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Lighthouse: Week of May 10

by Glen Andresen / Minnesota Wild

May 12, 2010 | 9:50 AM

Yesterday's "hypothetical" blog about my Team USA World Championship squad was so much fun, I thought I'd take on another hypothetical situation at the risk of looking like an idiot.

Last night, among other things, the Star Tribune's Mike Russo, the most intense beat writer in the NHL, discussed several topics in his blog, one of them being the possibility of the Wild being the only American team in the Northwest should Phoenix relocate back to Winnipeg.

Now, it appears that's not going to happen. However, I'd still like to entertain the thought of some realignment scenarios, because let's be honest, it's not easy to stay up late every time the Wild plays a divisional road game. So, I'm offering my services to the NHL and I have fixed the divisions to benefit the team I work for. It should be noted that the Lighthouse ideas in no way reflect the feelings of anyone inside the Wild organization other than me. It should also be noted that anyone who would disagree should be considered a lunatic.

Scenario 1: The Coyotes stay in Phoenix

Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Phoenix, Vancouver
Midwest or Mountain: Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado, St. Louis, Dallas
Central: Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, Columbus

The only problem I see here is taking St. Louis away from rivals like Detroit and Chicago. But let's be honest, it's not 1982 anymore, no matter how much Napoleon Dynamite's Uncle Rico wants it to be, so he could go back and take state.

But how nice is that? Nobody is traveling through two time zones to play a Division rival! Amaaayyyyzing!

Scenario 2: The Coyotes move back to Winnipeg

Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Colorado, Vancouver
Midwest: Minnesota, Winnipeg, St. Louis, Calgary, Edmonton
Central: Dallas, Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, Chicago

This is less ideal, because it'd be nice to have the Wild keep playing teams primarily in the Central time zone. But still, we'd at least have two teams in our time zone, and the trip to Vancouver is eliminated.

There you have it! No matter where the Coyotes go, I went ahead and realigned the League so it can be one less thing the powers that be have to worry about it.

In the words of Nick Burns, "Oh by the way...You're WELCOME!" 

May 11, 2010 | 3:55 PM

It seems safe to say that the World Hockey championships aren't at the top of our collective minds, even though this is the State of Hockey, and we do have six Minnesotans. Some of us are currently preoccupied with NHL playoffs, and to some extent, the Twins' quest for a 151-11 season.

But I think the reason we lack a little excitement is because we know it's not the best of the best representing each country. Rest assured, if that was the case, the United States would not be winless in two games against Germany and Denmark.

But with several players battling in the playoffs, we can't really send our best. And some of those players who aren't currently playing, have already represented the country at the Olympics this year. A trip to Germany is probably not what they need (although Jack Johnson is on the World Championship team, and was a key cog for the Olympic team).

So because there is a lack of news, I figured I'd put together my ideal Team USA roster with players who did not participate in the Olympics. However, some of these guys are in the playoffs, but that's okay. I thought it'd be fun.

So, without further adieu, here is my Fantasy Non-Olympian Team USA Hockey squadron that everybody would agree to play for.

Bold = Currently on the World Championship team

Centers: Tim Connolly (Buffalo/Syracuse, NY), Scott Gomez (Montreal/Anchorage, AK), Matt Cullen (Ottawa/Virginia, MN) and T.J. Oshie (St. Louis/Warroad, MN).

Wingers: R.J. Umberger (Columbus/Pittsburgh, PA), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders/St. Paul, MN), Lee Stempniak (Phoenix/West Seneca, NY), Brian Gionta (Montreal/Rochester, NY), Bill Guerin (Pittsburgh/Worcester, MA), Jason Blake (Anaheim/Moorhead, MN), Blake Wheeler (Boston/Minneapolis, MN) and James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia/Middletown, NJ).

Defensemen: Tyler Myers, who considers himself Canadian but he was born in Texas, so whether he likes it or not, he's on our side (Buffalo, Katy, TX), Keith Yandle (Phoenix/Boston, MA), Mike Komisarek, (Toronto/West Islip, NY), Paul Martin (New Jersey/Elk River, MN), Matt Carle (Philadelphia/Anchorage, AK), Alex Goligoski (Pittsburgh/Grand Rapids, MN) and John Carlson (Washington/Natick, MA).

And yes, I know Komisarek and Martin were named to the Olympic team, but they were both hurt, so they're on my team.

Goaltenders: Jimmy Howard (Detroit/Syracuse, NY), Craig Anderson (Colorado/Park Ridge, IL) and Brian Boucher, who went and got himself hurt last night, meaning I may have to call in Ty Conklin (St. Louis/Anchorage, AK).

I even had trouble whittling down the defensemen. I left off Ron Hainsey, Matt Greene, John-Michael Liles, Keith Ballard, James Wisniewski, Tom Gilbert and even former UMD Bulldog, Matt Niskanen.

On the forward side, I scrapped Brandon Dubinsky and Mike Modano because I like my centers. And I looked for a spot for Robbie Earl, who hit on 20.7% of the shots he took last year, but I just couldn't find space for him. 

And in goal, well, us Americans aren't very deep in goal. But we do have Ryan Miller, and nobody else does.

That team is not too shabby if I do say so myself. And really, only Gomez, Gionta, Guerin, Wheeler, van Riemsdyk, Carle and Goligoski are still playing right now. The rest should get their tails off to Germany and meet up with Todd Richards. Tell him I sent you.

May 10, 2010 | 4:45 PM

It seems safe to say that Team USA's success in the Olympics did not exactly propel them in this year's World Championships like we might have hoped.

Today, Team USA dropped another 2-1 overtime decision to Denmark. Now, you might scoff at the notion of losing to Denmark until you realize that they are led by today's overtime hero, Stefan Lessan, who has a Facebook page. And you didn't think there were any hockey superstars on Facebook. That'll learn ya.

Team Finland also struggled with Denmark over the weekend, losing 4-1 on Saturday. But that is most likely due to Antti Miettinen not playing for an unspecified reason. He was in the lineup today, however, which helped Finland beat Germany, 1-0.

So it's been a tough go for U.S. Assistant Coach Todd Richards and the other Minnesotans on the team. Things have gone slightly better for one of the other Wild reps at the tournament. Brent Burns tallied an assist in Canada's 5-1 win over Italy over the weekend. Burns saw 18:12 worth of ice time in that game. Burns picked up another assist today as Canada took down Latvia, 6-1.

Finally, any true Wild fan remembers shootout whiz and smurf look-a-like, Petteri Nummelin. Well, here's a little trivia about good 'ol Petts. With his appearance in the game against Denmark, he made history by becoming the first player to have played in 15 top division World Championships, passing such legends as Jiri Holik and Sven Tumba (Johansson). Petteri’s father, Timo, was a Team Finland regular in the 1970's and early 1980's and played in eight World Championships with Team Finland.

Timo also won the soccer juggling contest among Wild players prior to a game in Anaheim during the first-ever father-son road trip in 2006.
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