Embedded In TC: Your Minnesota Wild vs. The Detroit Red Wings

After two looooooooooooong days of travel, I made it to the Centre I.C.E. arena in Chartwell, which is essentially a township on the edge of Traverse City. I didn't quite appreciate the popularity of the whole thing; the parking lot was packed.

I ended up parking on the grass. That's how I roll.

There was roughly 10 minutes left in the 2nd period, and Minnesota was up 1-0. I never caught who scored the goal, but sloppy play on The Wild's behalf (a reoccuring theme for the night) led to a tying Red Wings goal. A blue slushie and a bag of popcorn later, I was ready for some puck.

Here's what I gathered of the lines:

Kris Foucault-Zack Phillips-Brett Bulmer
Carter Sandlak-Tyler Graovac-David McIntyre(A)
Mike Kramer-Nathan Burns-Justin Fontaine
Alex Belzile-Taylor Peters-Tyler Maxwell

Chay Genoway-Tyler Cuma(C)
Kris Fredheim-Sam Lofquist
Tyler Busenius-Colton Jobke

Matt Hackett in goal, Darcy Kuemper riding pine.

- The Wild were sloppy. Excruciatingly sloppy. Turnovers, failures to make the simple play (Get the puck out of the zone, getting it deep, etc.) And when you have a puck possession team like Detroit (yes kids, even the Baby Red Wings were scary good with the puck) you get outshot by a 2:1 margin.
- The play was chippy. I walked in right before Tyler Cuma and Joakim (sp?) Andersson had a small scrap (it was broken up quickly) and there was an awful lot of jawing and jostling throughout the game. Carter Sandlak and Willie Coetzee had a tilt within the final minute or so, which I remarked to someone (more on that later) that an instigator, which Coetzee should have gotten, wouldn't cost the Head Coach on the Detroit bench $10,000. I'm sure Mike Babcock, who was there, probably thought the same thing.
- Quick note on two Wings players: Brendan Smith, a defenseman (Wisconsin Badger) and Gustaf Nyquist (Maine Black Bear) were scary good. Let's hope Detroit moves to the Eastern Conference.
- Finally got to see some Brett Bulmer. He's still pretty raw; you can see flashes of what he can be. Got some nice offensive instincts and does some good work along the boards, but still can get outmuscled off of pucks and will try to do too much. His line had some really good shifts, and some were forgettable.
- Tyler Graovac, who didn't play in the Prospect Camp Scrimmages, is a nice little find. Tall and lanky (he and Bulmer are just beanpoles) but he does alot of defensive things right. Takes draws, killed penalties, blocked shots; maybe not a high end player, but maybe a Dave Steckel type. Big hard nosed defensive type.
- You could tell who had some pro experience- Kris Fredheim, Tyler Cuma, Matt Hackett, and David McIntyre all looked like they were able to process the game a bit quicker.
- Speaking of Hackett, and I mentioned it on Twitter; he was a rock. Especially with the Keystone Kops playing in front of him. Calm, poised, played like this was no big deal. Saved Minnesota's ass a number of times.
- KRIS FOUCAULT. Maddening. Just a frustrating player to watch. I mentioned that his line with Bulmer and Phillips controlled play at times, and Foucault was a major catalyst. He's got good puck skills, a great shot, that "look" like he can be a contributor...then he takes a dumb penalty. He did a ton of work to set up Justin Fontaine's goal, then promptly through the puck out of play for a delay of game call on the next shift. Then takes a stupid cross checking penalty...only to dangle through half of Detroit to score a highlight reel game winner. The guy next to me nudges me and just goes "wooooooooooo". I really like what he can be; at times he was so impressive, but he can take selfish penalties and do dumb things on the next shift. Almost like his focus wanes.
- It was nice to see Cuma out there playing. Very Nick Schultz-like, and I hope to hell he can stay healthy for once. He certainly played like a Captain.
- Kyle Medvec was scratched, along with two others. Dylan Willick and Josh Caron maybe?
- It was a who's who there; the area between the two rinks is small- essentially a small corridor. Fans, player personnel types, Coaches, GM's, Ken Hitchcock (shorter than I thought,) Tommy Thompson (a short and odd shaped man, with hair growing out of his ears,) scratched prospects, and other hockey types. Oh hey, there's Ernie Vargas and Paul Charles (the scout who got the shaving cream smear on Becoming Wild,) there's Kirk Maltby from Detroit, there's Chuck Fletcher and Guy Lapointe.

Pretty awesome, I'm glad I was able to catch some hockey tonight- but tomorrow morning I'm gonna write about a really cool experience I had tonight, so be on the look out for that. I plan on writing a couple of posts a day, and Nate and I tentatively have a plan for a live chat some point this week, to make the whole Traverse City experience a bit more interactive for everyone involved.

Have a good night.


  1. Man it would be nice if Tyler Cuma didn't turn out to be yet another FRB. The last time I remember really hearing positive feedback on him was a pre-season game like three years ago. . .

  2. Throwing this out there but maybe the parking lot was full because it was the Red Wings prospects playing a game in Michigan.