Category Archives: Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild Roster at the Beginning of Free Agent Frenzy

 

Cap Space for the Minnesota Wild from GeneralFanager.com

Cap Space for the Minnesota Wild from GeneralFanager.com

The Minnesota Wild’s 2014-15 season ended with a sweep from the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. A lot of people reacted saying the Wild had a long way to go to become contenders in the NHL and need to make big changes to get there.

The 2014-15 Minnesota Wild was the best in the NHL in the 2nd half of the season, a team that was 18-19-5, written off by fans, critics and all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Then on January 14th, 2014, the Wild was reborn when GM Chuck Fletcher made a little trade for a goalie named Devan Dubnyk from the Arizona Coyotes for a 2015 3rd-round draft pick.

Of course, pretty much nobody thought this would change much for the Wild. Devan Dubnyk wasn’t a big name goalie by any stretch of the imagination. He had never been a part of a winning team in his 6 seasons in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers (5 seasons, 171 games played(GP)), the Nashville Predators* (1 season, 2 GP) and the Arizona Coyotes (1 season, 19 GP).

*The 2013-14 Nashville Predators did end the seasons with a winning record but Dubnyk was only there for 50 days before being traded to the Montreal Canadiens. The day he was traded to NSH, they were 20-21-7 and they were 26-26-10 when he was traded away.

Interesting that the day Devan Dubnyk arrived with the Wild, they were not a winning team either at 1 game under .500. Then the Minnesota Wild A.D. (After Dubnyk) began. Devan Dubnyk would start 38 consecutive games, not getting a day off until after the Wild had clinched a playoff spot. The Wild would go 28-9-3 AD and make the playoffs, upset the St. Louis Blues in the 1st round but be eliminated by Chicago in the 2nd round.

So, do they really need to make big changes to their roster or should they keep the core group and tweak the roster and give this team a chance to see what they can do in a full season with Devan Dubnyk in the cage?

Could they even make big changes to the roster? They don’t have a lot of room under the salary cap so the only way they could make changes is via trade. That would be difficult as well with a lot of players having No Move or No Trade clauses and a lot of money left on their contracts.

Yes, there’s some young guys that could be traded like a Jared Spurgeon and maybe some prospects but that probably wouldn’t be enough to make “big” changes. I’m sure Chuck Fletcher isn’t interested in going that route anyways. He’s been pretty adamant about keeping his young prospects in the fold.

The Minnesota Wild have just under $8 million to spend on free agents according to GeneralFanager.com and that’s without the eventual signings of Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula and Christian Folin. The Brown Fox always leaves some under the cap for injuries and trades too so don’t get too excited about the 1st day of the Frenzy.

Here’s a look at the Minnesota Wild’s Depth Chart, who might battle for spots and who might be options in free agency.

Depth Chart for 2015-16
Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Zach Parise – Mikael Granlund – Jason Pominville
Jason Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Thomas Vanek
Nino Niederreiter – Charlie Coyle – Justin Fontaine
Jordan Schroeder? – Erik Haula – Brent Sutter?

In the battle: Tyler Graovac, Michael Keranen, Brett Bulmer, Raphael Bussieres, Grayson Downing, Jared Knight, Kurtis Gabriel, Zack Mitchell, Brady Brassart, Pavel Jenys, Christoph Bertschy

Free Agency Options: Ryan Carter, Kyle Brodziak, Chris Stewart, Curtis Glencross, Devin Setoguchi, Blair Jones, Eric Fehr

Defense
Ryan Suter – Jonas Brodin
Marco Scandella – Jared Spurgeon
Christian Folin? – Matt Dumba

In the battle: Mike Reilly, Jon Blum, Gustav Olofsson, Guillaume Gelinas, Dylan Labbe, Zach Palmquist, Alex Gudbranson, Hunter Warner

Free Agent Options: Jordan Leopold, Nate Prosser, Tim Gleason, Matt Irwin…

Goalie
Dubnyk
Kuemper
Backstrom

In the battle: Brady Hoffman, Stephen Michalek

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Minnesota Wild Game 3 Recap – Wild lose 1-0! Is it over?

Minnesota Wild lose Game 3, 1-0!

On the power play, a deflected puck ends up being the difference in Game 3. Wild lose 1-0!

Minnesota Wild can’t get on the board against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3. Patrick Kane’s 1st period power play goal holds up as Chicago takes a 3 games to none lead in the 2nd round series.

The Wild came out flying in the 1st period getting a couple good scoring chances but Chicago withstood the opening surge and only helped build their confident play. The Wild would get the 1st power play of the game but Chicago’s renewed confidence on defense has rubbed off on their penalty kill too. The Wild, who had their power play going, now have trouble getting in the zone and when they do, they can’t even get a shot on goal.

The Blackhawks would also get a power play in the 1st period and would get a fortuitous bounce to help them score their 1st goal of the game. Johnathan Toews makes a backhand pass from just inside his own zone to Patrick Sharp coming up the right boards in the neutral zone. Sharp tries to make a pass to Andrew Shaw coming up the middle of the ice but the puck is on edge so it’s a slow, wobbly pass and Matt Cooke gets a piece of it but it deflects up the middle. Matt Dumba, playing the right defense position, moves toward the puck and Shaw, leaving Patrick Kane alone coming up the left side. Shaw hears Kane yelling for the puck so he chops at it to get it over to Kane. Patrick Kane gets the pass and beats Devan Dubnyk through the five-hole to score the 1st goal of the game.

