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Good evening State of Hockey legion, and a Happy Bill of Rights Day to you all. I'm sure I don't need to remind you that on this very day in 1791, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and their cronies in Washington ratified the Bill of Rights. Were it not for that fateful day, we wouldn't have free speech, the right of search and seizure or cruel and unusual punishment.
We also probably wouldn't have live in-game commentary, and then how would you follow tonight's game, because you certainly can't watch it on the boob tube. Tonight's clash between the Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets is not televised in either market tonight, which means live in-game commentary is your go-to source for the action tonight. So, I am dutifully sitting in my Al Shaver Press Box perch watching the Wild and Jax take pregame warmups. It's what J-Mon and T-Jeff would have wanted.
Here's what you don't want if you're a Blue Jackets fan: Niklas Backstrom
blocking the Minnesota Wild goal. Tough. That's what you're getting. "Backs" is getting the starting nod and he's given up a grand total of one goal in his last two starts. Sorry, Ohio, but good luck in the Rose Bowl. Try and keep the deficit under 30 points this year.
On the injury front, the Wild will be without Owen Nolan with a lower body injury. That means Rowdy Robbie Earl will be in the lineup after getting called up earlier today. Of course, Pierre-Marc Bouchard
, Brent Burns, Andrew Ebbett and Petr Sykora remain out with concussions. Ebbett and Sykora have been skating the last couple of days, so that's a good thing.
As far as attire goes, the Wild will wear their home red sweaters in honor of the holidays tonight. The Blue Jackets will wear their patriotic road whites trimmed in red and blue with the Ohio flag and the silver star on the chest. No doubt they are wearing those colors in honor of Bill of Rights Day.
Now, because tonight's game is not televised, the readership traffic might skyrocket into the teens, and possibly the twenties. This may cause problems with your connection speed, so please bear with me. In the words of Tommy Callahan III, "Let's do it. It's go time."Period 1
17:44 - The bodies are flying early as Derek Boogaard collides with Mathieu Roy behind the Columbus net. Neither is hurt, but that looked violent.
16:34 - In a stroke of bad luck, Antti Miettinen has the puck on his stick and he's got numbers, but a Columbus stick comes sliding right at him and prevents him from making the pass he wants, which is to Mikko Koivu
at the front.
13:28 - Believe it or not, this is our first whistle of the game. At this rate, we're going to be out of here at 8:30. The whistle comes after a pretty play by Boogey and Big John Scott. Boogaard slides a nice drop pass to the blue line for Scott, who cranks a slapper on goal and Steve Mason snares it with the glove.
10:00 - By the way, it's come to our attention that the radio feed here on Wild.com is not coming through at the moment. It is being worked on right now, and should be up and running in just a few minutes. We apologize for the inconvenience.
8:40 - Andrew Brunette leads an odd-man rush and he sends a pass over to Greg Zanon. The former Nebraska Omaha Maverick fires a shot on goal, which is stopped by the leg pad of Mason. Mittens is right there in the crease along with the puck, but his stick is tied up and he can't bang it home.
7:48 - The Xcel Energy Center crowd comes alive for the effort as the Wild pins the Jacks in their own zone. Kyle Brodziak
fires a shot off the post, and Martin Havlat creats all kinds of havoc before getting pulled down on an obvious hook. There is no call and Havlat is livid as he skates back to the bench while jawing at the referee.
4:54 - The Wild continues to pound away on Mason, but no dice so far. Miettinen has another great chance from point blank range, but his quick shot is again stopped by Mason, who just gets a shoulder on it.
0:00 - An absolutely dominant period by the Wild comes to an end with the home club leading in shots, 11-3, but tied on the scoreboard, 0-0.Period 2
16:19 - MIN 0 - CBJ 1 - Sure enough, the Wild dominates, but the Blue Jackets get the first goal. Off a scramble in front, Rick Nash is able to gather the rebound and and throw it on goal as he's falling down and he gets it underneath the paddle of Backstrom. That guy is a clydesdale in front of the net. There is no moving him. Here's the video.
12:24 - What a great play by Mikko Koivu
, who has to wait at the blue line for Andrew Brunette to clear the zone. As soon as Bruno gets back, Koivu bursts into the zone and walks around a defender before dropping the puck back to Brunette, who gets a good shot off but is foiled again by Mason. 11:52 - MIN 1 - CBJ 1 - Boom goeth the dynamite! Marty Havlat has now figured in the last six Wild goals as he sends the puck behind the Jackets net for Koivu. The captain then makes a blind pass to the slot where Guillaume Latendresse one-times it for the equalizer. That's how you draw it up! Here's the video.
11:40 - Boom goeth the plexiglass! As Fedor Tyutin (great hockey name) plays the puck along the near boards, he gets crushed by James Sheppard. As Tyutin goes down, his skate comes up and drills the plexiglass, causing it to explode everywhere, including on the folks in the front row. The crowd gets almost as loud for this as they do for the G-Lat goal. Here's the video
3:11 - Nash nearly gets his team back on top by zipping a pass to the doorstep for Kristian Huselius, but he deflects his attempt just wide of the goal.
1:54 - Lesson learned for Jan Hejda: when you see Derek Boogaard coming at you, get rid of the puck and hightail it out of there. Hejda does neither here and that means he's going to have paint from the Minnesota National Guard dasher board logo all over his nice white jersey.Period 3
16:15 - I'm guessing at this point radio announcers Bob Kurtz and Tom Reid are launching into their favorite monotone routine when nothing is happening: "They got it. We got it. They got it. We got it."
It's a humorous way of saying that play is less than spectacular at the moment.
12:42 - As the play heads into the Columbus zone, I happen to look down at the Wild net to see both Backstrom and Scott on their back in the crease. I have no idea how this happened, but I'm guessing it wasn't a planned play.
5:49 - I'm struggling, folks. There really has been nothing in this period in terms of hits, scoring chances or revelry. Let's say that this is a good game to not have any television crews in attendance.
2:04 - The Koivu line finally gets something going in the Columbus zone as Bruno gets the puck in his office behind the net. He feeds Koivu out front, but the puck glances off the side of his stick and goes wide.
0:44.0 - Latendresse gets a head of steam as he circles the Jacket zone and he whips around the side of the net to try and stuff one in, but Mason is all over it.0:38.8 - MIN 2 - CBJ 1 - Glory Hallelujah! Marek Zidlicky unleashes a slapper from the point and it somehow gets past everyone and finds a home in the top shelf. Zid looks like he can't believe it as he glides back through the neutral zone before pumping a demonstrative fist. That will easily take away the sour taste of that previously uneventful third period.
0:00 - We will take it! The Wild pulls out a huge two points and gives the Blue Jackets nada, meaning Minnesota will leap over Columbus in the standings. Now it's time to scoreboard watch and see if the flying W's can mosey on past the Edmonton Oilers as well.