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Old
03-31-2006, 01:01 AM
  #51
WILDTATE10
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There is no doubt in my mind that we will be a much better team next year. The Wild will sign Parish because this is where he wants to be and we will go after one of the big three D and O'Sully will be here unless he gets injured.

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03-31-2006, 02:26 AM
  #52
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Originally Posted by ceber
Well, the story is becoming that this off-season is the one when more significant moves will be made. Media's talking about it, team is hinting at it. If it turns out that's not the case, I'm pretty sure you'll see many, many more fans starting to get more vocal about how the team is run. There's already a lot of frustrated people in the stands, but many of them are patiently frustrated. Next season is going to be the big test.
It must be frustrating as a fan to sit there and watch this team be the same team after 5 years, knowing they could be better, but the management has had no pressure to do anything about it. I know as a Nucks fan, if they don't do anything this year, and it would have to be at least the 3rd round they have to get to, this team as we know it is gone.

One big mistake that the Wild made was not keep Ronning. I know he was a key in that playoff run for them, as he was here in Van in 94. Too bad at the end the only team he wanted to finish out his carrer was in Van, but they didn't sign him. He was a good player for the Wild when he was there.

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Old
03-31-2006, 04:13 AM
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCanucks
It must be frustrating as a fan to sit there and watch this team be the same team after 5 years, knowing they could be better, but the management has had no pressure to do anything about it. I know as a Nucks fan, if they don't do anything this year, and it would have to be at least the 3rd round they have to get to, this team as we know it is gone.
It has already been said, this coming offseason is the key, not last summer. And actually, management has taken heat as of this summer for not signing guys like Modano/Kariya/Foote. Some (but not too much) from the hockey savvy fan base. But a LOT more from the local media. The Twin Cities media is completely clueless when it comes to hockey btw (you should hear how many star players around the NHL get their names butchered during the 10pm sportscast, ever hear of a goalie named Nicolai kuh*bee*boo*lin?).

A lot of the Wild fanbase probably knows more about the ramifications of the new CBA than the local media. A lot of us still hold out hope that this summer's inactivity might have been more about wise cap management, and not solely about raking in max profit for 05/06 even at the cost of alienating a frontrunning sports market. In hindsight, I wish we had Kariya. I wish we would have kept Brunette. But I can't blame management for not wanting to throw big contracts around without knowing what the "new NHL" would be about. ESPECIALLY when the UFAs in this year and coming years will be younger and still in their prime. I will take Redden/Jovanovsi at the peek of their career over Adam Foote past his prime. I will take Savard this summer over Modano last summer.

Do I know that ownership will ink a bluechip talent this summer? No, I don't. If not, then I just might trade my glass of Kool-Aid for a torch and pitchfork. But even then, we really can't say for a fact that this team will forever be cheap until young players part of the future walk or get traded for prospects. And yes, I would normally count Mitchell among these, but he was asking for WAY too much.

Has ownership milked a hockey-starved market for all its worth? Yes. This was the last year where it was justified. Nothing wrong with adding 1-2 more high prospects to the stable and taking a look at some of the young talent. I think they'll spend this summer. It's not good business to alienate what has been a very valuable fanbase. Afterall, i seem to recall them investing an extra $25 million into Xcel for all of the bells and whistles despite having no obligation to the city or state to do so. We'll find out a lot about ownership this summer. If they pass the test, we'll find out a lot about Lemaire's ability to coach in the new NHL next winter.

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Old
03-31-2006, 09:00 AM
  #54
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Originally Posted by Brock
When do you draw the line though and say, ok we've been an expansion franchise for this long now, we should be competing year in and year out?...

In the end, I think something has to be changed, regardless of whether you guys are an expansion franchise or not. That excuse can only hold up for so long. Either DR has to open his wallet and increase the talent level Lemaire is working with, or they have to go a different direction and allow for the younger talent to fully develop under a new coach who will allow them more freedom to work.
I think we need a combination of both. We have to make some moves in free agency this summer, and I really think we need a change of direction in the coaching.