Matt Dumba has to know that’s Patrick Kane coming up the left side and can’t leave an opening for the puck to get over there. He either has to make a better play on the deflected puck. Something different than the sweeping poke check that is a one and done If it doesn’t work, like it didn’t. He also should know he has Marco Scandella on his left, who can make a play on that puck. I don’t necessarily blame Dumba for going after that puck. I just think he could’ve played it better and not given so much of a chance for the puck to get to the most dangerous player on the rink in this series.

The Minnesota Wild would get plenty of chances to tie the game, but Corey Crawford and the Chicago Blackhawks would stop every one of them and put the Wild on the brink of elimination with a 3 games to none lead in the series.

This series has turned into a tale of two teams that changed after the 2nd period of Game 1. That’s the last time the Minnesota Wild looked like a hungry team that refused to be stopped and the last time the Chicago Blackhawks team looked like a team with some defensive holes.

Since that Game 1 2nd period, the Minnesota Wild has played a passive game, waiting for something to happen, while the Blackhawks have played an active game, aggressively making something happen. This change has gotten in the heads of both teams. The Blackhawks confidence is growing. The Wild’s confidence is dwindling.

What happens to a player’s and/or a team’s game when confidence goes up or down? A player struggling with confidence waits for that perfect goal, the easy tap-in, the tic-tac-toe beautiful play that rarely happens. They don’t shoot the puck quickly. They hold the puck or try to make a move to get a closer look and the majority of the time, a shot never occurs. The play is broken up or the goalie is given plenty of time to cut the angle down and make the save.

A player playing with confidence shoots the puck quickly knowing that’s the best way to score. A quick shot means the goalie doesn’t have time to square up and get ready for the shot and even if the goalie makes the save, there’s a high probability a rebound will happen as a result of that quick shot and the confident team has a player ready to pounce on that rebound when it happens.

One of the reasons I picked the Wild to win in six games was their poise and confidence. It was questioned in Game 4 of the 1st round against St. Louis. After that game, the Wild played games 5 and 6 with the belief they would win the game. Obviously, if you’ve watched Game 2 and Game 3  against Chicago, that belief and that confidence is barely there. It’s been replaced by frustration and doubt. They are playing like a team that doesn’t know how to play anymore or how to figure out what to do against the Blackhawks.

The reason I picked the Blackhawks to lose the series is because they didn’t seem to be a good defensive team in their series against the Nashville Predators. They were allowing comebacks and a lot of goals and they had to use both goalies out of necessity, not by choice. A team not playing great defensively and having issues between the pipes usually has a difficult time winning in the playoffs.

I described the goal as being a fortuitous bounce for the Blackhawks. Am I saying they are getting more bounces than the Wild? Yes and no. As a team, you can’t blame or credit good or bad bounces as the reason why you are winning or losing. The Wild are all too familiar with bad bounces against the Blackhawks in the playoffs. Last season came to an end on a bounce off a stanchion behind the net that went right to Patrick Kane. Bang! Season Over! Ouch!

We’ll see what the Minnesota Wild can do in Game 4 on Thursday night at 8:30pm. Will a bounce end the series again? Will the Wild get back to their game and actually get a lead in a game for the first time in the 2nd round and extend the series to a 5th game?

Don’t give up on the Minnesota Wild! They aren’t giving up so neither should you!

THANKS for reading!!!

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A Preview of Round 2 – Minnesota Wild vs Chicago Blackhawks – So we meet again

Minnesota Wild vs Chicago Blackhawks in the 2nd round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

So we meet again…The Minnesota Wild play the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs for the 3rd straight season.

The Minnesota Wild meet the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 3rd straight season and the 2nd straight season in the 2nd round when the puck (or the ClutterPuck) drops tonight around 8:30pm. The last two seasons when these teams met, it was a foregone conclusion that the Blackhawks would defeat the Wild. It was just a matter of how many games it would take for Chicago to win the series.

In 2013, the Minnesota Wild were, basically, just happy to be in the postseason dance. They were that weird kid standing alone in the corner wondering why they were there and then they saw her. The Stanley Cup. They got the courage to go up and ask her to dance* but here came Mr. Popular, the Chicago Blackhawks, to steal their thunder and ruin their night. So they went home losing the series 4 games to 1 with that 1 win coming in overtime fashion. (Thank you, Mr. Zucker!) Not the results the Wild wanted but it was a step, the first step to becoming a champion. They saw up close how a championship team got it done in the playoffs. They learned how intense the playoffs are and how every possession and play is magnified!

*How do you dance with the Stanley Cup? Trust me, if the Minnesota Wild win Lord Stanley’s Cup, it will just happen. Everyone will be like, “Here, I’ll show you!” Everybody Loves Stan!!!

