Posted on: October 4, 2009 1:03 am
Edited on: October 4, 2009 1:07 am

Kim Johnsson Doubles Niklas Backstrom's GAA

premature articulations:

Greetings, sports fans!  The puck has dropped on the Minnesota Wild hockey season, with a new GM, new head coach, and new team members.  So Wild fans want to know: will the new allegedly up-tempo offense relieve our goalies of having to pitch a shutout in order for the good guys to win?  From the looks of tonight's 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the answer is "no".

Sure, it's only the first game of the season, but warped minds are ready to fire up the Warpy Psychlotron for the first of what may become a repetitious looking blog entry; it's hard to disCERN much of a difference between Todd Richards' and Jacques Lemaire behind the Wild bench.

dangling sub-atomic participles:

Top Quark(s):  A 2-1 snoozer doesn't make for much Top Quark material from either team, but the nod goes to Andrew Brunette for potting the Wild's lone goal, giving him an even 600 points in a fine NHL career.  Bruno had a few other nice chances in the game, and was one of the few Wild players who showed a desire to do business in front of the net.

Up Quark(s):  The Blue Jackets get a collective Up Quark for doing a much better job of getting bodies in front of the net; Backstrom had lots of company in the crease area, and played exceedingly well to limit the Jackets to two goals.  Columbus also did a much better job of utilizing the middle part of the ice, whereas the Wild continued to aggravate warped minds with their obsession for keeping the puck along the boards as if they expect to get quality shots there.

Down Quark(s):  Pierre-Marc Bouchard coughed up the puck just enough times to eke out a Down Quark.  In Butch's defense, he only saw limited time during preseason, so a little rustiness is to be expected.  The same can be said for several other Wild regulars, which makes warped minds wonder why Coach Richards gave them so little time to get a chance to gel with new linemates in a supposedly new system before the start of the regular season.  Sure, preseason is a chance to look at younger guys, but in reality, only a couple of roster spots were ever in doubt, so Richards missed an opportunity to give his lines some extra chemistry time, and he also denied them a chance to break old habits left over from the Lemaire regime.

Warped minds can't help but suspect that the Wild offense will spend several upcoming games paying for this mistake; the issue now is that the games are for real.

Bottom Quark(s):  In order to reduce the amount of typing I'll need to do on future blog entires, I hereby award Kim Johnsson (a.k.a. "I don't wanna touch another guy because then people might think I'm gay") the Bottom Quark on a premanent basis, and will just fill in the necessary details on the next line after each game.

Yep, the Five Million Dollar Salary Cap Boat Anchor strikes again.  Johnsson wasted no time going to his patented Swedish Pansy style of defense.  Nowhere was his pathetic excuse for "defense" more evident than on Columbus' winning goal: Johnsson not only decided to set a screen on his own goalie, he then all but invited a Jackets player to join him to make it a two man screen -- he sure as heck did nothing to discourage the player from setting up camp there, that's for sure.

The normally calm and serene Backstrom was livid after that goal, and he appeared to direct his emotions right at good old #5.  Who can blame him?  Johnsson probably singlehandedly cost the Wild enough goals last year to deny Backs a Vezina trophy, and he appears determined to pick up right where he left off this season (which is thankfully the final one in his contract)

Strange Quark(s):  It looks like the next half dozen games or so will constitue the real Minnesota Wild preseason, where players get a chance to gel with their new teammates and get the rust out of their system.  This does not bode well for a team that's used to starting seasons in red-hot fashion, then having to desperately hang on at the end of the season for a shot at the playoffs.  If Richards' up-tempo style comes to fruition, the Wild may pick up enough points during their normal mid-season swoon to make up for a slow start, but I'd sure hate to take that gamble in my first year on the job.

Charmed Quark(s):  The Wild power play showed some signs of life tonight, and I was impressed with the defensemen being more active participants in the offensive zone.  Once they get a chance to get used to playing with each other, the passing should improve noticeably, and opposing teams will have their hands full any time they're shorthanded.  Did I mention yet that this could have should have been accomplished during preseason?

The Invisible Higgs Boson Award(s):  For old time's sake, we'll give a shout out to Martin Skoula.  Warped minds were looking forward to glogging the next Wild/Panther tilt with Erin Brown and comparing Skooly notes, but it looks like the Panthers aren't interested in extending his glorious career long enough for that to happen.

post-dramatic sin drones:

And in Kihnclusion:  The Wild drop another preseason game, but pay a regular season price (kinda like we fans do normally anyway, eh?)  Next up is Tuesday's home opener at the X against the Dirty Ducks of Anaheim.  If the Wild can't pass, shoot or score in regular season form yet, at least fans might get treated to a healty can of Boogaard.  GO WILD!!!!!

and now, a word from our spawn's heirs...

