Wow! What a performance! After laying a pre All Star game egg against the lowly L.A. Kings, the Wild come back from the break with a vengenance to put a 6-1 wax job on the Toronto Maple Leafs. I tried to put up this blog entry yesterday, but either my PC or the CBS site (I'm guessing the latter) was acting up big time, so I gave up. But enough talk about my problems with getting stuff up, eh? It's time to fire up the Warpy Psychlotron:
dangling sub-atomic participles:
Top Quark(s): There are a lot of candidates to choose from after Tuesday night's scintillating performance, but I've gotta give the Top Quark to Pierre-Marc Bouchard. I've been down on PMB quite a bit in the past (and his play has certainly merited the Warpy doghouse treatment) but #96 was showing signs of life before the NBA NHL All Star break, and now he is picking up right where he left off. Goalie Justin Pogge had little chance on either of PMB's goals, and his assist on Brunette's goal wasn't too shabby, either.
It's nice to see Bouchard finishing his chances now; a couple of weeks ago, those shots he potted against the Leafs would have missed the net, or hit the goalie right in the breadbasket. Butch has shown in the past that he can do damage in bunches when his confidence is up, and I would imagine his confidence is pretty darn high these days. A couple of good games doesn't quite get Bouchard to Warpy's penthouse, but he's done enough to at least get out of the doghouse and catch some fresh air -- and air might be the only thing that goalies get their hands on for a while if Bouchard keeps up his recent shooting.
Up Quark(s): So many candidates, so little time. Andrew Brunette gets a huge Up Quark for continuing his recent streak of putting points on the board while playing with one good leg (and doing the latter a lot more cheaply than Paul McCartney in recent years, but we digress...)
And once again, Cal Clutterbuck delivered hits aplenty, and also tallied another goal for good measure. His performance would've gotten him the Top Quark most other nights, but Butch was definitely the man against the Leafs. Props are also in order to Owen Nolan (bagged yet another goal) and Niklas Backstrom, who stopped some good scoring chances when the Leafs were still interested in contesting the loss.
Down Quark(s): It's hard to find much in the way of downers when the good guys get the X rocking like they did Tuesday night, but I've gotta give a Down Quark call to Brent Burns for another underwhelming game. Burnsie was defending well early in the season, and did quite well when he was pressed into forward duty following Gabby's injury, but #8 has looked lost at times since his return to the blue line. He is getting caught out of position too often for my liking, but to his credit, at least Burns will fire up the skate jets and try to hustle a recovery, rather than quitting on the play like some others (*cough* Skoula) do in such situations.
Bottom Quark(s): In order to cut down on the amount of typing I'll need to do on further entries, I might as well put Martin Skoula's name here on a permanent basis.
Yep; Skooly gets another Bottom Quark to add to his collection. The lone Toronto goal was a vintage Skoula recipe: (1) stand motionless in front of the net and contemplate his navel... (2) make a belated rush to the crease and try his hand at playing some D... (3) arrive just in time to get in his goalie's way.
In the interest of fairness, Skooly actually played a decent game outside of the goalie interference play that cost Backstrom another shutout. There were times when he was (gasp) facing the right direction while doing his usual standing around, and he actually drew enough "atta boy, Skoula" calls from the Warped One so that for one night anyway, my neighbors didn't think his first name rhymed with "trucking".
Strange Quark(s): After nearly a month in Jacques Lemaire's doghouse as a healthy scratch, Erik Reitz is now a New York Ranger. It's too bad Risebrough couldn't unload Skoula and/or Johnsson. Reitz is still a bit green on defense, but at least he threw some checks while he was here, and also proved that he isn't afraid to drop the gloves. Dougie must be a closet Rangers fan to keep giving up young talent like Erik Reitz and Aaron Voros, while getting little or nothing in return.
Charmed Quark(s): How does Kim Johnsson (a.k.a. "people might think I'm gay if I touch another guy on the ice") manage to pile up a plus 4 in one game? I suppose this means that Lemaire will give him even more ice time now. GWAAAAGGHGHHH!!
The Invisible Higgs Boson Award(s): At the rate things are progressing, the Europeans will fire up their Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and disCERN the real Higgs particle before Marian Gaborik is seen in skates again. It's enough to make warped minds fire up their THC (that would be "titanic hadron colliders", in case your twisted mind was thinking about chemistry instead of physics...)
post-dramatic sin drones:
And in Kihnclusion: What a glorious night of hockey for the Minnesota Wild and their fans. Next up is a road trip of two winnable games against the Oilers and the Canucks, followed by a four game homestand. If they can start off the homestand off with a win against the dirty Ducks, stringing up a victory six pack is not out of the question. The home boys will need to pile up all the points they can in the next couple of weeks, because the schedule gets absolutely brutal for the home stretch. GO WILD!!!
...and now, a word from our spawn's heirs...
If my wife to be or not to be is watching, the butterfly position isn't just for goalies anymore. To the rest of you, thanx for tuning in, keep your stick on the ice, and remember: if it ain't broken, you're not trying hard enough.