Typically 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 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers:
I want to get through at least a few takeaways without complaining about “injuries.” After all, the reality of the situation is that Pierre-Marc Bouchard
, Mikko Koivu
and Guillaume Latendresse
are out of the lineup and will be for the foreseeable future. But we won’t see Head Coach Mike Yeo or any of his players come out and say that injuries prevented them from winning tonight in Philadelphia: a 5-1 loss to the Flyers.
Here’s the other reality. Despite winning just twice in the last 16 games, the Wild is still in position to make the playoffs. Currently, the team sits in eighth place, with a lot of hockey left in the season. It’s easy to get down right now, but this team has another run in them. They just need to do it with the understanding that big names are going to be out of the lineup. The injury bug has not let up on this team in three years, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon.
“I think we should have a lot more pushback than we’re having now,” said Yeo.
When the opponent scores, it’s typical for a hockey player to shake his head in frustration. Wild players must have been shaking their collective heads in bewilderment. Goals have been at a premium for Minnesota in road games. That’s hard enough.
Then watching Flyer defensemen just throw long wrist shots toward the goal through screens and off hipbones and in. The Flyers just kept throwing pucks at the net, and that’s how they were able to put three of their five goals in. Josh Harding
came up with huge saves on the legitimate scoring chances, but there’s not many ways to prepare for shots that bounce off three things before they get to the net.
Yeo was asked about his team’s demeanor late in the game as the game started to slip further out of reach. Yeo responded by saying he is more concerned with his team’s response when the game was still within reach. After former Flyer Darroll Powe
cut the early deficit to one goal, the Flyers quickly responded to pad the lead again.
It was then that Yeo thought players tried to do too much, rather than doing the things that resulted in scoring chances early in the game. As Yeo said, that’s something that the team will have to correct.
“Bad things are going to happen,” he said while pointing out that bad things happened when the team couldn’t lose earlier in the season. But the team is responding to those bad things differently now than they were back then when they’d fall behind and always find a way to climb back into it.
I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that the Wild players had their fathers and brothers watching this one together in a Wells Fargo Center suite. I’m going to say it’s a good thing. I’m guessing most of the dad’s know that the players know when they do the right things or the wrong things on the ice. And if they don’t, they likely hear about it from the coaches.
But with more than half the season over, maybe it’s good to have another reassuring voice at a time like this. Unlike last night when the team had a dinner with all of the players and their guests, tomorrow will be different. Following practice in Toronto, the guys will be free to do whatever they want with their family members.
If you watched “24/7 Flyers-Rangers” on HBO, you probably noticed one thing more than anything else: Ilya Bryzgalov is a strange bird. Even though we didn’t get to see one of his interesting takes on life tonight, he did show that he is a bit different even on the ice.
When Powe’s bad angle slap shot sailed over the netminder’s shoulder and in, Bryzgalov looked down at his left arm as if there was a hole in it that he had never noticed before. I doubt he dwelled on the goal too much though, because after all, “the universe is hu-MAHN-gous.”