The Wild continued their four-game road trip Tuesday with a 3-1 loss in San Jose. They bounced back on Thursday with a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche who Wild fans will remember wrecked their playoff run last season. The Wild wrapped up their road series last night with a 2-0 loss at Vancouver. The 2-2 voyage wasn't all that bad as Niklas Backstrom continued his superb play with little offensive support. And there truly was just no getting by Cannucks' netminder, Roberto Loungo, who earned his third straight shutout and fifth of the season by blanking the Wild on Saturday. Seriously though, how long can Minnesota keep up playing this well without Marian Gaborik, Owen Nolan, and Brent Burns?
Backstrom can only do so much, eventually the Wild are going to need to put some pucks in the net if they are to remain competitive. They've fallen to second place in the Northwest division, one point behind Vancouver.
In off-ice coverage, both dailies' sports sections deserve credit for thoroughly examining the issue of the how the NHL requires teams to report players' injuries. Unlike requirements in other major sports leagues, the NHL has new rules that allow the GMs to be very selective in the language their assets' boo-boos. Wild star Marian Gaborik, who is also angling for a fat contract, for instance, has missed more than ten games with a "lower body injury." That's it. That's all anybody gets to know about where Gabby is aching. Basically, the General Managers say it keeps other teams from knowing players' weaknesses and exploiting them, but writers and fans are beginning to call 'bullshit.' First, as Michael Russo at the Strib notes after asking other NHL beat writers, only about half the teams in the league are using the vague descriptions. Russo also aptly points out that fans are shelling out dough for tickets while watching their 401(k)s become worthless and hoping to hold on to their jobs. It seems reasonable to expect that a bit of information about the hurt salaries that the fans are partially paying for. The Pioneer Press's Brian Murphy does some serious reporting for a piece on the same issue. He even breaks down injury release info guidelines for the NFL to compare to the NHL. He writes:
...a four-page document instructs NFL clubs to disclose how much an injured player practiced during the week and update his playing status on a sliding scale of probable (virtual certainty), questionable (50-50 chance) and doubtful (75 percent no).
The Gophers men's hockey team got a win and a tie in an important game at home against the New Hampshire Wildcats. In a 6-2 triumph on Saturday, the Gophers racked up three goals in two and half minutes in the third period. The series was impressive for the No. 4 undefeated Gophers, who might see a bump in the rankings.
The Vikings looked at times good and bad in the border battle with Green Bay yesterday afternoon. After letting the Pack take the lead in the second half, the Vikings found late salvation in running back Adrian Peterson, who scampered for 192 yards including a 29-yard touchdown dash late in the fourth quarter giving the Vikes a one-point lead. Green Bay got the ball back and stalled, leaving kicker Mason Crosby a 52-yard field goal for the win. Crosby missed, the Vikings exhaled. The defense, supported surprisingly by injured defensive end Jared Allen, slammed the crap out of Packer's QB Brian Rodgers for four sacks and two safeties.
In a piece that was both funny and sad, the Press's Brian Murphy (wow two mentions in one blog post!) writes about the fans too drunk for their own good at the Dome on Sunday. There's nothing like getting amped up for a game then ralphing all over your Vikes jersey.
The U lost its second straight game on Saturday. Looking, well, bad, against Michigan, the Gophers were denied ownership of the Little Brown Jug once again, by falling 29-6. Let's all take a deep breath and remember last year's dismal 1-11 record and be content with the progress the U has made this season. Deep... cleansing... why the hell can't you beat the weak Michigan Wolverines and reclaim that friggin' jug?!?!?!!111!!! breath.
The Timberwolves lost twice. I have nothing to say about it really. But go here if you want to read more. Keep tissues close by, they lost a tear-jerker to San Antonio in double OT.