Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wild on ... Jack Lemaire

Yeah surrrre as Jim Bouton would say.

Jack Lemaire. Great player. Great coach. Bob Newhart lookalike. Also the man who killed fun in hockey.

THN has two new playoff teams and the Wild are one of them, projected to make the jump from 11th to 7th. At 84 points last season they were within a dozen points of the postseason, not an insurmountable leap.

Definitely a team that everyone is expecting bigger things from this season.

I think the Wild may be a different team this season. They have added Pavol Demitra, Mark Parrish and Kim Johnsson so the offence should have more juice (how could it not) and Gaborik and Rolston (man he is a player - another Bruins' mistake) finally have some help.

Joining Johnsson on D are Keith Carney and the Finnish version of Jan Hejda, some guy named Nummelin who played with Columbus 5 years ago for a season and is now coming back for another goround at age 33.

Riddle me this though and maybe I'm a dummy.

How does a team that has lost five defencemen from last season's team - Willie Mitchell, Kuba, Tjarnqvist, Zyuzin and Alex Henry (I know I know) suddenly become a better team, indeed a playoff team.

Mitchell and Kuba - two pretty good dmen. Tjarnqvist ate up a lot of minutes. Etc etc.

So the Wild lose all of these guys and replace them with Johnsson (good), Carney (maybe) and some guy who may be completely useless (like Jan Hejda, granted) and are supposed to leapfrog four other teams.

The Wild were fourth best in GA in the West but only 11th in GF - only Calgary and the three weak sisters were worst.

So if they jump in GF but drop in GA how does this make them better?

Or is Jack just that good a coach?

Yeah surrrre.


namflashback said...

nice wild on reference. You made me not care about the Minnesota Wild at all. That is a damn fine looking woman.

I'd prong'er - so to speak.

Steve said...

Isn't it Jacques Lemaire? Or am I just making him French because of his last name?

Also, looks like you're going to get your way on the Leetch thing. Sigh. I'm not completely certain that our existing corps isn't up to the job, but my philosophy's always been that if you're going on a crapshoot, you might as well shoot all the crap you can find. Or something.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Its Jacques, Steve, but to me he'll always be Jack, just like that old Habs' Dman Lowetide is always talking about, Jack The Peter. I'm no Don Cherry but I've always referred to Jacques as Jack.

No reason really except I once got a laugh from it I think. All it takes.

I agree with you - I think we still need more crap. Or something. Just thought all along that we already have enough gambles back there - the guy or two we will have to add better be a better bet then a guy whose best years are behind him (maybe way behind him) and who may be about to fall apart physically.

Better be a better bet.

Bet bet.

Doogie said...

Better be a better bet.

Bet bet.

You better you better you bet?

I like the moves Minnesota's made offensively -- God willing, they should be less boring -- but I never realized just how many D-men they'd lost. Specifically, it looks like their D corps has been gutted almost as much as Edmonton's has.

Earl Sleek said...

Should I come clean and mention that I'm a closet Wild fan?

Something about the way they got swept in '03 was so damn endearing.

Doogie said...

Something about the way they got swept in '03 was so damn endearing.

Well, there's the fact that they scored exactly one goal the whole series. I can see why that might appeal to some.

Earl Sleek said...

But to get a little serious, I do love Minnesota for its interchangeability of personnel. It's a system, not a roster.

And if you watch them (I'm catching them a little more since the lockout), it's not boring hockey, necessarily, though there aren't many actual goals and Minny definitely knows how to defend.

Something else, though. The way their forwards rarely finish checks, they're not really playing the same game as the rest of us, but it can be effective.

Don't really know what they'll look like this year, with Demitra, Parrish and (as you pointed out) a different blueline, but I got them pegged in the top 9 spots.

If they miss this year, it won't be by much.

Rob and the Girls said...

Totally agree here. They did pull in more offence, and will be better in that area no doubt.

However, for every action there is a reaction. Offence is better defence is worse. How can the so called experts slam Edmonton for being gutted and not even mention Minnesota, then to have the gall to predict them finishing higher then the Oil.

Lets also not forget about goaltending. Wasn't it just the year before last when it wasn't known who would be the starter; Fernandez or Roloson? Not having Roloson might be a bigger hill to climb then some are thinking. Fernandez hasn't exactly been a beacon of consistancy to this point in his career.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Earl - your point about their system is a good one and I guess we'll see how this team fits into it. I'd think with the personnel thye have that they will open it up a little bit but with that D ...

I think they are top ten, maybe a playoff team; they are definitely in the mix.

But not a slamdunk I think, unlike what a lot of people believe

Anonymous said...

Jeez, hadn't realized they'd lost 5 D either. Wow, sucks if you were a fan of Minnie D cause there's a lot of jerseys in town now that won't be all that useful anymore.

I think black dog has it right, they're at the show, but it remains to see if they'll get a callback to compete for the trophy. With all that offence they added, that D is just really hard to overlook. Sure they play a system earl, sure they're interchangable, but can you plug in 5 new defencemen and put out something even near the old product? And how well do their new defencemen measure up to the likes of Mitchell, Kubina, Zyuzin et al.

I was ready to jump onboard with the experts until black dog whacked them with his reality stick.

Ritch said...

I've always had a soft spot for the Wild as well- maybe becuase it's one of the great American hockey cites, and they got done so wrong when Norm Green, the dirtbag owner of the North Stars shipped their team off to Texas of all places, where they won a cup not soon after.

Rolston is a great player, but I'll forgive the Bruins for letting him go, as he definately lost a step or two in his last season with the Bs- it was a gamble that didn't pay off for them, but I can see why they made it.

Good blog by the way-