As for the first point - in all fairness to Risebrough, I really think he expected more of the younger players to step up and play better than they did this year. I think he was looking forward to evaluating the younger crew as the season progressed so that he'd have a clear idea of what holes he'd need to fill during this coming summer's free agency period, and that he was expecting the free agency moves to be more along the lines of a little fine-tuning than anything else.

Instead, what he saw was a collection of younger players that simply did not play up to his expectations or their potential, and seemed to get worse as the season progressed. That's usually not the sign of a well-coached player. I know damned well these kids are better than they showed this year, and if i can see that, I'm sure Doug can figure it out too. If he's a smart guy, he's got to be evaluating his coach at the same time that he's evaluating the players. By this point, he'd have to be a fool not to be questioning LeMaire's ability to get the best out of these prize draft picks. The question is, what does he do about that? My guess is that he doesn't have the stones to put any pressure on his buddy to make any changes. Not yet, anyway. I think he'd need to hear some clear directives from ownership before he goes that far, and I'm not sure they're at that point yet.

I think Doug gets one more year to bring this thing to fruition. You could make a good argument that this year was just a setback, and I'd be willing to buy that. But if that's the case, then Doug needs to accept that these kids need some solid veteran help, and spend the money it takes to get them that help. If he does that, I'll feel a lot more comfortable, and I would expect this team to be a hell of a lot better next year.

But if he doesn't, I'm going to lose a lot of faith in the organization. If we stand pat again this summer - if he sits idly by and gambles, once again, that the young players will step up and blossom next season - I'm going to consider that Doug's last chance. It had better work this time. Because another season like this one, and I'm off the Risebrough-LeMaire bandwagon. And if it really comes to that, I think we're going to see a few pretty bad seasons, a few years of half-empty arenas, before ownership starts feeling the pain and makes some changes. I really, really hope it doesn't get to that point, because if it does, by the time the smoke clears and the pieces get put back together again, all this terrific young talent that we've spent the last five years assembling will either be gone to better teams or so stunted in their development that they'll never amount to anything more than 4th-liners.

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03-31-2006, 10:45 AM
  #55
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Hey -- I'm a Canuck fan too, and while I think this is a decent topic for debate, it can easily come off like trolling when you come over and post this kinda stuff on other teams' boards.

Personally, I think the issue is management. Aren't the Wild one of the lowest payroll teams in the league ($26M or something?) And you guys do sell out quite a lot, right? Minny is hardly a tiny market -- seems to me they could afford to spend a bit more. With Mitchell gone you guys have a pretty no-name blueline, and other than Gaborik, Rolston & Walz the same can be said of the forwards. Gaborik's your top-paid guy, right -- and does he even make $3M? I think it's pretty impressive that Lemaire is able to consistently get the results out of these guys that he has -- to criticise him for just one playoff year out of five is unfair, IMO. Any other coach and you guys would likely be the Caps or Pens. Again, don't mean to talk down your players, I think they're really effective considering what you have, but when you're living some $13M below the cap, you are almost playing in another league. Think what that dough could buy you ....coulda bought Niedermeyer and Forsberg last off-season. Or, more modestly, you could've kept Mitchell and brought in a couple forwards to help the kids..

But I suppose as mentioned, the defensive game you play makes it hard to attract those offensive guys, even if management was inclined to spend...

If you look at wins per millions spent, the Wild look great ...but I think I'd be mighty frustrated at my management ...assuming your tix & merch cost the same as everyone else's...

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Old
03-31-2006, 10:56 AM
  #56
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yeah we'll see if they spend or not...this upcoming offseason will tell a lot.

I wouldn't label them cheap just yet, far too early for that. If they go another season or two without spending and being the lowest cap team then yes I will agree.

Don't forget bouchard when you talk about offensive talents of minnesota, within 2 years he will put up 85+ pts, probably as early as next year.

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03-31-2006, 11:26 AM
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisd
yeah we'll see if they spend or not...this upcoming offseason will tell a lot.

