- By Alex ThomasToday we conclude our look at trade targets for the Edmonton Oilers by looking at a few goalies that could help in between the pipes. While
- By Alex ThomasWell yesterday we talked about three forwards that would make quality trade targets for the Oilers this summer. Today, we will take a look at three
- By Alex ThomasIt’s May 18th, we’re about seven weeks from the start of the draft, free agency, and the 2013 summer transaction period. With a lowered salary cap
- By Kyle PalazziIn the late morning of July 24, 2013, upon the announcement of the acquisition of star winger Rick Nash, Rangers fans salivated at the possibilities.
- By Alex ThomasI know yesterday in my article I told you I would be back here talking about trade targets for the Oilers. We still have almost seven
Wild State of Emergency Just 10 Games In? 02/08/2013 By:@AWKD
The expectation of the Wild’s season and the reality have yet to make each others acquantance. With each disappointment there becomes less opportunity to explain it away. After ten games I think collectively the fanbase is no longer interested in hearing about how the lockout and no training camp has affected this team. After failures in Anaheim and Phoenix the players held a closed door meeting to air it out with their team mates and then returned home only to get beat in every aspect by Vancouver. When a team is expected to be on the verge of contending for a stanley cup performs like the Wild has through 10 games with only 38 left, a state of emergency needs to be declared and everyone needs to be put on notice.
There exists within the current Wild roster fundamental disconnects between actual capability and current roles which Coach Mike Yeo has dragged his feet in addressing. In mis-diagnosing the abilities of the Wild’s incumbent veterans and mishandling of players by Coach Yeo and his staff, losses have mounted and the sputtering Wild have a widening disconnect with each other and the fans. Primary examples of failures by Coach Yeo to identify and take action regarding the roles of veteran players are Dany Heatly and Matt Cullen. Coach Yeo failed to address Heatly not matching up skill sets well with Zach Parise despite power play success. At even strength through 7 games the Wild’s lines INCLUDING the top line of Heatly-Koivu-Parise had struggled mightily to score goals. Heatly’s skating has fallen off the cliff and his puck possesion/carrying skills are no longer a strength in his game. To be honest those elements of his game had deteriated before his trade from San Jose. Heatly still has the ability to be a valuable player but his skill set and role needs to be strictly power forward in front of the net type of player. From day one of the season Heatly should have been matched up on a line with smaller players able to use speed and hands to eneter the zone and feed him the puck in front of the net. Heatly does not have the skill set to play a finesse game on the boards and chase the puck and as result he has responsible for a slew of offensive zone turnovers. Heatly can/will excel in a camp out role where he can use his size and scoring can be used to his advantage. Heatly dating back to last season has exhibited chemistry with fellow former Shark Devin Setogucci and should be playing on the wing opposite of him. Now that failure has forced Coach Yeo to address Heatly no longer having the physical ability and skill set to be on the top line, he instead matched him up with two other players that have underwhelmed so far in Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. At the same time Coach Yeo has decided to send a message to Setogucci by holding him responsible for lack of production by demoting him to the fourth line despite Setogucci having been the best player on a diseased 2nd line of Cullen-Granlund-Setogucci.
Anyone watching the first 7 games could see Matt Cullen was terrible on the wing getting destroyed physically and turning over the puck time and again. Cullen is no longer a top6 forward and is not physically capable of playing on the wing. Mikael Granlund inserted as the second line center from day one of this season has been physically taken out of games and been ineffective because his translation to the NHL has shown him to second guess himself. I think Granlund will translate into a second line center but he for now, should be on a wing and with less responsibility. Granlund can help the Wild right now focusing on carry the puck and shooting. Cullen in the last year of his deal is no question in his last season with the Wild. He has experiencing a severe drop off in his physical ability. Cullen and Bouchard are now only specialty players without the size of skill to play top6 minutes and without a definable role within the Wild’s system. Because both Cullen and Bouchard have hefty contracts and are past their prime, I dont see much of a chance that the Wild are able to move either in a trade. Both players are blocking younger players from roster spots and roles of significance with the Wild. In regards to Cullen I think Coach Yeo has relied on him to reinforce his credibility as a coach and provide veteran leadership. Because Cullen has been a respected veteran under Coach Yeo, he has dragged his feet in holding him accountable for his poor play. With Bouchard the glimpses of talent he flashes helps Coach Yeo and GM Fletcher side step how bad his contract is and how little consistency he has shown this season and really in his Wild career.
The question I have for Coach Yeo has yet to be really addressed in specifics, what is his offensive system? Game after game Wild fans watch as the opposing team enters the Wild’s zone with the puck and sets up offensively. Opponents either skating the puck deep or dropping it off to a player just inside of the blue line. The Wild on the other hand seems to rarely be able to enter the offensive zone with the puck on their stick.The Wild has been relagated to dumping the puck before entering the zone and chasing it with mostly negative results. In the event the Wild does catch up to the puck and trap the opposing team in the zone, it then starts a cycle in which the player with the puck never seems to be facing the net or have his head up to be able to see where his linemates are to be able to make a pass. When the Wild was a scrappy devoid of top tier talent team, this brand of offense made sense but now it seems to completely destroy any chance of the Wild scoring and it wastes precious offensive zone opportunities. On the Wild powerplay during their last 5 games how many times have they generated NO SHOTS? Wild arent the Wild able to challenge at their own blue line and refuse entry to their zone like is done to them by opponents?
The other idea I have heard floated that I completey agree with is the need for culture change with the Wild to be facilitated a change in team captain needs to be made. Zach Parise is the most influential player on the Wild and he has only played 10 regular season games. Mikko Koivu the Wild’s captain for years now needs to be replaced to change the expectations the players have for each other. Koivu a lead by example type has jsut not gotten it done. Coach Yeo wants to keep his job he needs to break out of this funk and make an alpha male change in the direction of this team nothing would put the team on notice more than putting a “C” on Parise’s sweater.
Keep an eye out for how GM Fletcher and Coach Yeo respond after a huge let down last night at home versus Vancouver. Fans boo’d the team off the ice last night and it was well deserved. The best players on the ice last night were rookies Charlie Coyle and Jonas Brodin. Devin Setogucci generated more offensive last night than any Wild player despite contuning his brutal trend of being robbed multiple times. Backstrom was chased out for Josh Harding. Mikael Granlund was a healthy scratch. Not alot positive and implemented changes have shown no results thus far.
Just My Thoughts
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