If my wife to be or not to be is watching, the Beatles really did have a stand-in for Paul McCartney in 1967, as I shall kihnvincingly demonstrate in a future blog entry.  To the rest of you, thanx for tuning in, and remember: it's OK for guys to read instruction manuals before starting work on something.  The gals will think we're being smart and sensitive, but we guys prefer to think of it as getting away with cheating.Laughing

Posted on: October 27, 2008 6:46 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2008 7:06 pm

Marian Who???

premature articulations:

Another game, another win for the Minnesota Wild.  Saturday night, it was the Columbus Blue Jackets who almost staged a third period comeback after a second period shellacking.  This second period hot and third period cold thing has been a pattern for the Wild so far this season.  The only difference this time around was a more inspired first period, so maybe we're getting closer to seeing a complete, three period effort by the Wild.  Seeing as how we've gotten 11 out of a possible 12 points without a complete effort (and mostly without Marian Gaborik in the lineup) things could get scary if the team starts hitting on all cylinders.  But enough jabbering; it's time to fire up the Warpy Quark psychlotron:

dangling sub-atomic participles:

Top Quark(s):  It's hard not to give the Top Quark to Mikko Koivu after yet another sick backhanded centering assist, but Warpy's top props for Saturday's game go to Benoit Pouliot.  Jacques Lemaire has to be grinning like the Cheshire Cat watching #67's two-way play every time he's on the ice.  Warped minds are starting to buy into Lemaire's assessment that the Wild might have their best defensive corp ever this year.  He did forget to mention, however, that four of the best defensemen this year are named Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Benoit Pouliot and Eric Belanger.

Up Quark(s):  Belanger and Pouliot get Up Quarks for defending more players during their shifts than Kim Johnsson, Martin Skoula and Marc-Andre Bergeron combined.  It's easy to mask the play of sub-standard defensemen when two-way forwards are there to cover their backs.  If the Wild could get a couple more defensemen who can play solid defense, the quark winners above could focus more on offense, and that would make us a really tough beat.

Down Quark(s):  It's hard to find too much fault in a 2-1 victory (which wasn't as close as the score for most of the game), but I've gotta reluctantly hand another Down Quark to Brent Burns for trying to do too much whenever he has the puck.  There were several plays Saturday night where #8 held on to the puck too long to get a decent shot or find a passing lane.  Watching his performance kinda reminded me of a certain warped kid when he played hockey for a few years, and wasn't all that big on passing the puck.  For a couple of seasons, I thought my name had been legally changed to "goddammit, quit hotdogging it unless ya wanna pay for that puck and take it home with ya!"

Bottom Quark(s):  In order to reduce the amount of typing I'll need to do on future entires, I'll just plug in Martin Skoula's name here on a permanent basis, and insert the needed details later.

Once again, Skoula played a fairly pretty decent game last night.  That's 3 for 3 decent Skoula games since I decided to make his name a fixture here, so if it ain't broke, there's no sense fixing it.  Skoula still faces the wrong way more often than I'd like to see when the puck is in our zone (especially when it's beind our net) but in the last few games, his play has improved from brutal to mediocre.  And if a mediocre Skoula is the worst problem we have this season, our blue line will be all right.

The actual Bottom Quark goes to Marc-Andre Bergeron.  This guy definitely has the makings of another Skoula from most of the D I've seen him play lately.  He does have a bomb for a slap shot -- kinda reminds me of Doug Wilson when he gets a hold of it -- but he's not teeing it up nearly enough to overcome his "one stride behind play" defensive in our zone.  The assignment for you Warpyland readers is to think up a creative nickname in case the Dildaphonic Duo turns into a terrible trio.

Strange Quark(s):  Kim Johnsson gets the Strange Quark for throwing at least two checks in Saturday's game.  He actually made contact with players on several occasions, but at least two of 'em appeared to have been done on purpose by #5.  Needless to say, warped minds almost warped several critical arteries after witnessing this feat, but the doctors assure me that no permanent damage was done, and that the chances of this sort of thing recurring are very slim.

Charmed Quark(s):  Johnsson also picks up the Charmed Quark award for his uncanny ability to get TV announcers to comment on his "physical play" whenever he makes contact with something bigger than a Higgs Particle.  If the FSN commentators were doing the game on the radio, you'd swear that Johnsson was doing a Derek Boogaard impression every time he hit the ice.  In the interest of fairness, his play has improved from brutal to mediocre like Skoula's, so maybe there's hope for change without political commercials after all.

post-dramatic sin drones:

And in Kihnclusion:  The Wild are almost officially on a roll now.  11 points in six games is the stuff of division champions, but warped minds expect a tougher test tonight at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.  Unless the Trapezoidally Challenged Trio of defensemen get a lot of help from the quartet of forwards who have no qualms about hanging out in in our zone's quadrangle, guys like Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews will have a field day as long as they don't bust out laughing at the play of 5, 41 and 47.  Lastly, even though the Hawks are no longer our evil division rivals (*cough* until realignment) fans would love to see the good guys open up a Can O'Boogaard tonight.  GO WILD!!!

...and now, a word from our spawn's heirs...

If my wife to be or not to be is watching, you're absolutely right about me eating way too much candy last year, so I'll be doing my trick-or-treating at Lake and Hennepin this Friday.  To the rest of you, thanx for tuning in, keep your stick on the ice, and remember: if it doesn't fit, force it; if it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.

Category: NHL
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