I wouldn't label them cheap just yet, far too early for that. If they go another season or two without spending and being the lowest cap team then yes I will agree.

Don't forget bouchard when you talk about offensive talents of minnesota, within 2 years he will put up 85+ pts, probably as early as next year.
Ya, he looks good. Extremely fast... lil on the small side, tho ...at <170lbs he's really going to have to play tough.

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03-31-2006, 11:31 AM
  #58
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he is one of those guys who just gets leaps and bounds better every year.

His vision is uncanny...its ridiculous...

O'sullivan, benoit pouliot and roman voloshenko all almost ready to contribute...

Gaborik, bouchard hitting stride, Koivu will get there in a couple years, Rolston is ressurecting his career big time here.

If we go buy a couple guys, ( even guys like Parrish would be fine) and mix in our prospects and our guys like gaborik enter there prime, I think we'll be just fine.

I'm really not worried about it, I see good things ahead.

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Old
03-31-2006, 11:53 AM
  #59
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Originally Posted by NYVanfan
Hey -- I'm a Canuck fan too, and while I think this is a decent topic for debate, it can easily come off like trolling when you come over and post this kinda stuff on other teams' boards.

Personally, I think the issue is management. Aren't the Wild one of the lowest payroll teams in the league ($26M or something?) And you guys do sell out quite a lot, right? Minny is hardly a tiny market -- seems to me they could afford to spend a bit more. With Mitchell gone you guys have a pretty no-name blueline, and other than Gaborik, Rolston & Walz the same can be said of the forwards. Gaborik's your top-paid guy, right -- and does he even make $3M? I think it's pretty impressive that Lemaire is able to consistently get the results out of these guys that he has -- to criticise him for just one playoff year out of five is unfair, IMO. Any other coach and you guys would likely be the Caps or Pens. Again, don't mean to talk down your players, I think they're really effective considering what you have, but when you're living some $13M below the cap, you are almost playing in another league. Think what that dough could buy you ....coulda bought Niedermeyer and Forsberg last off-season. Or, more modestly, you could've kept Mitchell and brought in a couple forwards to help the kids..

But I suppose as mentioned, the defensive game you play makes it hard to attract those offensive guys, even if management was inclined to spend...

If you look at wins per millions spent, the Wild look great ...but I think I'd be mighty frustrated at my management ...assuming your tix & merch cost the same as everyone else's...
I think to intice any players with offensive skills, you would almost have to throw more money/more years than market value would dictate. Take Jovo/Redden for example, they would be in the 5 mill range for thier teams to resign them next year. They could do 2 year deals at 5 million, which for both teams would be good. For Minny to land those guys, in a defensive team, I think they would want maybe 6 mil over 4 years. We saw that with teams like Chicago paying for Acoin and Khabibulin, and Gonchar with the Pens

Your going to have to spend more than market value to land the bigger fish for teams like Minny.

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03-31-2006, 12:00 PM
  #60
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we don't need bigger fish..

Guys like Parrish would be happy to come here, a 30 goal scorer type...

You don't need to land big time free agents, where did that get the blackhawks and penguins

Rolston wasn't a big ticket signing either but look at him 75 pts.

You need to make shrewd signings like guys like Parrish, you don't need to break the bank and spend 7 mill on some guy.

We have talent and lots coming in soon, just get a Power Forward perhaps who can screen the net and get tip ins like parrish and add some other bits.

Going out and spending 7 mill on a guy doesn't always translate to success.

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Old
03-31-2006, 12:10 PM
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisd
we don't need bigger fish..

Guys like Parrish would be happy to come here, a 30 goal scorer type...

You don't need to land big time free agents, where did that get the blackhawks and penguins

Rolston wasn't a big ticket signing either but look at him 75 pts.

You need to make shrewd signings like guys like Parrish, you don't need to break the bank and spend 7 mill on some guy.

We have talent and lots coming in soon, just get a Power Forward perhaps who can screen the net and get tip ins like parrish and add some other bits.

