Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
This time the old boss, Todd Richards, was able to view the prototypical Minnesota Wild second period disappearing act from the cozy confines of the Columbus bench; in a what is probably a bittersweet moment for Richards, he was able to enjoy the complete reversal of a strong opening period from Minnesota and watch his new team, Columbus, effectively take over the game with two quick goals in the opening minutes of the second stanza.
Must be something with Minnesota teams, not showing up for the entire length of the game.
And the new boss, Mike Yeo, has to contend with this problem now. This has occured a couple times now in the preseason, where a bantam C team dons the Wild sweaters and goes out for a period and displays a level of ineptitude that not only puts the outcome of the game in question; but the repeated occurrence also effects the season.
Doesn't matter if you got a guy whose scored 50 goals, and other guys who could, you can only come from behind to win only so much. Last year would be proof of that.
Well, not the "having a 50 goal scorer" part.
- Speaking of the top line, I think its pretty easy to look at the production from that line so far this preseason (and I believe they had 3 more points tonight) and say that all will be well; while I think there is certainly some promise to that line, its also imperative that things need to shake out sooner than later; that lines start to gel, roles are established. The sooner that everyone gets on the same page, the better. Considering how difficult it is to make up ground starting post All-Star break, Minnesota can ill afford to stumble out of the gate.
-Without a doubt this is a rather pedestrian group of defensemen (and there will always be surprises, but for now its a "meh" group) but considering that the forwards in front of them have different forms of ammunition at their disposal (offensive ability and jam, respectively) the defense doesn't have to be world beaters; they just have to do their job. Move the puck out of the zone by hook or by crook, and keep the puck out of the net.
Nick Schultz doesn't have to be Bobby Orr. Just be Nick Schultz. It will, however, be interesting to see who steps up on the nights where the top-6 are contained.
- Maybe its something that's flown under the radar, but you have to wonder about our goaltending. Niklas Backstrom hasn't been the same since his Vezina nomination (further credence to the "product of Lemaire's system" theory?) and has battled injuries the last few years. He was part of the reason Minnesota fell on its face during the stretch run; he'd go through periods of games where he was a wall, and other times just brutal. Josh Harding is still largely unproven, despite being a part of the organization for, what, 9-10 years? And he's coming off a major knee injury.
There is every reason to expect The Wild to be a bit slow to go out of the gate, considering some new personnel, system philosophy, and coaching staff. The onus is definitely on the D and the Goalies to keep the team's head above water until there is cohesion.