I, Derek, am the one who heard and saw these wondrous things. When I heard and saw all that Penner had said and done, I fell down to worship at his gigantic feet for it was because of him that I had seen these wondrous things. But then he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and the rest of the Oilogsophere, and of course my teammates. Worship God!" And then he said to me, "Don't hold back with the words of prophecy that have been given to you for the time for God to grant me dominance on the ice is near. Indeed, Brodziak and Sykora will continue to skate in apostasy and Boogaard and Clutterbuck will continue to win applause for their filth but the righteous who stand and cheer for righteousness and the holy who revere all holiness will soon have victory."
Minnesota Wild (1-4-0) @ Edmonton Oilers (3-2-1)
Rexall Place, 7:00 PM MDT
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report: In the Copper and Blue Northwest division preview I had the Minnesota Wild taking the division. So far, that little prediction isn't looking so good. Nonetheless, in spite of their poor record, there are some things to like about the Wild. As Jonathan Willis pointed out a couple of days ago, the Wild have both a terrible shooting percentage and a terrible save percentage which are both destined to improve by the laws of statistics (although if they don't regress to the mean in either category, I'll be the first to smile upon Yahweh's decision). Another point of data that suggests this team is better than their record is scoring chances. JLikens has taken to tracking the scoring chances for all of the Wild games this year and thus far has three games scored (Columbus, Anaheim, Los Angeles). In those three games the Wild ended up +28 -32 at EV and +44 -45 overall. In other words, they've managed to play other teams evenly in terms of scoring chances, which is more than we can say for the Oilers on most nights so far this year. The shot differential points even further in the right direction for the Wild: they've averaged 33.6 shots per game and have given up only 29.0. To sum up, the Wild have had some bad luck so far this year but they are not a bad team and could give the Oilers fits. I do not expect that Kyle Brodziak will get a video montage similar to those made for Jason and Ryan Sm*th but wouldn't it be fantastic if they did up a mock tribute. It would definitely be in bad taste if it were management but it would be awesome if it came from the players. Have two different guys each period maybe. You could have Tom Gilbert talk about how he misses seeing Kyle's hot sister around, Dustin Penner can mention how he missed the company in the coach's doghouse so he decided it was time to leave, Cogs can mention how he and Gagner miss telling him that he can't move in with them, etc. It would be great. Well, I'd laugh.
Nathan Eide from Hockey Wilderness shares his early season blues:
This is either the best time, or the worst time to play the Wild. This is a team in disarray. Petr Sykora, Cal Clutterbuck and Pierre-Marc Bouchard are all out. Martin Havlat is day to day with Gaborik-itis. Derek Boogaard is still suffering from mushy-head. The defense is in shambles, the forwards can't find their own end of the rink with GPS. They have no captain. After the first period against Anaheim they held a closed-door meeting. They are turning the puck over at their own blue line, then making line changes. They are leaving Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding out to dry with regularity. They are playing with no intensity, no heart and the fundamentals are severely lacking.
But, they have to break out of it against someone, at some point ... right?
Behind The Numbers:
- Hockey is a team game: Ladislav Smid leads the team in scoring chances for / 15, and has yet to register a shot on net.
- Don't hits win games? J.F. Jacques leads the team in hits with 26, but is last in total chances against, chances against / 15 and chance differential, he's 11th among forwards in Corsi.
- The man comes around? Zach Stortini has yet to be on the ice for an even strength goal against.
- Nikolai Khabibulin crossed over 39,000 minutes played in his career against Chicago Wednesday night.
- Chad Wiseman will be in the lineup for the Springfield Falcons, centering the second line tonight. Wiseman had shoulder surgery in February and makes his season debut tonight. Wiseman has played in 415 AHL games over the last 8 seasons, scoring 123 goals and assisting on 173 more.