Going out and spending 7 mill on a guy doesn't always translate to success.
But you have to realize for even guys like Parrish, the Wild has to pay more to come in to Minny to play in the system that JL has. I am not talking about landing a Jovo or anything, but any UFA's would want more $$$ to come to Minny.

What is a 30 goal scorer worth in the NHL? I guess we will find out with Carter here as a UFA, but I am guessing it's going to be around 2.5-3 million. Add in the fact that JL is still coaching the Wild, the price goes up to say 3-3.5 million.

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03-31-2006, 12:41 PM
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCanucks
I think to intice any players with offensive skills, you would almost have to throw more money/more years than market value would dictate. Take Jovo/Redden for example, they would be in the 5 mill range for thier teams to resign them next year. They could do 2 year deals at 5 million, which for both teams would be good. For Minny to land those guys, in a defensive team, I think they would want maybe 6 mil over 4 years. We saw that with teams like Chicago paying for Acoin and Khabibulin, and Gonchar with the Pens

Your going to have to spend more than market value to land the bigger fish for teams like Minny.

In theory, you probably make a good point. But you don't know what a player is looking for in terms of ice time, coaching, city, etc. to make a claim that we have to overpay someone because of our defensive style of play.

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03-31-2006, 12:45 PM
  #63
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Originally Posted by CrazyCanucks
But you have to realize for even guys like Parrish, the Wild has to pay more to come in to Minny to play in the system that JL has. I am not talking about landing a Jovo or anything, but any UFA's would want more $$$ to come to Minny.

What is a 30 goal scorer worth in the NHL? I guess we will find out with Carter here as a UFA, but I am guessing it's going to be around 2.5-3 million. Add in the fact that JL is still coaching the Wild, the price goes up to say 3-3.5 million.
Once again, there are too many variables to assume that just because we play a certain system, we will have to overpay to get them in the UFA market. Your example of Parrish . . .hes a MN guy, I bet the fact of playing in front of his hometown would outweigh JL's defensive system.

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03-31-2006, 12:46 PM
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCanucks
But you have to realize for even guys like Parrish, the Wild has to pay more to come in to Minny to play in the system that JL has. I am not talking about landing a Jovo or anything, but any UFA's would want more $$$ to come to Minny.

What is a 30 goal scorer worth in the NHL? I guess we will find out with Carter here as a UFA, but I am guessing it's going to be around 2.5-3 million. Add in the fact that JL is still coaching the Wild, the price goes up to say 3-3.5 million.
I think the thinking is that Parrish is a hometown boy, so would be more affordable for the Wild. Some Canuck fans were positing the same thing for Willie Mitchell ....we'll see how much that's the case

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03-31-2006, 12:58 PM
  #65
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Wow, still trying to catch my breath on the "shiny objects" bit...totally uncalled for...ahem...

In all seriousness, the original poster, among others, have brought up many great points. Points that I have been wrestling with for quite some time. Points that have come up at the perfect time to discuss before the construction of next years team begins.

How do we watch it? Not much of a choice my friend. When "my life got flipped-turned-upsidedown" and our buddy Norm Green high tailed it out of town with my beloved North Stars, my perspective of NHL hockey changed forever. It's kinda like having your house foreclosed on and being forced to live on the street. You don't ask too many questions, but where can I sleep. I know, kind of a harsh way to look at it, but still. After years of sleeping in a box (i.e. watching/cheering for other teams) a guy named Norm Coleman gave a proud group of loyal hockey fans something...a one bedroom studio apartment. This apartment didn't have much, but it did have heat, a refridgerator, some furniture, a great set of landlords, considering the circumstances and most importantly, hope of a better tomorrow.

Now, this apartment I will say is expensive to live in (ticket prices, jersies, concessions, etc.) and eventually will need upgrades. When, is the $64,000 question. When can we move up to that open penthouse on the top floor. When can we get better. When do we spend. When is the guy available better compared to the money spent then the guy simply eating up minutes on the 3rd line. The answer is now.