In 2014, we saw a team that figured out what it takes to win a series. They beat the Colorado Avalanche in a series that began looking like the Colorado would win the series pretty quickly. They figured out every game in a series is a different entity, something with distinct and independent existence and they could come back if they played the right way. They needed 7 games and overtime in Game 7 to do it. That Game 7 was almost a microcosm of the series, too. The Wild never led in the game until that final shot in OT. They came back from a 1-goal deficit 4 times. The only lead they had in the game and in the series was after the final shot! (PING! Thank you, Nino!)

Facing the Blackhawks in the 2nd round felt like they were ruining the dance again! They’d win game 1 & 2 by scores of 5-2 and 4-1, sending the Wild home, down 2 games. That 1st round experience showed them they could come back in a series and we saw a Wild team get that Home Ice Advantage, starting to play with confidence and really frustrate teams when they played at The X.* It was especially amazing to see how much they frustrated the reigning Stanley Cup Champions with their play on home ice. They would end up losing game 6 in overtime on a crazy bounce that went right to Patrick Kane and just like that, the Wild’s season came to an end.

*CRAWWWFORRRRRRD!!!

The 2014-15 version of the Minnesota Wild had such a crazy regular season. They’d have a sickness or two go through the locker room, deaths of the fathers of their assistant captains and, of course, the problems in the net that seemed to make this team lose confidence in their whole game. Leave it to the Brown Fox to fix the problem with a 3rd round pick in his pocket that he’d offer to the Arizona Coyotes for Devan Dubnyk. Devan Dubnyk! How many people saw Devan Dubnyk being the savior of the season?

Everyone thought he was the backup for the Coyotes and, for the most part, he was. But, in December, he started more games for Arizona than starter Mike Smith did and to that point, DUUUBS had played very well, going 5-1-1 in the 8 games he started in with a 2.48 GAA and a .922 save percentage. Those are pretty good numbers for a team that only had 16 wins in 42 games. The Coyotes only had 8 wins in the 40 games after they traded Devan Dubnyk.

We all know how Devan Dubnyk has changed this team! Before Dubnyk (BD), the Wild were in a tailspin. They didn’t seem to have a clue what to do to win battles, win shifts or win periods let win a game. Once Dubnyk showed up, it was a different team. He’d start 38 consecutive games, only getting a game off after the Wild clinched a playoff spot. The Wild finished the last 40 games with a record of 28-9-3.

The 1st round started with Devan Dubnyk getting his first experience in the postseason. Save for a bad Game 4, where the Wild must have forgotten there was a game and lost 6-1, he would play his consistent great game and he may have gotten better after those bad 2 periods in Game 4.

The Wild A.D. (After Dubnyk) went 2-0 versus the Blackhawks, winning 3-0 at home in February and 2-1 in Chicago in April in the game that clinched a spot in the playoffs. The Wild B.D. (Before Dubnyk) lost all 3 of their games against Chicago before that, 5-3, 4-2 and 4-1. 13 goals against in 3 games to 1 goal against in 2 games is a pretty big difference.

The Wild had some struggles against the Blues but they seemed to “wake up” after getting blown out on their home ice in Game 4. They played better defensively since that game, playing with less panic and more poise. The confidence in their game came back and this team may have learned how to play a consistent game in the playoffs. No panic in their overall game will serve them well in the 2nd round.

What are the main factors when it comes to winning a series in the playoffs? There’s the obvious – the play of the goalie and special teams. The Wild have Dubnyk who’s been great. Their power play came alive in round 1 scoring 4 goals in 12 power plays. They had the best penalty kill in the NHL in the regular season and shut down the Blues, only allowing 2 goals in 11 power plays. The Blackhawks went back and forth in the 1st round with their goalies, they had the worst penalty kill of any team in the playoffs and their power play was only 3 for 19.

Looking at stats can only tell you so much as each team played a different opponent so it’s difficult to say the results would be the same against everyone in the league or everyone in the playoffs.

We can look at the talent on each team. The majority of people will say the Blackhawks have more talent than the Wild. They have Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, etc… It’s hard to argue with their talent. The Wild do have Zach Parise, Mikael Granlund, Ryan Suter, Jason Zucker and more so they’re no slouch in talent.. All the talent in the world doesn’t mean anything against a team playing their system the right way, playing with confidence and working their asses off all over the ice.

How about depth at forward and defense and the whole lineup? The Wild got ahead and stayed ahead, came back to win once, every win was more than one goal and they won two games on the road. The Blackhawks had to continually come from behind and couldn’t hold leads throughout the 1st round. They allowed the Predators to respond quickly time after time.

My bottom line is the Minnesota Wild seem to have the team with more depth, are playing better in all areas of the game. They could be the Blackhawks from 2010 or 2013. Everything seems to be clicking at the right time. This is a team on a mission and they are ready to get over the hump of beating the Chicago Blackhawks now. They are not in awe of them like 2013. They are playing confident in every area of their game.

It will be a great series regardless of who wins, that’s for sure.

My prediction is Wild in 6!!!

Here’s the Series Schedule:

Game 1: @Chicago Friday 5/1 8:30 PM NBCSN

Game 2: @Chicago Sunday 5/3 7:30 PM NBCSN

Game 3: @Minnesota Tuesday 5/5 7:00 PM NBCSN

Game 4: @Minnesota Thursday 5/7 8:30 PM NBCSN

Game 5: @Chicago Saturday 5/9 TBD*

Game 6: @Minnesota Monday 5/11 TBD*

Game 7: @Chicago Wednesday 5/13 TBD*

What are your thoughts on this 2nd round match-up? Who do you got winning and why?

