Following Wild games, Managing Editor Glen Andresen will give the five takeaways that he'll remember from each contest.
To borrow a basketball term, Marty Havlat “posterized” Dallas’ Jamie Benn in the first period. With Benn looking to check Havlat off the puck at the Stars’ blueline, Marty stuck the puck through Benn’s legs, and then juked around him. The play led to a scoring chance for Mikko Koivu
, and drew a large “oooh” from the crowd.
Say what you want about Marian Gaborik, but when he got the puck with speed, the Team of 18,000 was on its feet and a buzz wafted up from the seats. That hasn’t happened often this year, but Havlat showed how he could get fans to stand up, and that’s by making moves with the puck that most players – including Gaborik – can’t do. Admittedly, Havlat is not having a good start to the season, but he was fantastic on Saturday. If he keeps up this kind of play, fans will have reason to buzz when number 14 is dancing with the puck.
If you need further evidence that the Wild dominated the first period besides the 2-0 lead and the 17-4 edge, how about this: Dallas didn’t register its first shot on goal until the 12:21 mark of the opening stanza when it was 3:30 into a four-minute power play.
I was hoping to go the whole season without seeing it, but it wasn’t meant to be. First, let me say that the NHL has instituted some outstanding rule changes in recent years, including the elimination of the red line and the requirement for any team that ices the puck to remain on the ice for a quick faceoff. Here’s one rule I still feel needs to be changed, and it happened near the end of the second period. Brent Burns and Brendan Morrow went after a puck in the corner. Burns took Morrow down and was called for holding, and then Morrow was called for diving.
I have still yet to hear a reasonable explanation for why it isn’t one or the other. If Morrow embellished but was held, fine. So what if he falls hard or soft, he still got held. But if he in fact dove, then why should Burns be called for a penalty. It should be one or the other. Mr. Bettman, I’m certain you read five takeaways, let’s make it happen, Cap’n!
I might get ridiculed for writing this, and let me preface it by saying I would much rather the Wild be tops in the Western Conference than where they are at this point. That being said, Wild games are going to be interesting at this point in the season. The team has to play with desperation, and it has to take risks. Saturday’s win was just one game, but it was played by a team that skated and worked with a sense of urgency. The hole is deep, but it certainly isn’t covered. We’re entering the second week of November for crying out loud. But if this team plays with desperation, it’s going to wreak havoc on some teams who are a little more comfortable in their current situations.
In soccer (or as the world calls it, football) a goal put into your own net is called an “own” goal. We saw two of them tonight – one for each team. Nick Schultz, who lit the lamp for the Stars, said he had done it once before. I feel like I actually remember a stretch of a few games in the matter of a month (either 2003-2004 or 2005-2006) where Schultz accidentally popped some pucks in his own net. Of course, I have neither the time nor the intestinal fortitude to look at the video archives.
This isn’t the type of play you can really get mad at as a fan, because Schultz is doing his job in breaking up a play in a danger zone, but sometimes the puck bounces the wrong way. Schultz, who is always a class act, told the media, “It was a pure snipe. But it’s nice that you guys can talk about somebody else putting one in his own net. Not just me.”