No more can we sit back as Wild fans and say, "Ahh, management knows what's best...". We need to demand this stuff. We need to demand excelence like all these canadien cities...we have just as good of a fan base than they do. Where I live, you can't trip and fall without falling on someone wearing something Wild. We support this team as much as humanly possible, time for ownership and management to hold up their end of the bargain. We need them to know that the days of stop-gapping with Jacques' coaching style to ice a competitive, but mediocre team are over and we expect more. More talent. Not just developing within but exploring all avenues. Take a chance. Look at our only major free agent sigining in our history...Brian Rolston. I'd say that turned out OK. Time to branch out. I'm not for firing Jacques, just giving him more to work with. Skill.

How do we do this? That's the hard part. Newspaper editorials, blogs, internet message boards, stupid home-made signs held up at the game, whatever it takes. The message needs to be sent. They need to know we mean business. Time to win.

Sorry for the rant...just one guys perspective.

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Old
03-31-2006, 01:05 PM
  #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYVanfan
I think the thinking is that Parrish is a hometown boy, so would be more affordable for the Wild. Some Canuck fans were positing the same thing for Willie Mitchell ....we'll see how much that's the case
Yup and I'd say both of those very legit possiblities.

I'd also say that anything less than a Parish-esque signing, along with one of the top D-men (Kubina, Kubina, Kubina) would be a MAJOR disappointment.

What, $13 mil under...ugh, my stomach hurts...

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03-31-2006, 01:07 PM
  #67
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Originally Posted by ceber
Well, the story is becoming that this off-season is the one when more significant moves will be made. Media's talking about it, team is hinting at it. If it turns out that's not the case, I'm pretty sure you'll see many, many more fans starting to get more vocal about how the team is run. There's already a lot of frustrated people in the stands, but many of them are patiently frustrated. Next season is going to be the big test.
Genious, simply genious. I thought I had a multiple personality disorder for being frustrated and patient with this team at the same time. Now I know how to classify myself. Thank you ceber

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03-31-2006, 01:07 PM
  #68
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Once again, there are too many variables to assume that just because we play a certain system, we will have to overpay to get them in the UFA market. Your example of Parrish . . .hes a MN guy, I bet the fact of playing in front of his hometown would outweigh JL's defensive system.
J Leopold from the flames would be another Minny native that would likely take that hometown discount. But don't also forget that just because he is from your homtown, that he is automatically going to come there. We in Van have been waiting for years for Sakic to come back home, but hasn't.

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03-31-2006, 01:21 PM
  #69
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Originally Posted by CrazyCanucks
J Leopold from the flames would be another Minny native that would likely take that hometown discount. But don't also forget that just because he is from your homtown, that he is automatically going to come there. We in Van have been waiting for years for Sakic to come back home, but hasn't.
That is why I said there are too many variables that one must take into account. That was simply an example of Parrish, whom you chose to use. Its really a case by case scenario.

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03-31-2006, 01:39 PM
  #70
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Originally Posted by CrazyCanucks
Your going to have to spend more than market value to land the bigger fish for teams like Minny.
I don't buy this. I think there are some players who don't like the style of play and will let that dictate their decisions, but I don't think every player thinks that way. I'm not sure it's any more important than the city, weather, etc. Maybe it depends on how many players you put in the "bigger fish" classification.

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03-31-2006, 03:07 PM
  #71
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This discussion has been fascinating, BTW.

Here's another consideration to throw into the mix ... I believe that the Wild led the NHL in merchandising in 1999 -- the year before our first season. I think we've been one of the top merchandising teams since our conception. So, Naegle and Co. are definitely raking in some hefty profits with this team. I think that this summer needs to be when we get a couple high-profile UFAs ... the organization can definitely afford it.

Here's a list of the players we've signed or picked up. $ indicates that we actually paid money to get him, R means he was a reclamation project. These are all players who weren't acquired as part of the expansion draft.

