The Wild are all sorts of new this year: New coach, new style, and Havlat in for Gaborik. What's not new? They are still mediocre.

Enemy Blog: Yes, Wild bloggers do exist, in fact I found one last week! Pay your respects to Hitting the Post

The Wild are on a 4 game roadtrip in the East, and after a great Remembrance Day ceremony (that's what we call Nov 11th here in Canada) that the Leafs put on, the Wild put the Leafs back in their place winning 5-2.

The Wild have beat us the last 4 times we've met, but this year is different as they have a Todd Richards as their new coach (former assistant coach for the Sharks), so new style which means at least they are no longer as boring to watch as the Devils anymore.

The Wild are looking to Martin Havlat to start scoring. Great read over here at Hockey Wilderness about his lack of scoring, in fact at this rate he's on pace to score six goals this year (factored over 80 games).

The Lightning have had tons of rest, so Hedman is expected to be back in the lineup. Stamkos, even though he has a run-in with the boards, is also expected to play.

Non game thought: It makes me wonder sometimes why reporters ask questions about events that have clearly come and gone. Yesterday I read that Cristodero asked Ohlund if he thought much of playing against Mikko Koivu tonight. If you didn't know, in 2007 Koivu elbowed Ohlund in the head, and Ohlund retaliated with a two-handed slash which broke Koivu's leg. Ohlund got a 4 game suspension for the slah and Koivu was then out for 24 games.

Yes, Wild fans may never forgive Ohlund for that, but the Wild played the Canucks countless times after Koivu came back since they are in the same division. Nothing really has been said of possible hate between Ohlund and Koivu, so I'm pretty sure this is a non issue now, but thanks for asking DC, must have been a slow news day.

On goaltending, even though I keep hearing that Tocchet is supposed to play Smith and Niitymaki in alternation, this clearly has not happened. Niitymaki has been the better goalie right now, so he'll get another start tonight.

Line-up Notes:
  • Niitymaki is the starter in goal
  • Drew Miller was taken on waivers by the Wings
  • Lines should look like this: Ryan Malone-Vinny Lecavalier-Alex Tanguay, Stephane Veilleux-Steven Stamkos-Marty St. Louis, James Wright-Jeff Halpern-Steve Downie, Todd Fedoruk-Zenon Konopka-Ryan Craig

Game time: 7:30pm ET. On SUN

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