You know that something that I keep saying has to give?
Well, the Wild have sent down Casey Wellman and David McIntyre to the AHL, per Kent Youngblood via Twitter.
So, basically, something’s changing whether it’s someone coming in from the outside or someone coming up from Houston and, while someone coming up from the AHL might not necessarily be as noteworthy as someone coming in from elsewhere, a change is a change and the Wild are certainly a team in desperate need of just that right now.
After storming out of the gates, Wellman has looked lost the last few games and McIntyre, while he’s had good moments, has really looked like an AHLer playing against NHLers.
So, is this a precursor to a bigger move?
I’d like to think so but, truthfully, it’s hard to tell until something has happened. Keep it here and we’ll have updates for you as the situation warrants.
UPDATE: Per Kent Youngblood, Matt Kassian, Jed Ortmeyer, Chad Rau and Nate Prosser are all on their way up from Houston.
I don’t want to get your hopes up and say that this is an indication of how Jared Spurgeon’s season is going to be, but Tuesday’s game against Edmonton was certainly an encouraging sign.
Spurgeon put book ends on a game that saw the Wild let a three-goal lead slip through their fingers and potted the winning goal with just under two minutes to go in the game to give Minnesota their first exhibition win over an NHL team since the 2009-10 season.
Sure, it’s an exhibition game and it doesn’t mean much, but boy does it feel good.
I listened to the game on the radio, so I can’t speak to a ton of the game, but here’s what I noticed by listening:
- The Latendresse/Cullen/Bouchard line was on point tonight. Some good scoring chances and a combined four points and plus-five on the night. Easily the Wild’s best line all night long, including an absolutely beautiful snipe by Pierre-Marc Bouchard (which I can say because I saw it on NHL On the Fly). Butch just picked his corner and went for it and Khabibulin never had a chance.
- Harding was very good in his first game back. He played about 30 minutes, give or take, and stopped 14 of 15 shots. Even Mike Yeo thought so, calling Harding’s return and play “Unbelievable.” (Thanks to Russo for that quote from the big guy). The encouraging news? After a shaky start to the game, Hackett was just as good. He gave up two goals in his first six minutes in the game, but really settled down and helped keep the score even for the rest of the way.
- The Wild are obviously still getting used to Yeo’s system, as evidenced by the second period. The first and third periods, the shots were 7-7 and 9-7 respectively, but the second period the shots were 17-5 in favor of Edmonton. Credit also has to go to Yeo for getting the team settled down after a horrible second period and getting them refocused. Again, an encouraging sign.
- Matt Kassian, who I’m making no bones about my hopes that he makes the squad this season, came out with a brilliant display of pugilism. He absolutely hammered Darcy Hordichuk after Hordichuk took a run at Nate Prosser, then dropped Hordichuk with three big punches.
- Jordan Hendry took a step back, in my opinion, but not a huge one. He played good hockey for two periods but had an abysmal second. I feel like he’ll get a couple more chances, but he’s got to play a steady game to make the squad.
As far as my questions go, let’s take a look, shall we?
Will Josh Harding be the same goalie that we’re used to? Or will his string of injuries adversely affect him? Yes and no, respectively. Harding was rock solid in this one.
Will the line of Guillaume Latendresse, Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard be as dominant as they were during the scrimmages this past weekend? I wouldn’t necessarily call them dominant, but they were very, very good all night long. Exactly what the team wants from its second line.
How will the team’s youngsters fare (Jarod Palmer, Brett Bulmer, David McIntyre, Matthew Hackett)? Palmer had a goal, Bulmer annoyed everyone on the other team and Hackett rebounded from a rocky start to have a pretty good game. McIntyre wasn’t really noticeable, at least on the radio, but for a youngster that’s not necessarily a bad thing either. All-in-all, I thought the Wild’s youngsters had a pretty decent game.
Will Jordan Hendry continue to make a positive impression during his tryout? Yes and no. He had two pretty good periods, like I mentioned, but really had a rough second period. For a defenseman with over 100 games of NHL experience, that’s not the type of game that’s going to win you a contract. He’ll get some more opportunities, but he needs to rebound from this to make the squad in my opinion.
Can Clayton Stoner and Jared Spurgeon grab a hold of that lightning in a bottle that saw them both have impressive seasons in their own rights last season? Yes. Both definitely did this. Stoner played his game. He was physical, he was in great position all night long and he blocked shots. Everything that would be asked of him. For Spurgeon, he was the team’s best d-man all night long and he looked dynamic on both sides of the puck.
That’s all for right now, but I may be back later today. It’s my daughter’s birthday, so we’re going to go do whatever it is that she wants to do. The Wild are back in action on Thursday against the Blues, so I’ll update you with their roster as soon as I have it.Photos Courtesy of Getty Images
Well, there’s going to be a bit of a change to the gameday threads this season — namely, they’re going to be a lot shorter and a lot more for your discussion than anything else. I’ll be popping in now and again to chat with y’all but, for the most part, you can just discuss.
But, before I get to the gameday part, some pandering. Check out my first power rankings of the season at Hockey Primetime, right here.
Alright, now that that’s out of the way, on to the game.
There are actually a fair amount of questions for tonight’s game that I think bear discussion:
Will Josh Harding be the same goalie that we’re used to? Or will his string of injuries adversely affect him?
Will the line of Guillaume Latendresse, Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard be as dominant as they were during the scrimmages this past weekend?
How will the team’s youngsters fare (Jarod Palmer, Brett Bulmer, David McIntyre, Matthew Hackett)?
Will Jordan Hendry continue to make a positive impression during his tryout?
Can Clayton Stoner and Jared Spurgeon grab a hold of that lightning in a bottle that saw them both have impressive seasons in their own rights last season?
Feel free to discuss them here or on our Facebook page. I’ve got my fantasy draft tonight, so I’ll be back later tonight or tomorrow to take a look at these questions as well as have my first Fantasy column for you all. Enjoy tonight’s game!