Good deals
Brian Rolston - UFA - worth every penny!
Willie Mitchell - R - he was languishing in NJ. I wished we'd kept him.
Cliff Ronning - UFA - helped in the 02/03 & the play-off run and taught PMB.
Andrew Brunette - UFA - helped in the 02/03 + the play-off run, let go so kids could develop. Maybe we shouldn't have.
Kurtis Foster - R - Bona fide.
Sergei Zholtok - $ - while we didn't get him for much, we sure miss him. He died too young.
Richard Park - R - maybe not a Reclamation project cuz he was quite young. He's not indispensible, but ... he's not in MN anymore.
Matt Johnson - $ - MOOOSSSE!
Brad Brown - ? - traded him for Willie Mitchell.
Todd White - UFA - solid, 2nd tier scorer
Randy Robitaille - UFA - solid, 2nd tier scorer
Daniel Tjarnqvist - R - I must admit he's decent filler until Stoner, Thelen or Belle develops.

Good-n-bads
Andrei Zyusin - R - Man has he had an up-n-down season. Will he be here next year?
Brad Bombadir - $ - Big n slow, too slow.
Alexander Daigle - R - The D-Bagel had a good 03/04 replacing Muckalt as JL's Reclamation Project. The lockout really hurt him.
Jeremy Stevenson - free - Some toughness for the 03 play-off run.
Marshall - free - toughness for the 03 playoff run.

Busts
Henry - R - he's a step too slow for the new NHL.
Nazarov - UFA - Kluuun!
Ferguson - ? - just why did we acquire him?
Sutton - R - 6'7" Boogaard forerunner. Didn't scare many opponents, tho.
Muckalt - R - He was about to be the next awesome reclamation project. Top scorer for the Wild ten games into the 02/03 season when he separated his shoulder ... he was never able to put it back together ... his case makes me sad ... rotten luck ...
Marc Chouinard - R - great face-off man. Has done little else.
Eric Chouinard - R - barely noticed him.
Wiemer - UFA - never really delivered.
Brandner - R - The future of Austrian hockey(?) until Vanek came along.

While my list probably isn't complete, it might be close. In perusing this list we gave away little or nothing to get any of the players on this list. The Wild have made no Hershel Walker trades, no Lindros trades. We haven't overpaid for anyone nor given away a prized prospect to get anyone. While our Busts have hurt the team in that we had guys in the line-up not producing or carrrying their fare share, none have crippled the organization. We pick up UFAs or guys put on waivers who JL and DR like. They can't guess right all the time.

While its open to debate that we should have kept Mitchell, Brunette, Park, Ronning and Laaksonen, we certainly haven't pulled a Mad Mike and given away players like Bertuzzi, Chara, Redden(?) and Co. and signed the likes of Yashin to ten year contracts.

I still claim that we just need to pick up some second tier scoring UFAs and hope a prospect like O'Sullivan, Voloshenko or Pouliot turns into a legitimate NHL scorer. I sure hope we pick up a top rank D-man this summer, too. Looking at DR's track record with UFAs and reclamation projects, I think we have a decent chance of getting a couple of good players over the summer.

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Old
03-31-2006, 03:27 PM
  #72
CrazyCanucks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Big E
This discussion has been fascinating, BTW.
I am just glad this didn't turn out to be another Wild sucks/Nucks sucks thread. I just wanted to know where the Wild fans were coming from, and to have some civil disscusion. I posted this same thread in the wild.com boards, and it turned into a somewhat bashing the wild/nucks thread.

I want to hate the Wild, but not because thier style is not the same as the rest of the division. I want to hate them the same reason I hate the Flames, Oilers and Avs, for the competitive factor. I mean look at tonights game with the Flames and Avs. I do not know who to cheer for because I hate them both, and I don't want either of them to get the division, but someone has to win the game today. Look at all the great games between the other 4 in the division(not saying that Wild havn't have had great games with the other 4), but the similar style that they all play makes it sooo much better. It's so close that if one team goes on a 2 game losing streak in the next 2 weeks, they are out of the race for 3rd place. We do have the toughest division by far, and it will only be like this for the years to come. If the managment doesn't realize that and change their strategy, the Wild will always be where they are, on the outside looking in.

