Following Wild games, Managing Editor Glen Andresen will give the five takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators.
In October, the Minnesota Wild spent 11 days on the road and won zero out of five games, but somehow a four-day trip in which the team went 1-1 seemed longer at the end. The undermanned, newly equipped Wild couldn’t get on track against the Ottawa Senators and fell, 4-1. Things just didn’t seem right from puck drop. Todd Richards pretty much said that it wasn’t a very good game for the Wild, but he was pleased with the effort. With Robbie Earl, Eric Belanger and Guillaume Latendresse
all out because of illness, the team was seriously lacking in scoring threats.
The 24 hours leading up to Saturday’s game was unlike any the Wild, or any NHL team had ever seen. All but nine players had their equipment burned in a fire yesterday. From the time that happened Equipment Manager Tony Dacosta and his crew had to assess the damage, clean every piece of equipment that was salvageable, deploy Assistant Equipment Manager Brent Proulx to St. Paul, fly Proulx, two others and replacement equipment to Ottawa, prep the equipment and have it ready for a morning skate at 11:30 AM. Needless to say, the crew had large bags under their eyes after getting next to no sleep. It was a stressful day for all of them, yet they managed to pull off a remarkable feat in a crisis situation.
The Wild has always had problems when there is a Brodeur in the opposing goal. The Wild has defeated New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur a grand total of one time in nine tries. Now, they are 0-for-1 against Mike Brodeur (no relation), who made his NHL debut tonight. The kid looked solid despite not being put in the wringer by the Wild. He did make some big stops in the first period as the Wild went scoreless on three power plays. He was better in the third as the Wild started mounting a late charge, but Kyle Brodziak
and Marek Zidlicky were both turned away by some fantastic stops on shots from in tight.
He also had a bit of luck. With the Wild only down 2-0 in the second, Andrew Brunette appeared to have a sure goal on the power play, but he missed his chance by putting a close range shot right off the elbow of the post/crossbar.
Former Senator Martin Havlat picked up another goal, giving him eight points (3-5=8) in the last five games. Havlat looked like the Wild’s best player for much of the night. He led the Wild with four shots on goal, and drew a couple penalties while wearing a pair of skates that he wore last season with the Chicago Blackhawks. Havlat received a loud cheer when he was introduced in the starting lineup, yet he was booed when his name was announced after the goal.
The Corel Centre was the final Canadian arena that I had never attended in my time with the Wild, and I have to say I was a little disappointed. On a Saturday night in a Canadian city, I expected a huge and raucous crowd like the one we saw in Montreal two nights ago. Instead, there were rows of empty seats, especially in the lower bowl, and the crowd really only got loud four times. It just added to the strange night all around.
Of course, not many crowds at NHL arenas have Carrie Underwood in them, either. The country/pop crooner was in attendance and I managed to snap this photo from my perch in the Brian “Smitty” Smith Press Box across the way. Photography doesn’t get better than that, and I’m in talks with People Magazine and Us Weekly about the rights to that gem. It clearly shows her winking at me from across the rink. Sorry Carrie, I’m a happily married man, but best of luck to you and the consolation prize, Mike Fisher.