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2014 Hockey City Classic Notes – Minnesota Gophers vs Ohio State Buckeyes – January 17th, 2014

The 2014 Hockey City Classic once again includes Minnesota Gopher Hockey but this time the outdoor college hockey event has the Minnesota Gophers on home ice or, at least, ice at their home. Of course, being outdoors, I’m not sure if there is a home ice advantage as both the Gophers and their opponent, the Ohio State Buckeyes, probably received the same amount of ice time on the outdoor ice at TCF Bank stadium. There should be more Gopher Hockey fans there though so hopefully that will give the Gophers some “home ice” advantage.

I heard earlier this week that this is the first time in 80 years (1922) that the Minnesota Gophers have had a hockey game at home in the fabulous outdoor weather of a Minnesota winter. Now, it seems there’s outdoor hockey games once a week during the season of Winter. The Winter Classic didn’t start it all but it certainly brought the idea of the outdoor hockey game back to the forefront and got people enthusiastic about outdoor hockey again. I just hope they haven’t overdone it with the Stadium Series but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

So, heading into the Hockey City Classic, Gopher hockey is still ranked #1 with an overall record of  15-2-3 with losses at Notre Dame and vs Minnesota-Duluth. Their Big Ten record is 5-0-1 with a tie (shootout loss) to Michigan State back on December 6th.

Ohio State comes in with an overall record of 11-6-1 and a conference record of 1-2-1 but their losses have both been by one goal losing in overtime to Michigan 4-3 and losing in a shootout to Michigan State in a 1-1 game. So they look like a team that should not be overlooked.

Here’s your line charts:

Line Chart – Minnesota Golden Gophers

Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Taylor Cammarata – 13 – Kyle Rau-7 – Hudson Fasching-24
Sam Warning-11 – Nate Condon-16 – Justin Kloos-25
Tom Serratore-14 – Travis Boyd-22 – Seth Ambroz-17
Connor Reilly-21 – Vinni Lettieri-19 – Christian Isackson-26
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Brady Skjei-2 – Justin Holl-12
Mike Reilly-5 – Michael Brodzinski-20
Jake Bischoff-28 – Ben Marshall-10
Goalie
Adam Wilcox-32
Mike Shibrowski-1

Scratches: G-Ryan Coyne-31, D-Jake Parenteau-6, F-Ryan Reilly-9, F-AJ Michaelson-15, F-Christian Horn-18, F-Gabe Guertler-27
Injured:

Line Chart – Ohio State Buckeyes

Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Anthony Greco-14 – Tanner Fritz-16 – Alex Szczechura-28
Ryan Dzingel-18 – Nick Oddo-15 – Nick Schilkey-37
Max McCormick-17 – Tyler Lundey-23 – Darik Angeli-10
Alex Lippincott-11 – Chad Niddery-19 – Matt Johnson-26
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Curtis Gedig-8 – Josh Healey-47
Sam Jardine-21 – Craig Dalrymple-24
Justin Dasilva-25 – Drew Brevig-4
Goalie
Matt Tomkins-31
Christian Frey-30

Scratches/Injured: G-Logan Davis-1, G-Aaron Kahn-34, D-Clark Cristifoli-6, D-Al McLean-7, D-Blake Doerring-27, F-David Gust-9, F-Travis Statchuk-12

Alright, let’s DROP THE CLUTTERPUCK and get to the game!!!

1st Period

  • I really like those Gopher Hockey jerseys. They look “Classic!” I wonder if the Gophers will wear them again any time soon OR add them to their other options of jersey to wear at home games from now on.
  • The weather to start the game is at a temperature of 6 degrees with humidity at 60%, winds coming from the southwest at 5 miles per hour with a forecast of mostly clear and brisk wind gusts!
    • That sounds like outdoor hockey weather to me! Let’s do this, boys!
  • LET’S PLAY….HOCKEY!!!!
  • The starters are:
    • Gopher Hockey – #14 Tom Serratore at Left Wing, #22 Travis Boyd at Center, #17 Seth Ambroz at Right Wing, #2 Brady Skjei at Left Defense, #12 Justin Holl at Right Defense AND starting in goal, #32 Adam Wilcox!
    • Ohio State Buckeyes – #18 RyanDzingel at Left Wing, #15 NickOddo at Center, #37 NickSchilkey at Right Wing, #47 Josh Healey at Left Defense, #8 CurtisGedig at Right Defense and #31 Matt Tomkins starting in the cage.
      • Do you think the coaches struggle with who to start in these outdoor games or just do it like any other game?
      • It looks like both coaches went with the senior lineup to me, getting those guys something they can look back on as starters in the Hockey City Classic.
  • Travis Boyd wins the opening face-off back to Justin Holl who gets to the red line and dumps the puck in and we are underway!
  • Nice toe save by Mike Tomkins on a chance by Hudson Fasching at 10:05 of the 1st period!
  • PENALTY – Justin Kloos for Cross-Checking Max McCormick at 15:04 of the 1st period –  Justin Kloos takes a dumb penalty in the offensive zone by cross-checking Max McCormick instead of trying to get in a better position to defend and/or steal the puck.
  • PENALTY – Darek Angeli for Tripping Ben Marshall at 17:05 of the 1st period – As Ben Marshall clears the zone on the penalty kill, Darik Angeli tries to poke check the puck away from him and ends up tripping him and NOW, he’ll get some time alone in the penalty box to think about what he’s done!
  • BIG SAVE by Adam Wilcox on Ryan Dzingel at 18:40 of the 1st period – A bouncing puck gets through about 3 players as the Gophers try to enter the Buckeye zone and a clearing attempt gets through Michael Brodzinski giving RyanDzingel a breakaway on the PK. Comingin to Adam Wilcox’s right,Dzingel makes a few stick fakes and shoots low blocker but Wilcox is up to the task and keeps the game scoreless!
    • Tough to fault much on that play as a bouncing puck could go either way.
      • Should Michael Brodzinski or Ben Marshall get back a little more sinceDzingel is playing so high near the blue linein between them?
        • I would say probably and especially on a loose puck. Brodzinski was on the strong side so the weak side player should get back in my opinion.
  • The first period ends with no goals being scored but both teams getting a few solid chances.
    • Probably takes a period to get used to the ice and the elements and the opponent since they haven’t faced each other since 2007!

