Good evening State of Hockey legion! Hugs all around for joining me on this lovely Saturday night for a little live in-game commentary action on Wild.com. I know it's early in the season, but I'm sure you've already realized that the "in crowd" is no longer hanging out at the Local or Chino Latino on Saturday nights. No, no, no good ma'am. The hipsters spend their weekend nights hanging out in front of their computer, sipping on a cold drink and maybe listening to some Wilson Phillips in the background.
And wouldn't you know, today happens to be the birthday of Wendy Wilson of Wilson Phillips? That's right, 41 years ago today, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and his wife welcomed in young Wendy, who along with her younger sister Carnie, went on to create musical gold in the 1980's. Don't even pretend you don't have at least one WP song on your iTunes "relaxing sounds" playlist.
Right now, the Minnesota Wild is going through their pregame warmup ritual, but sadly there isn't a Wilson Phillips song in the warmup playlist. Nevertheless, Niklas Backstrom
looks like a man possessed as he flicks away warmup shots with ease. I'm not a merciful person, but I do feel sorry for the Blue Jackets tonight. It might take them awhile to get over the frustration Backstrom is about to inflict. Don't worry Columbus, eventually things will go your way, just "hold on for one more daaaay."
Everybody is out there for warmups, including Clayton Stoner
, who will be the lone healthy scratch tonight. Perhaps, he'll take this one in from the Al Shaver Press Box, and maybe he'll even sit with Pierre-Marc Bouchard
, who is out because of a concussion.
As for attire, the Wild are breaking out the green third jerseys for this one. The Blue Jackets will sport the road whites trimmed in red and blue with the silver star on the chest.
We've got "Let's Play Hockey" out of the way, and now it's time to actually do this thing. Let's get this party started, right?Period 1
15:05 - The Wild gets its first shot of the game on a long wrister from Brent Burns. The Jacks have only put one on Backstrom as well. If I were an overly dramatic TV broadcaster, this would be the perfect opportunity to say these teams "are like two heavyweights feeling each other out."
13:49 - Cam Barker lines up big Rick Nash as he tries to gain the Wild zone. It's tough to say who gets the worst of this collision as both go down in a heap. It's easy to see that Nash isn't happy about it. He immediately gets up and tries to drill the Bark Dog against the glass away from the play.
11:31 - Derick Brassard has some speed as he gains the Wild zone. He never breaks stride as he lets a hard wrister go, but Backstrom deftly kicks out the right leg pillow for his best stop in the early going.6:46 - MIN 0 - CBJ 1 - It has not been a picturesque period for the Wild, and the Blue Jackets finally take advantage. Kris Russell's blast from the point is deflected past Backstrom and hits the post. The puck falls about one foot in front of the goal line and Derek Dorsett is able to lunge onto his belly and poke it in. Let's hope this is the alarm that wakes the Wild up. Thus far, the good guys in green have been held to one shot on goal.
2:54 - Something...please...happen.
1:58 - This is something. Perhaps looking to kickstart his teammates and the crowd, Brad Staubitz smacks former Ohio State Buckeye R.J. Umberger. Staubitz tries to goad Umberger into dropping the gloves, but he's not biting. Meanwhile, the Wild is churning into the Columbus zone. Guillaume Latendresse
centers one to Nick Schultz alone in front. He fires a wrister that beats Mathieu Garon, but just misses wide.
0:00 - So ends a first period that probably doesn't fit into the "stellar" classification. The good news is the deficit is a measly one goal, and there are 40 minutes remaining in the contest. Even better, we now get to find out who is on the Wild Year 10 Team. I wonder who made it!Period 2
20:00 - Five of the six members of the Wild's All-Time Team are on the ice or on the bench right now. Andrew Brunette, Mikko Koivu
, Brent Burns, Nick Schultz and Nik Backstrom were joined on the Year 10 All-Time Team by Marian Gaborik. Bobbleheads of all six players will be given out at select games this season. Koivu's bobblehead will be first up on Tuesday when Vancouver comes to town.
