Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 3-2 loss against the Vancouver Canucks:
For the third time in 16 days, the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks played a hard-fought contest. For the first time in those 16 days, the Canucks skated away with a victory.
The loss snaps a 10-game point streak, where the Wild went 8-0-2. The club did all it could to send the game into overtime late in the game. The final 30 seconds might’ve been the contest’s most exciting. With goaltender Devan Dubnyk pulled for an extra skater, the Wild pressed the Canucks like an iron on a shirt. Matt Dumba and Jason Pominville each had good looks with time winding down, but goaltender Eddie Lack and the rest of the Vancouver defenders did everything in their power to keep Minnesota from scoring.
With the Wild looking in from outside of the playoff picture, it’s nearly impossible to avert your eyes from the standings after each contest. The Winnipeg Jets won in overtime tonight, as did the Calgary Flames. Minnesota is now three points back of the San Jose Sharks for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, but sits in 10th following a Kings' win. The club will get another crack to gain some ground on Wednesday, as the Wild travels to Calgary.
Earlier today, the media spoke to Jordan Schroeder about playing the Canucks in Vancouver for the first time since signing with the Wild. Schroeder was selected by the organization in the first round (22nd overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The wing said that he was excited to be back and in the city where he got his pro start, but he was approaching the contest as just another one the Wild needed to win. However, I’m sure Schroeder likes nothing more than trying to stick it to his former team when he gets the chance.
In his first game against his former mates, Schroeder scored his first goal in a Wild sweater. In the Five Takeaways from that game, I compared it to seeing an ex and wanting to bring your A-game. Well, tonight he threw on a fly outfit, did a few push up and got a fresh cut before the match, and set up a pair of Nino Niederreiter goals…
On the first Niederreiter goal, Schroeder used his speed to cut wide and force the Canucks defenders onto their heels. For his part, Niederreiter busted to the net and Schroeder found him with a tape-to-tape pass for a tap in. With the Wild down two goals, the duo was at it again and pulled the Wild within one. The line was on the forecheck and Schroeder found an opening and slipped the puck to Niederreiter in the slot. The Swiss wing roofed a puck that slipped past Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack for his 18th of the season.
Before the game, Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo spoke about the team’s need for secondary scoring. Well, the combo, paired with Charlie Coyle, seems to have found some chemistry. The big bodies of Coyle and Niederreiter pair with Schroeder’s speed like a good cabernet with a pan seared rib eye steak.
Identical twins have an eerie kinetic bond only they can understand. In 1979, identical twins James Arthur Springer and James Edward Lewis were reunited 39 years after being given up by their mother and separately adopted as one-month-olds. Springer and Lewis learned they had each married and divorced a woman named Linda and remarried a Betty. They both suffered from tension headaches, were prone to nail biting, smoked Salem cigarettes and drove the same type of car.
The nature of twins brings up a few interesting questions about the National Hockey League’s power bros, Daniel and Henrik Sedin. If the Sedin twins were separated at birth, would they both have become standout NHLers? Or, did they push each other enough to become premier talents? Finally, if they were separated at birth, if you put them on the ice together after years apart, would they be as effective? Regardless, Henrik’s second period goal was a weird Sedin-connection play that the twins have become famous for. Daniel came in on the right wing and was looking to pass to his carbon copy the entire time. The passing lane wasn’t available, so he fired the puck off Dubnyk’s pads. Tracking like a magnet, the puck went right to the tape of Daniel, who fired it into the back of the net. If they had played together and you threw a puck on the ice, would the Sedins instantaneously be able to make plays like that one or was their hockey connection built through years of practice?
After the Canucks’ morning skate, I was walking in the corridors of Rogers Arena to watch the Wild’s practice. As I strolled towards the Zamboni tunnel, the Sedins walked out of the locker room in front of me. I’m sad to report they didn’t have matching outfits on, but you have to wonder if they have to text each other before leaving the house for practice so they don’t coordinate.
It’s funny how an image can sometimes bring back a long-forgotten memory from your youth—one that’s been buried deep in the recesses of your mind for whatever reason. For me, the Canucks’ Orca Whale sweaters brings me back to a visit in Vancouver, when my smart mouth nearly got me in hot water with a powerful hockey executive. The incident that scared the bejesus out of me was when I was participating in a showcase for the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) in Vancouver. Really, the camp was a moneymaker for the league, pulling in junior hockey hopefuls like a cattle call to perform in front of BCHL coaches and scouts for an entry fee.
At the camp, the guest speaker was then Canucks General Manager Pat Quinn. That season, the Canucks were unveiling their new Orca Whale “C” sweaters, eschewing the black, yellow and orange flying-skate logo. A provincial follower of the Canucks’ Pavel Bure teams of the early 90s, I didn’t like the redesign. When Quinn was addressing the bright-eyed youngsters, he talked about the team’s new logo. Under my breath, I said something like, “Yeah, it really sucks.” At least, I thought it was under my breath because Quinn quickly snapped, “Who said that?!” I sunk down low in my chair and prayed that the guys around me didn’t point me out because Quinn was hot and he’d probably take the punk who interrupted him out back and box his ears. Thankfully, they didn’t and Quinn went off on the group about what the logo meant to the organization and city of Vancouver.
Earlier this season, the hockey world lost Quinn and although I never met the man personally, I walked away with a few lessons that day. First, respect the crest on the front of the sweater because, in hockey, it’s more important than the name on the back. Second, when there’s a guest speaker with that kind of experience, listen and learn and don’t be an idiot. Finally, if you’re going to be a wisenheimer, make sure whoever it is you’re smarting-off to can’t hear you or be ready to pay the consequences.