26 June 2007
UPDATE: I forgote to way who was actually answering these questions. The fine man over at Wild Puck Banter was kind enough to answer these questions for me. Thanks to Mike Thompson for pointing out that i forgot to mention this.
Even though they (the Avs and Wild) play a boatload during the season, Jaques Lemaire has perfected the way of making his players anonymous. They are a playoff team and had you asked me anything about them 3 days ago I could name 5 players, Boogard, Ralston, Gaborik, Fernandez, and Backstrom. After looking at the roster I went "Oh yeah Walz, Demetra and Skoula played there too last season".
I guess what I am saying is Minnesota is the only team I have kind of been stumped with questions about. I don't really know what to ask, but I'll give it a go anyways.
1) Minnesota doesn't have a lot of UFA's but has plenty of RFA's. Are you worried someone might make a run at a player like Pierre-Marc Bouchard, or Nick Schulz?
1. I'm not that worried about losing any of the RFAs. Most, if not all of them, are replaceable and would create an open roster spot for a deserving younger player like Benoit Pouliot, the 4th overall pick a few years ago.
2) Trading Manny Fernandez is obviously the key to the offseason. What would you like to see Minnesota get back in return?
2. Trading Manny is the key, you're dead on there. They cannot,
repeat, cannot go into next season with him on the roster. What I'd like to get is a serviceable banger-type forward. No names leap out at me, but someone who can hit...this team needs someone like that.
3) Backstom appeared to be the real deal last season, but the NHL is littered with guys that have a few hot months or years and then cool off considerably (Ward, Theodore, Roloson to name a few). Are you at all concerned that he is a flash in the pan? or did he show you something that made you a believer?
3. I'm not sold on Backstrom, but he's clearly their best option at
this point. He was rock solid the last half of last season, so let's give him a shot. If he should falter they've got a young star in the waiting, Josh Harding. Harding will the team's starter in 2009.
Ok other than Fernandez Minnesota's offseason looks, like their hockey team, really boring, so I'm loading up some other inflammatory questions.
4) I have been critical of Minnesota's style of play this season. I think they play for overtime, and rely on those extra points to get them into the playoffs instead of going for the win outright. I think this hurts teams chances in the playoffs (See Dallas last season and the Wild this season). I think they will continue to get into the playoffs, but will never advance because their style of play isn't playing to win it's playing to sort of tie. I assume you would disagree with this, so please share your thoughts on how the Wild can continue in this system and be successful in the playoffs.
4. Good point. They benefited more than any other team for the OT point, and clearly they played for it in the 3rd period.
5) This playing for Overtime makes Avs-Wild games almost excruciatingly boring to me to watch. I dread them playing the Wild only because I know they will be the most unentertaining (apparently unentertaining isn't a word.. it should be) games ever. How can you possibly watch them 70+ times a season and not lapse into a coma? (Of course I'm kidding, but seriously how is this style of hockey exciting to you?)
5. Yes, they are unwatchable and boring for the remedial hockey fan,a fan who doesn't really understand good tight-checking hockey, but for your typical Wild fan they're a fun team to watch. Wild fans have developed a fondness for 1-1 trapping games and I am now at the point where I can pick out which players should be waiting at the red line to intercept the breakout pass. We love the trap here in Minneapolis.
Now I'll put the sarcasm aside and confess, yes, I do grow increasingly frustrated with their style of play. That's why I get the NHL Center Ice Package. When I get done watching a 2-1 Wild victory over Colorado I can flip over and watch fun teams like San Jose win 7-6.
Analysis: If a teams blogger is calling them boring.. well they're boring. So I don't really have much to say about the Wild. They don't really have much in the way of free agents for us to go after (maybe a 4th liner, but no one significant). If the Avs can't find what they are looking for, offering someone like Bouchard might be worth it, but I think the market is so open that that becomes a last resort. LEt's hope Minnesota just has a bad season so LeMaire gets fired and never hired again so we can get away from his coma inducing hockey style.
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