2nd Period

  • Sam Warning gets a scoring chance on a great pass by Mike Reilly and he does a turnaround shot to his backhand. You don’t see that very often!
    • You see the turnaround shot to the forehand all the time because players love their snap or wrist shots.
      • I really think it shows a weakness of a bad backhand shot.
      • A turnaround shot to a forehand is rarely going to fool anyone and it gives the defense and goalie time to prepare for the shot but if you learn how to shoot a quick backhand shot and get something on it, it will change your game AND help you get more space to shoot on your forehand because they opponent has to look for either shot!
  • GOAL – Taylor Cammarata from Kyle Rau and Justin Holl at 4:20 of the 2nd period – A simple little pass up the right boards by Justin Holl gets Kyle Rau the puck coming in the right side of the Buckeye zone with Taylor Cammarata coming up the middle. Hudson Fasching actually goes for a change so it’s really just a 2-on-2 with no back pressure from Ohio State. Rau has some space so brings the puck to his forehand for a shot through Ohio State d-man Josh Healey but Healey gets his stick in front of the shot deflecting the puck through his legs where Taylor Cammarata just tries to deflect it towards the net. Those quick deflections makes the puck barely get through the legs of goalie Mike Tomkins and the puck trickles towards the goal line. Rau cuts behind the net, sees the puck lying there and quickly gets around the net to poke it in so the goal will probably change to Kyle Rau from Taylor Cammarata and Justin Holl! 1-0 GOPHERS!!!
    • Defenseman CurtisGedig gave way too much space to Taylor Cammarata coming down the middle.
      • Hudson Fasching changed on the play so there’s no reason and no Gopher to cover in any other part of the zone.
      • Tanner Fritz didn’t apply any back pressure on the play either and that would’ve changed that play.
        • Playersshould be aware of what’s going on and when they can take advantage of situations offensively AND defensively.
          • Everybody on the ice and the bench can help with that by talking to each other and yelling when to go to the player with the puck and countless other things going on during the game.
    • Kyle Rau makes that play with his compete level! He sees the loose puck on the goal line and dives around the net lunging at it with his stick!

3rd Period

  • Rough start to the 3rd period as the Gophers are having some trouble getting out of their zone and making passes through the neutral zone.
  • PENALTY – Nick Schilkey for Tripping Same Warning at 2:18 of the 3rd period – Sam Warning gets to a loose puck in the Buckeye zone and Nick Schilkey tries to reach Warning’s stick with his stick coming down over the top but he misses and hit’s Warning’s feet tripping him and gets a free ticket to the penalty box!
  • PENALTIES – Coincidental Minors – Derek Angeli for Tripping Kyle Rau and Kyle Rau for Unsportsmanlike Conduct Embellishment at 6:07 of the 3rd period – Behind the Gopher net, Kyle Rau, JakeBischoff, Derek Angeli & Max McCormick battle for a loose puck. The puck comes off the wall and Kyle Rau is the first to go to it but Derek Angeli hooks Rau by his left glove. Kyle Rau falls but apparently appears to the official that he tried to embellish being tripped to get the call.
    • I disagree with the call on Kyle Rau and here’s why. He’s getting hooked on the glove and my guess is that, from the way we see Kyle Rau battle, he not assuming the official is calling the hook (or trip since that’s what the official called) so he’s trying to battle out of it and once his hand comes loose, he loses his balance.
      • I’m sure people would see that as me being a biased Gopher fan. That’s not it at all. That’s how I see that play.
    • Many people get annoyed when an official will call a trip and a dive on the same play thinking it can’t be both. Their argument is, if the playerwas tripped then how can it be a dive/embellishment? Or if the player dove/embellished then how can it be a trip?
      • Why would you try to fool the official? As if you have some idea when they are going to or not going to call a penalty!
    • I like when the official calls a penalty but calls the wrong penalty. Like this case for instance. That should a hooking penalty because Derek Angeli hooked Kyle Rau. He didn’t trip him.
      • Should we be happy the official at least knew there was a penalty and not care that he got the call right?
        • “Hey, he knew something didn’t look right there so he just figured he’d call it a trip and be done with it.”
          • “#10 for breaking the rules! I don’t know what specific rule but it was one of them. It was an illegal play! Yeah, that’s it! 2 minutes for Illegal Play!”…”What’s the signal for that?”…”Uhhh….the shame on you sign!”
    • I will say this. I respect what linesman and officials do. It’s not an easy job and not something I want to do.
    • I do love how announcers or color analysts always say how they “understand trying to draw penalties” because I don’t understand it.
      • Battle through everything because you don’t know what the official will or won’t call and it’s stupid to give up a chance to score on the off-chance that the official will call the penalty!
      • Plus…You’re a hockey player, not an actor!!!
    • Sorry! I rambled a little there!
  • The Buckeyes pulled their goalie but never really got a real good chance to tie the game as this one ends at 1-0 in favor of the home team Minnesota Golden Gopher Hockey team!
  • Adam Wilcox gets the shutout stopping all 21 Ohio State Buckeye shots for his second shutout of the season!

