Following Wild games, Managing Editor Glen Andresen will give the five takeaways that he'll remember from each contest.
Tonight’s 5-2 loss to the Canucks was disappointing for many reasons, but especially after the last five games. Following two wins and four days of high-spirited practices, it was tough for us Wild backers to not look ahead. Yes, the Wild was still tied for the bottom spot in the West, but you had to figure it had a good shot to beat an injury riddled team tonight, and then a beatable team in Dallas on Saturday at home. Then you’re looking at four road games against Eastern Conference foes, and all look winnable. Alas, the club will have to worry about just one thing, and that’s the Dallas game.
Eric Belanger did not play in the third period after suffering an upper body injury. His status is unknown, and he’ll be evaluated tomorrow. Let’s hope this is just a minor malady, because Belanger has been one of the Wild’s most consistent performers and is tied for the team lead in scoring with 12 points. Belanger has firmly established himself as the team’s second line center between Marty Havlat and Petr Sykora. If Belanger misses an extended period of time, it will be interesting to see where the team’s centers (Brodziak and James Sheppard) fall in.
One Wild fan who undoubtedly left tonight’s game in a good mood despite the loss was Sam Sjostrom of Crystal (also Todd Richards’ hometown). During the second intermission, Sjostrom won the Xcel Energy
Homesmart competition by blowing more greenbacks into an empty net than his competition. For the win, Sjostrom will receive a furnace package, complete with installation, which is valued at $5,000. He’ll be living the good life this winter.
He wasn’t talked about much in the Wild locker room, or in Richards’ postgame press conference, but Andrew Raycroft was grand in this one. He made two key saves: 1) knocking Petr Sykora’s wrist shot out of the air with the fat end of his goalie stick in the second period, and 2) somehow getting a pad on Owen Nolan’s shot from three feet away off a perfect feed from Marty Havlat. Raycroft also came up with this gem for the media when asked about Hordichuk’s slap shot goal, which was his first in 50 games: “That’s a shot he takes everyday in practice and at 10 in the morning, you don’t really want that high glove right…So I give him grief everyday, but I don’t know if he’ll be able to do that tomorrow after he scored. It’s going to be even higher and harder now that he has a little confidence. Listen to him back there. It’s like he’s Wayne Gretzky.”
The Wild is 0-1-0 this season with the team sporting some interesting facial hair. Due to Movember, a November initiative that promotes men’s health and prostate cancer awareness, the team is growing out their mustaches, and tonight, they made their debuts in pregame warmups. In fact, nearly every Wild player was sporting the upper lip caterpillar, and most warmed up without a bucket on their heads to give fans the full effect. Cal Clutterbuck
even slicked his hair and parted it to the side, making him look like Clark Gable
. John Scott, Brent Burns and Greg Zanon are going full out
handlebar mustaches, and Wild.com plans to monitor these developments throughout the month of November.