These are 5 things I’d like to see in the Minnesota Wild-Calgary Flames game Friday night.
But I didn’t think he was at his best tonight in the offensive zone. I saw three or four plays die in the offensive zone simply because he didn’t put a body into the defender and check his man along the wall.
That being said, Koivu has a 7 game point streak going and was solid defensively. But he can and should be the spark that gets the Wild offense going, and the way he does that is through hard work.
2. Marty Havlat is getting top line time so he needs to show he deserves it. He did assist on the Andrew Brunette goal in the 1-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. But for a guy who’s agent went complaining to the media he needs to show that he is the star he thinks he is. I have been impressed with his puck handling skills this season but the effort hasn’t always seemed to be there. He has also tried to be too fancy at times when he should have just chipped the puck in the corner .
3. Give Niklas Backstrom a break. I don’t mean sit him and play Jose Theodore, I mean take some of the load off of him and play hockey at the other end of the ice once in a while. Backstrom has his swagger and is playing some of the best hockey we’ve seen from him in a while. So instead of giving him a 1-0 win, why not let him have a 6-0 win?
4. No penalties. Granted the Wild have been better the last few games. Funny how it works out that when you skate harder you get more calls your way. Also interesting that the turn around has coincided with Guillaume Latendresse being out with an injury. Whether its the injury that has made him look out of shape or being out of shape resulting in an injury, Latendresse‘s bright moments have been few and far between. He has taken way too many lazy penalties and been late to the play more often than not.
5. The same hard work and determination I saw in the wins over Washington and San Jose. Despite my criticisms, when the Wild have been good, they have been very good. Unfortunately the opposite has also been true. This team has some of the best blue collar players in the league and when they get out there and work hard and skate hard they create the opportunities. Its a cliche if there ever was on but they need to show up for all 60 minutes.
Topics: Andrew Brunette, Antti Miettinen, Brent Burns, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Wellman, Chuck Fletcher, Chuck Kobasew, John Madden, Jose Theodore, Kyle Brodziak, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Havlat, Matt Cullen, Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild, Niklas Backstrom, Petr Sykora, Todd Richards