Final Score
Minnesota Gophers 1, Ohio State Buckeyes 0

It was an interesting game. Outdoor games often are more spectacle than excitement as it takes the teams involved a while to figure out the ice and if the weather will cause the game to change. So teams play a more defensive style until they’ve gotten used to the ice and/or the opponent. They’re definitely still fun for the players and the fans but it’ll be interesting if the outdoor hockey phenomenon stays as big as it has been.

Well, same two teams tomorrow night at Mariucci for Hockey Day Minnesota 2014!

Links to the Box Score, Recaps from both schools and a Photo Gallery of the 2014 Hockey City Classic
Gopher Hockey Box Score from GopherSports.comHockey City Classic Box Score
Gopher Hockey Recap from GopherSports.comGophers Blank OSU in Hockey City Classic
Gopher Hockey Recap from OhioStateBuckeyes.comBuckeyes Drop 1-0 Game to No. 1 Minnesota in Hockey City Classic
Photo Gallery from GopherSports.comGopher Hockey vs Ohio State – 1/17/2014

In other B1G TEN College Hockey action tonight,
Home=”vs”, Away=”@”
Michigan State won vs Penn State 3-0

In other College Hockey action,
Home=”vs”, Away=”@”
Boston College won vs Boston University 6-4 – 2012 Minnesota Wild 4th round pick Adam Gilmour had a goal and an assist for Boston College in this game.
Notre Dame won vs Lake Superior 6-3 – 2011 Minnesota Wild 2nd-round pick Mario Lucia had a goal and an assist for Notre Dame in this game.

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Gopher Hockey Notes vs Minnesota State Mavericks – 11-15-2013

Gopher Hockey is still ranked #1 after splitting a road series against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame AND the Son of Don! Notre Dame came out on Friday and took it to the Gophers physically, winning 4-1, but the Minnesota Gophers rebounded well on Saturday night getting a 5-4 win where all the goals were scored by freshmen, two for Hudson Fasching and one each for Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata and Jake Bischoff with the game winner! Mario “Son of Don” Lucia had two goals for the Irish.

Now the Minnesota Gopher hockey team gets back to a more familiar opponent as they take on former WCHA foe, the Minnesota State Mavericks. The Mavericks are still a part of the WCHA but they are probably anxious to play a #1 ranked team especially if it’s the Minnesota Gophers they’ve built a little rivalry against. The Gophers can’t look past or underestimate the Mavericks so hopefully they will come out with the same energy and aggressiveness that got them that #1 ranking.

Here’s your line charts for tonight’s game:

Line Chart – Minnesota Golden Gophers
Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
F-Sam Warning-11 – Kyle Rau-7 – Hudson Fasching-24
Nate Condon-16 – Justin Kloos-25 – Taylor Cammarata – 13
Connor Reilly-21 – Travis Boyd-22 – Vinni Lettieri-19
Tom Serratore-14 – Gabe Guertler-27 – Seth Ambroz-17
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Brady Skjei-2 – Jake Bischoff-28
Mike Reilly-5 – Jake Parenteau-6
Ben Marshall-10 – Michael Brodzinski-20
Goalie
Adam Wilcox-32
Mike Shibrowski-1

Scratches: G-Ryan Coyne-31, D-Justin Holl-12, F-Ryan Reilly-9, FAJ Michaelson-15, F-Christian Horn-18, F-Christian Isackson-26

Line Chart – Minnesota State Mavericks

Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Dylan Margonari-26 – Matt Leitner-18 – Bryce Gervais-9
Chase Grant-21 – Teddy Blueger-23 – Johnny McInnis-22
Brett Knowles-24 – Jean-Paul Lafontaine-12 – Max Gaede-8
Taylor Herndon-14 – Jordan Nelson-16 – Mat Knoll-10
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Brett Stern-27 – Zach Palmquist-7
Jon Jutzi-28 – Casey Nelson-6
Nick Buchanon-4 – Sean Flanagan-11
Goalie
Cole Huggins-34

Alright, it’s time to DROP THE CLUTTERPUCK!!!

