5 - Donut!

Wow... What a way to start the season for our hometown boys. The Wild put their balls on the table and ran away with a convincing victory in St. Paul tonight.

While it's dangerous to try to glean too much from one game, it's hard not to get excited about such a dominating performance. Especially when a goalie with Semyon Varlamov's past is chased from the game. Here are some takeaways from tonight's game.

Just Trying to Capture the Spirit of the Thing.

Because it's hockey season!

After a week from hell in the NFL, it's great to have hockey back. At today's open practice and scrimmage, I was able to take my son to the X for the first time. He was more interested in his cheese bread after a while, and that's to be expected, but his initial exposure to live NHL action was exciting. Seeing it from the perspective of a parent for the first time caused memories to come flooding back.

We've all had that memorable experience of walking into an NHL rink for the first time and as you walk through the threshold, you see the ice for the first time. You see the bright lights perfectly showcasing the milky white ice as the players skate around at impossible speeds. You hear pucks hit the boards and skates cut into the ice.  You smell the pizza, popcorn, and that distinct "hockey smell". And you feel the excitement of the arena. The overwhelming sensory experience caused my son's eyes to grow wide and he let out an "ooooooh". He looked back at me and wanted to rush down the stairs to get closer to the action. It reminded me why I love hockey and why I want Calvin to be a hockey fan whether he decides to play or not.

Paul Deutsch moves up Wild goalie depth chart

With the news that Josh Harding is sidelined Tuesday with an off-ice ankle injury prior to training camp, emergency Wild goaltender Paul Deutsch moves up the depth chart.

Deutsch, 54, last suited up for Minnesota in November 2011 at home against Nashville. Acting as Harding's backup in pregame warm-ups due to Niklas Backstrom attending the birth of his child, Deutsch served in his role until new backup Matt Hackett could arrive from Houston.

Listen to Dan talk draft & free agency on the Hockey Wilderness Podcast

Longtime readers may have noticed that we didn't do anything draft-related (or really anything for the last 7-9 months), one of our staples, for the 2014 NHL Draft last month. No "18 for 18," no insight on Minnesota draft-eligible players. In a way it's too bad because for once in the long, sad misguided attempts here I would have gotten the next first rounder. (Not that y'all believe me, however, incoming Boston College freshman Alex Tuch fits the mold of a Chuck Fletcher selection.)

The next best thing to get your fix is to listen to Dan on the Hockey Wilderness Podcast talk the Draft (and him attending it in Philadelphia), Minnesota's selections, Free Agency and what he's up to nowadays.

Do it? Do it. No seriously. Why are you reading this still. I'm just pointing out you should click the link above and listen to the podcast. That's it. This sentence is pointing that out. Why aren't you believing me? Click the ****ing link. Or click it here, I don't care.


Thomas Vanek comes home to pomp, circumstance & not especially extraordinary expectations

It's over. He's coming home. He's coming home.

In what is the most choreographed ending to Minnesota free agency since Andrew Brunette signed a 3 year contract minutes after he was allowed to in 2008, former University of Minnesota forward Thomas Vanek made it official by signing a three-year, $19.5 million contract ($6.5M cap hit) with the Wild.

Now the real fun begins.

It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like The Postseason

No need to come a little closer. Six games between Minnesota and Colorado have made us a little crazy (crazier?). Six games have brought two teams and fanbases to the boiling point, or what the NHL postseason is supposed to be.

For the first time in years, there is no "we're happy to be here" feeling and instead the Minnesota Wild are hours away from participating in a winner-take-all Game 7 where there is no love lost.

There hasn't been any love for games.

Fugitive Air

Matt Cooke is going to be suspended by this time tomorrow for his Game 3 knee on knee hit that left Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie out for the next month or more. If we're being honest with ourselves, he probably deserves to be sitting.

That's the tough part: being honest on the subject of Matt Cooke.

How We Land

Wait...wait...wait...wait...wait...wait..wait..worse things have happened to better people. That's the mantra.

With the weather in Minnesota striving to reach zero and the number of clothing layers on the rise, the above lyrics ring true as one year comes to a close another begins anew. Somewhere, someone is in worse shape, or at least that is how things feel. It has to be true. It does. It may even be a lie, but it is the mindset.

But weather aside, things are not looking up for the Minnesota Wild.

Summing up 2013 in 150 Words

Lockout, lockout, lock...over. NHL comes back and both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter make their Wild debuts. So does Finnish Baby Jesus, who gets to know Houston well. Bye bye Matt Hackett and Johan Larsson. Hello Jason Pominville's population. Playoffs. Yes we talkin' 'bout playoffs. First time in five years last just five games. Aeros move to Iowa. Suter almost wins Norris. No 2013 "First Round Bust," just a solid 2010 Isles version. Backstrom re-signs. No PMB, Cullen, Clutter, Seto, no problem. Matt Cooke signing freaks everyone out for a month. Former Gopher Keith Ballard. Waste August. A real start to the season is nice. Josh Harding continues to be the best story in hockey. Great start to the year, not so great end to it. Tough teams are tough. Heatley is in every person's dog house. Yeo's seat gets hotter. Erik Haula wore a Wild sweater. Good times.

(For a look back, here is the 2012 and 2010 versions - I guess I got lazy in 2011 and didn't do a summary.)

Prospect Viewing: Avery Peterson

(Helen Nelson)
Avery Peterson, Center/Wing
Grand Rapids HS/Sioux City (USHL)
6'2"201 Pounds 6/20/1995
Sixth Round, 167th Overall 2013 Entry Draft

The Edina Holiday Classic took place 12/19-12/21 last week, and it annually features the host Hornets, Eden Prairie, Elk River, and Grand Rapids. It is a treat for fans and scouts alike, as usually there is an abundance of talent on display, all the way from Phase I USHL candidates like ER's Matt Kiersted and Edina's Kiefer Bellows- to legit NHL Draft Prospects like EP's Luc Snuggerud and Edina's Tyler Nanne. 
A treat for us Wild fans was that one of their 6th round picks, Avery Peterson, was in town to play for his hometown Grand Rapids.