Minnesota Wild forward Devin Setoguchi lived out every NHLer’s worst nightmare Thursday night when he completely botched his shootout attempt against Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens.
Phoenix Coyotes enforcer and Twitter star Paul Bissonnette wasted no time in finding humor with the situation, writing, “Never remember giving Setoguchi the ok to use my breakaway move. Whatever. I’m over it.”
Ouch. As a result, the Wild lost in the shootout 5-4.
Marek Zidlicky is mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore!
Hockey players are usually pretty good about discussing their frustrations with their teammates and coaches before going to the media. But Zidlicky, one of the Minnesota Wild’s veteran defensemen, appears as though he has had enough with head coach Mike Yeo.
“I can’t be quiet,” Zidlicky told the Star Tribune. “I think three games healthy scratch, it’s more than just like a healthy scratch. [Yeo’s] put me in this position that I am in right now. It’s not easy for me. It’s good for team probably because the guys played pretty well the last two games, but for me, I did everything what he wants me to do.”
With the first quarter of the 2011-12 NHL season now in the books, there have been plenty of surprises. However, there are a fair share of players who have had great starts to the season that have yet to be recognized for their contributions to their respective teams.
Here are the five most underrated players of the season thus far.
Paul Deutsch got to live every hockey fan’s dream this past Wednesday when the 51-year-old print shop owner received an unexpected call from the Minnesota Wild.
The Wild signed Deutsch to an amateur tryout contract to serve as an emergency backup to starter Josh Harding for Wednesday’s game against the Nashville Predators. With regular No. 1 netminder Niklas Backstrom out for undisclosed personal reasons, the Wild called Houston Aeros’ netminder Matt Hackett. However, due to logistical issues, it was uncertain whether Hackett would make the game. That was when the Wild made an emergency call and made a beer leaguer’s dream come true.
Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck has never been one to make friends with members of the opposing team. Now NHL referees probably aren’t too fond of him, either.
In the final minutes of Minnesota’s 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night, Clutterbuck was involved in a scrap with Canucks forward Max Lapierre. As the two wrestled along the Vancouver bench, Clutterbuck inadvertently swung a left hook and hit the linesman who was attempting to break up the scuffle square in the kisser.
Yes, even for the on-ice officials, hockey is a dangers sport.
The defense-first system that has dominated the Minnesota Wild’s style of play for the better part of its 10-year existence was effectively tossed out the window this summer.
The Wild finished 12th in the Western Conference last season, 11 points behind Chicago for the final playoff spot. Along with their inconsistent play from the goaltending position, it was their anemic offense—which scored the second-fewest goals in the conference last season—that really forced general manager Chuck Fletcher to shake things up. After replacing head coach Todd Richards with Mike Yeo, who ran the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Houston last season, Fletcher traded cornerstone defenseman Brent Burns and dynamic forward Martin Havlat to San Jose in separate deals.
The day before the 2011 NHL entry draft, Devin Setoguchi signed a three-year contract with the San Jose Sharks. Draft day showed up and Setoguchi was unexpectedly traded to the Minnesota Wild for defenseman Brent Burns.
“No, not at all,” Setoguchi told the media on Monday when asked if he had any inkling that he’d be traded. “I was just more excited that I signed the new contract. And then the next day you get shipped off. But that’s the way it is. That’s sports. You can never get too comfortable and things happen for a reason. They wanted me here and I want to be here. I want to be a big part to this team and help out. I’m excited to be here and get a fresh start.”
In a shocking move that further proves how discontent the Sharks were with yet another season where they failed to make it to the Stanley Cup Final, Heatley, a two-time 50-goal scorer, was dealt to the Minnesota Wild for forward Martin Havlat.
The move to trade Heatley is a shocking one, considering that when the Sharks acquired him from Ottawa two seasons ago, they were hoping that he was the missing ingredient that could lift the perennial contending Sharks over the hump in the quest for the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
Although the focus of the hockey world has been deadlocked on the aftermath of the 2011 NHL entry draft, there were several big deals made over the weekend that can’t be overlooked.
Quite possibly the biggest was the Philadelphia Flyers signing of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov on Thursday. The Flyers signed the Russian netminder to a huge nine-year contract worth $51 million after they cleared cap space by trading away forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. The knock against Philadelphia has always been their shaky goaltending. After another questionable season for them between the pipes in 2011 (in which they used three different starting goaltenders), will Bryz finally be the answer?