When the Canes come back down to earth, will the fans be there? Don't know. But us as rabid hockey fans in the Northwest division is pretty unique, all are major hockey markets, and the support will be there. It's just a shame that the Wild managment doesn't see that, or maybe they do and are just lining thier pockets

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03-31-2006, 03:38 PM
  #73
The Big E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCanucks
I am just glad this didn't turn out to be another Wild sucks/Nucks sucks thread.
I just contributed to the Nucks sux thread another Nuck fan started here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCanucks
When the Canes come back down to earth, will the fans be there? Don't know. But us as rabid hockey fans in the Northwest division is pretty unique, all are major hockey markets, and the support will be there. It's just a shame that the Wild managment doesn't see that, or maybe they do and are just lining thier pockets
Let's have this discussion this time next year? We're the baby's on the block, we've only been in existence since '99, playing since 2000. Let's see if we pick up a top-rank UFA D-Man and some second tier scoring this summer. We're operating under the philosophy/fallacy of 'slow-building is best' for the long-haul. We're really only going to know if this works in '08 I think.

Seriously, let's all talk again in a year's time. I don't mean this to end the discussion or anything, but let's wait a bit longer for any final judgments about DR and JL. BTW, I'll be pissed if we don't pick up some UFAs this summer.

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03-31-2006, 10:37 PM
  #74
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I'm perfectly happy with the way the Wild are being run - consider these points:

• coaching - look at the Wild's rosters the last 5 years - then look at their division - then look at their records. WOW! They should have been dead last in the NHL having to play their division rivals as much as they do. with 1/2 to 1/3 the talent. Compare then to Columbus, or more so Atlanta, and their records playing in weaker divisions. Lemaire has instilled a culture of winning in a team that has no business winning as much as they have, at least on paper. It might be boring to some, but you can't argue with the results.

•drafting - Gaborik, Bouchard, Harding, Koivu, Burns, O'Sullivan, Thelen, Voloschenko, Pouliot. That's a pretty good core right there. Add in Schultz, Irmen, and you have some pretty good talent to work with. They have yet to blow a top pick, except perhaps Matt Kassian last year. Add in two first rounders in this year's draft, and you start to see an organization with some depth to it.

•free agents - DR has said he will improve the team this off season. I'm fine with him passing on Modano/Kariya/Foote era free agents. These guys are still good, but they're past their prime. Columbus will be paying Adam Foote millions for the next 2 seasons, this for a brittle 34 year old who has played only 55 games this year and is -21. The Wild have cap room, and the next two seasons, the free agents aren't over the hill fogeys like LeClaire, but guys in the prime of their careers. Trying to jump start your organization with risky and expensive signings of aged free agents like Adam Foote can hamstring your organization for years if they don't pan out. Sign better younger free agents when the organization is ready to sustain success.

Lets see what happens this off-season. If we sign more Robitailles and Fergusons, I'll join in calling for someone's head. But I've read quotes from DR talking about the impact a guy like Rolston has had - he knows what needs to be done, and I'm going to give him the chance.

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04-01-2006, 06:20 AM
  #75
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Vancouver Sun:
Canucks coach Marc Crawford raised some eyebrows during his daily chat with the media when he suggested the Wild is getting something of a bum rap for its style of play. Crawford said from his vantage point the Wild is an entertaining team to watch.

"People criticize them, but being at ice level I never find that their games are less entertaining than any of the other games," Crawford said. "They are positionally sound. There shouldn't be a penalty for being positionally sound. They make you earn what you are going to get and they are very adept at counter-attacking."

Pioneer Press:
Jacques Lemaire has read it all about the evils of his defensive strategy for years, so the Wild coach was hardly discouraged by the latest round of barbs hurled by local writers.

Lemaire said he considers the source of the critique.

"I would have to look at their background in hockey to really know what they're talking about," he said. "They don't know the game. They don't know what they're talking about."

Funny stuff.

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