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STONE COLD STUNNER
Last night Clayton Stoner scored his first goal of the season. It was something special.
Let’s just say his goal wasn’t your run-of-the-mill shot from the blue line. No, Stoner got a breakaway out of the penalty box and with a few smooth moves in front of the net, he buried the puck for his first of the year.
But this isn’t in the Best of the Web purely for those eye-opening dangles. Poor Stoner got tripped up right after his score and, as a result, didn’t even get to properly celly the occasion. Whatever he had planned — and I’m sure it would have been fantastic — was quickly squandered as he sailed straight into the boards, sporting the greatest look of shock. No worries though, he got up and got an awesome hug from his teammates.
ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS
With three assists last night, Captain Mikko Koivu passed Marian Gaborik as the franchise’s leading scorer.
Koivu has registered 438 points (127-311=438) over his 588-game career with the Wild, solidifying his position on Minnesota’s record books. Don’t worry folks, he got his hands on a game puck to commemorate the occasion. Congrats Mikko!
YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR FIRST
Wild.com Managing Editor Mike Doyle has lived in the State of Hockey on and off for just under a decade. Yet, he never attended the state hockey tournament despite playing the beautiful game himself (he’s from Alaska, what more do I need to say?). Well, that all changed this year.
For three days at the beginning of March Doyle made his way to Al Shaver press box to take in the passion, grandeur and all-around importance of the most highly attended state tournament in the country. If you’ve ever gone to the tournament and want a walk down memory lane, or if you’ve never been and want a taste of what it’s like, check out Doyle’s account of the action and atmosphere.
Also, if you haven’t been fortunate enough to stumble upon this year’s All-Hockey Hair team, please take a moment to watch it now. It’s well worth your time. Look out for shout outs to Wild Assistant Coach Darby Hendrickson and FSN’s Kevin Gorg.
COMING HOME AGAIN
On Monday, as the Wild traveled to Boston, it marked a special day for Charlie Coyle. For the first time in his professional career the East Weymouth, Mass., native was going to play his hometown team in his home state.
It was quite the occasion for the Coyle cohort as it was anticipated he would have hundreds of family, friends and fans in attendance — numbers rumored to be around 2,000. WildTV caught up with his family at the game.
Both of the Wild’s local beat writers, Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press and Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, focused on the homecoming and Coyle’s season overall.
THE WHITE WIZARD APPROACHES
Mikael Granlund is having quite the season (for full details check out my feature on him today!). But the other day, his magical skills finally earned him a nickname which is starting to catch some steam: Grandalf.
If you’re a fan of J.R.R. Tolkein you know exactly what we’re going for here. Granny has been able to pull moves this season only a wizard could accomplish. Therefore Doyle dubbed him Grandalf in his Five Takeaways vs. The New York Rangers.
Over the next few days, we found the nickname was catching on. A fan made it into a meme and even a Finnish site noted the nickname (scroll to the bottom section and look for “Grandalf”).
I don’t think anyone’s checked with Granny on the nickname yet, but we’re sticking with it.
THE PPG LINE STRIKES AGAIN
While Grandalf’s wizardry has stuck out, his whole line has been getting attention. Dubbed the PPG Line (my creation, a combo of their last names), Zach Parise, Jason Pominville and Granlund have been a scoring machine of late.
Rachel Blount of the Star Tribune wrote about the trio last week, looking into what makes them click.
Last week, I looked into some minor lineup changes the Wild were toying with at the time — flipping Coyle and Niederreiter on their respective lines. Well, last night, Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo put together entirely new line combos to quite a bit of success.
But, Coyle and Niederreiter’s words about staying flexible and being willing to play wherever the coaches ask still ring true, particularly down this final stretch towards the post season.
Check out what they had to say and for extra fun, see what pie Keith Ballard was thinking of eating in celebration of Pi Day.