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10-11-2003, 07:57 AM
  #87
Trottier
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One saw a Wild team last night that would take seemingly any NYR turnover in the neutral zone and fly down ice, pushing the puck with their speed and making NYR look rather slow at times. Conversely, once NYR was able to capture the offensive blue line, they at times dominated the play down low. That was the game in a nutshell, IMO.

***

After watching the Wild closely throughout the playoffs and last night, I am convinced that they are the most opportunistic team in the NHL. That is, they cash in on opponents mistakes better than anyone.

One can cite them missing Gaborik (a great player) and Dupuis (an above average player), and question why a star-studded NYR lineup didn't defeat them. But that's missing the point, IMO. After all, who, at this point last year, expected them to do anything even with Gaborik and Dupuis?

Bottom line, the Wild team lacks overall talent relative to other squads, but they have mastered their coach's system. And since it has brought them recent success, it has now become ingrained in the players, which is what every team strives for. They are not going to win the Cup this year, but it is time to acknowledge that they are a good team, and the sum is better than the parts, regardless of how it looks on paper. (Some might suggest, the exact opposite of NYR, which for years has seemed to have many excellent "parts", but those parts never add up.)

NYR is a talented squad searching for cohesiveness and the ability to master a system. That doesn't happen in a three week pre-season camp. Nor one regular season game. It takes time.

Just one view from the outside looking in.

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