16:57 - Now it's on. Staubitz has his dancing partner, and it's Dorsett after Garon holds onto a Wild shot. This isn't much of a brawl as Dorsett does little more than try to hold Stauby's arms down. As the two meander behind the Columbus cage, Staubitz finally gets loose with a couple shots and puts Dorsett on the ice.15:08 - MIN 1 - CBJ 1 - Oh my! There's a frontrunner for the Top Play of Week Two. The Wild power play connects again when Martin Havlat's misfire hits off the backwall and bounces to the right side of the net. Burns skates deep into the zone, and spins around with a no-look backhand from an impossible angle. The puck hits off Garon and goes in, bringing this crowd back to life.
10:46 - Marek Zidlicky takes a page out of Greg Zanon's book, saving a goal by going down to block a shot by Brassard while Backstrom is down on the ice and way out of position. Zidlicky is stung by this one, but the fans rightfully appreciate the sacrifice of the body.10:27 - MIN 1 - CBJ 2 - Brassard responds by setting up Derek MacKenzie with a perfect cross ice pass that is one-timed past a lunging Backy. This comes right as Barker is coming out of the box, so the penalty kill knocks off another, but the Jackets regain the advantage.
6:13 - Cal Clutterbuck
sends Rostislav Klesla airborne with a monstrous hit behind the Blue Jackets net. That then leads to a turnover, with Havlat getting the puck in the right circle. He tries to fire a "lay-zer" between the arm and body of Garon, but the Columbus keeper sponges it up and holds on for a whistle.3:17 - MIN 2 - CBJ 2 - In the immortal words of "Pauly D" Delvecchio, "Oh yeaaaah! Cal Clutterbuck! Oh yeaaah!" Just when the Wild was in desperate need of an even strength goal, Clutter delivers. It's not possible without Havlat's wicked one-timer from the top of the left circle. Garon makes a pad stop on that, but Cal crashes the net and sweeps the rebound into the cage for his first of the season. Period 3
17:00 - A long Zidlicky shot makes its way through a maze of legs and gets right in on Garon. He makes the stop, but the rebound bounces right to Koivu on the doorstep. He tries to put a backhand up high, but Garon sticks with it and makes a big stop.
14:25 - While killing a penalty, Antti Miettinen is the first player to chase down a Wild clear in the Columbus corner. From behind the net, he makes a perfect saucer pass to Koivu bearing down the slot. The captain one-times it right on, but Garon comes up with a huge pad stop.
10:47 - The license plate on that truck reads "NYSTROM 23." Put out an APB because it just ran over former Ohio State Buckeye Nate Guenin behind the Blue Jacket net. 9:02 - MIN 2 - CBJ 3 - Umberger, who is a master shorthanded specialist thinks he's got another shortie as he races in on a two-on-one. He makes a nifty toe drag move and gets in on Backstrom, who stops him from in tight. He doesn't have complete control, so when he flops down, he doesn't know where the puck is, just that it's underneath him. Umberger, now behind the net, is adamantly contending that it's a goal. The refs go upstairs for a review. At first glance, it doesn't look conclusive enough to overturn the call. We shall see...Are you kidding me? They say the "call on the ice stands, it's a goal." Here's the problem, the refs never, EVER signaled for a goal. Plus, the replays show exactly zero evidence of a goal. Backstrom is incensed right now, and rightfully so. This is absurd.
5:38 - Havlat shows his hands of cotton by dancing around Fedor Tytuin and holding possession of the puck. He tries to pick his spot on the far side, but just misses wide.
2:29 - Klesla makes the mistake of pinching in deep. He pays the price as Clutterbuck lines him up and staples him against the glass.
1:18 - Todd Richards calls timeout, and Dave Barr is drawing up the equalizing play.
0:33.2 - Aye! Zidlicky cranks a shot that Garon can't control. The rebound pops right to Cullen, but he's robbed by Garon. Cullen looks at the ceiling in disbelief.
0:01.2 - I don't know how this one doesn't go in. Brunette puts a tip on a shot, and then pushes the rebound right toward the goal. Falling back, Garon throws his glove back and appears to stop it right on the goal line. Bruno tries kicking it in, but can't push it over.
0:00 - The horn sounds, the Wild falls for the first time at home. Tough one to swallow after a headscratching call on Umberger's game winner.