1st Period

  • About 3 and a half minutes in, Hudson Fasching throws a big hit at the right half wall of the Mavericks zone followed by a big hit by Michael Brodzinski in the left corner of the Gopher zone!
    • That got the Gophers going and a line rush gets the puck into the blue paint with Hudson Fasching and Kyle Rau battling for the loose puck and Fasching gets tripped up giving the Gophers their first power play of the game.
  • GOAL – Justin Kloos from Nate Condon & Brady Skjei at 10:31 of the 1st period – A face-off at the left face-off dot (or to Adam Wilcox’s right) is won by Travis Boyd back to the left corner. Jake Bischoff wins a battle for the puck, with a little help from Boyd, and passes it to Brady Skjei behind the net. Skjei comes around the net and quickly passes it to Nate Condon giving him the whole left side to skate up the boards. Condon brings the puck into the zone with speed and stops/slows down at the left half-wall. He was just trying to buy some time as the rest of his line came on the ice from the bench so he slowed down and then turned towards the boards and goes back towards the blue line and sees Justin Kloos coming up the middle of the zone. Condon puts a little backhand into the middle of the zone so Kloos can skate into it and take a quick shot that beats Cole Huggins to the right side for a 1-0 GOPHER LEAD!!!
    • The shot mayhave been tipped by Brett Knowles as he swiped at it with his stick to attempt to block the shot.
      • You don’t have to take a big swing to get your stick in the way of the shot. Just put your stick in front of the puck!
    • MaxGaede while on theforecheck goes in for the hit on Brady Skjei and doesn’t even try to get his stick on the puck.
      • He didn’t give up an odd man rush by doing that but he may have disrupted the play by getting his stick on the puck.
        • He then doesn’t pick up his man on the back check in Justin Kloos, who scored the goal.
          • He does that familiar reaching motion once he sees the puck going to Kloos. That’s usually followed by a head hanging in disappointment.
        • Pick up the man before he gets the puck! Read the play and react to what you read because if you react to what you see, it’s too late!
    • Minnesota Statedefensemen Brett Stern & NickBuchanon gave Nate Condon way too much space, especially since he was all alone with no help from any Gopher players in the offensive zone.
      • Someone has to go to the puck when you outnumber the offense!
      • They gave too much of a gap too. Part of that is because of Nate Condon’s speed but it’s 1 against 3! You should be able to get the puck from him!
      • Brett Stern also bites on Condon’s move to buy time!
        • This is why you take the body instead of the puck! You should be able to get a piece of a player that’s carrying the puck! It’s also a lot easier than trying to get a piece of the puck.
        • Separate the man for the puck or the puck from the man…OR BOTH!!! Make a Choice!!!
      • Nate Condon did a good job buying time and showed good vision to find Kloos for a shot on net!
      • Justin Kloos does a good job driving to the net to get a chance to score.
        • AND a good job to shoot the puck knowing that was his only play there.
      • Now half of the Gophers goals have been scored by freshmen! That’s 18 of 36 if you’re keeping track at home (or on your computer where you are reading this!)

“We were merely freshmen!”

I loved this song when it came out in 1996! I may have just aged myself but so what!

  • GOAL – Mike Reilly from Nate Condon and Justin Kloos at 18:33 of the 1st period – Justin Kloos wins a puck battle along the right wall in the Gopher zone, breaks out of the zone and flips the puck into space over the head of Nate Condon. Condon dives for it, trying to get a pass over to Taylor Cammarata, but he didn’t get enough of it and it’s played into the right corner by Sean Flanagan. Max Gaede, just off the bench from a line change, gets to the puck in the corner after Condon but wins the puck and heads up the boards. He loses control of the puck and then panics and tries to just get the puck out of the zone but fails, turning the puck over on the blue line for Justin Kloos to keep the puck in the zone. Kloos just turns and throws it at the net but it hits the Maverick defenseman so Nate Condon can reach the puck as he goes for a line change. Condon sees Mike Reilly coming and just let’s him have it for a quick shot that beats Cole Huggins to his left. Taylor Cammarata went to the net and screened the goaltender on the goal. GOPHERS LEAD 2-0!!!
    • MaxGaede isn’t having a great night so far! He’s a minus 2 so far and he probably could’ve prevented both goals from happening had he finished on the play!
      • He needs to get the puck out of the zone on that play and he had time to just skate it out as Kloos was giving him space to do just that.
        • But he panicked and didn’t execute the chip off the boards well!
      • The Mavericks have to get in front of those shots too!

2nd Period

  • Mike Guentzel told Marney Gellner that he wanted the Gophers to get the puck to the paint and get more shots and the Gophers have been doing just that in the first 5 minutes of the 2nd period.
  • Taylor Cammarata just got a semi-breakaway and did something I’ve been curious to see would work or not. He stopped to get himself some time and space and then passed it off to a teammate for a shot on goal.
    • It worked beautifully because the defender was chasing him and the last thing they think you’re going to do is stop so I wonder when I’ll see that again.
  • PENALTY – Teddy Blueger for Tripping Justin Kloos at 8:01 of the 2nd period – The above play continued and as Justin Kloos tried to go to the front of the net from behind the net, hewas tripped by TeddyBlueger!
    • That means we get a Gopher Power Play!!!
  • GOAL (POWER PLAY) – Connor Reilly from Sam Warning & Mike Reilly at 8:40 of the 2nd period – A Connor Reilly one-timer misses the net and wraps around the left boards back to Mike Reilly. Bryce Gervais over pursues Mike Reilly and lets the pass get through him to Sam Warning coming off the left half-wall creating a 4-on-3. Matt Leitner is too much in the middle of the ice to cover Connor Reilly at the right face-off circle and Casey Nelson may have screened his goaltender as Reilly’s one-timer goes in the right part of the net for a 3-0 GOPHER LEAD!!!
    • Bryce Gervais saw an opportunity to be aggressive and maybe get to Mike Reilly as he tries to handle a bouncing puck but he needs to go in with more of a defensive play in mind and just get in front of Mike Reilly and the puck.
    • MattLeitner was too busy watching the puck than keeping track of where Connor Reilly was on the ice.
      • Casey Nelson was doing the same thing as he tried to move over to block the one-timer but screens his goaltender instead.
        • Would Cole Huggins have been able to make the save if he wasn’t screened? We’ll never know but as a defenseman, you have to be aware of when you’re taking away the eyes of your goaltender!
  • TeddyBlueger is hurt when SethAmbroz hits him with a body check after he clears the zone.
    • The hit was maybe a tad late and maybe a little from behind but Blueger wasn’t prepared to take a hit. He was watching the puck clear the zone on the penalty kill.
    • You have to be aware of who’s on the ice and who’s coming whenever you’re on the ice. You should just assume someone’s coming to hit you at all times and have the proverbial “head on a swivel!”
  • Jordan Nelson throws an elbow into the head of Ben Marshall in the offensive zone.
    • He may not have meant to throw the elbow but players love throwing the chicken wing by following through high with the elbow.
    • Keep your arms down when you make a hit or push through the chest of the player and not up into the head area!

3rd Period

  • A puck just hit the official and gave Minnesota State a scoring chance.
    • I wonder if any league has ever thought a good way to get rid of that kind of thing changing a game might be to just blow the whistle when it happens?
    • Would both teams be OK with that? I would think they would.
    • Or maybe it could be left up tothe discretion of the official to blow the whistle or not?
      • Although I’m not really a fan of making the official wonder if he should blow the whistle or not. Officials trying to think is usually a bad thing if you ask me.
  • Jordan Nelson just got another elbowing penalty. This time it’s on Kyle Rau! I’d keep my head up if I was him. Gophers may be coming or at least they all know what number he is.
  • GOAL – Zach Palmquist from Jean-Paul LaFontaine & Max Gaede at 12:48 of the 3rd period – A turnover in the left corner gets Jean-Paul LaFontaine the puck behind the goal line to Adam Wilcox’ right and he centers the puck out to Zach Palmquist for a one-timer that goes over a sprawling Adam Wilcox and the Mavericks make it 3-1!!!
    • The Gophers had too many players below the goal line on that play.
    • Mike Reilly goes below the goal line when Ben Marshall gets the puck but Marshall lost control of it and that’s when LaFontaine created a chance by going to the net.
    • Jean-Paul LaFontaine made a great play as he was being tripped by diving and getting his stick on the puck to push it out to Zach Palmquist for the one-time shot.
    • That’s one of those transition mistakes as Mike Reilly thought Marshall had the puck so he’s going on offense and is in goodposition for offense but then,all of a sudden, it’s turned over and he’s out ofposition from a defensive standpoint.
      • Not as big a problem with a  3-0 lead but you still don’t want to give up point blank shots in front of your own net.
  • GOAL (EMPTY NET) – Seth Ambroz – Unassisted at 19:33 of the 3rd period – Seth Ambroz picked off a breakout pass in the Maverick zone, corralled the puck and shot it into the empty net making it 4-1!

Final Score
Minnesota Golden Gophers 4, Minnesota State Mavericks 1

The Gophers got out to a 3-goal lead and then kind of took their foot off the gas pedal and almost let the Mavericks back into the game. Adam Wilcox had to make some great saves late in the third period to keep this game from becoming a big learning lesson for the Gophers. Now it’s just some film study for the boys to clean up some of the little stuff at the end of games.

Gopher Hockey Recap from GopherSports.comGophers Take Down Mavericks, 4-1
Gopher Hockey Box Score from GopherSports.comMinnesota-Minnesota State Box Score
Gopher Hockey Recap from MSUMavericks.com Minnesota State Falls at #1 Minnesota Friday, 4-1

In other B1G TEN College Hockey action tonight,
Home=”vs”, Away=”@”
Wisconsin lost @ Miami 2-0,
Ohio State won vs Canisius 3-0,
Penn State lost vs UMass-Lowell 3-2,
and
Michigan lost @ Nebraska-Omaha 3-2

In other College Hockey action,
Home=”vs”, Away=”@”
Notre Dame won vs Merrimack 4-0 – Mario Lucia scored the 3rd goal of the game and now has 5 goals and 2 assists in 11 games this season.
North Dakota won vs Minnesota-Duluth 4-2,
Maine won vs Boston University 7-0,
Denver won vs Western Michigan 5-3
and
St. Cloud State won vs Alabama-Huntsville 10-0

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You’ve Been ClutterPUCKED!!!