Tuesday morning checkin

Posted on March 13th, 2007 – 10:45 AM
By Michael Russo

Good morning from the coolest city in Canada. As I watch a plane land on the water, I figured I’d say hello.

Last chance to ask questions in the Q&A two posts below. IF I get a chance this afternoon, I plan to go through and answer.

I felt a little guilty writing that column today because I do respect all your opinions, and I don’t want to alienate my peeps (or is it peops?). But I can promise you, very few teams are excited about the potential of playing the Wild in the playoffs (at least the version that’s been showing up on the road lately, not so much the one you’ve been seeing at home).

But man, the second I read Kate’s post this morning, woah, did I hit it on the money today, or what?

Kate, being a goalie coach/scout is not your forte. Can’t control his rebounds, out of position, “nancy”? Thanks for exemplifying my column today. Do you know why Backstrom rarely ever has to make a sprawling save, why when he’s in net everything looks so routine? Because he’s usually in perfect position. Goalies that hit the highlight reel every night are cool, but it’s usually because they lost a rebound, they’re out of position or they fell on their stomach.

It’s clear to me you’re a big Manny fan, but come on now, be a little objective.

Also regarding the first comment from Michael Sandness about Risebrough, you actually make a point I meant to clear up a few weeks ago. The Wild was only allowed to sign Backstrom to a one-year deal last summer; he had to sign an entry-level deal and for players 24 and older, that HAS to be one year. So the Wild couldn’t have signed him to a multi-year.

And let’s be honest, nobody knew Backstrom could have done this (he never played in the NHL before), so even if the Wild could sign him long-term, it would have been a little reckless to get rid of Fernandez, who lets all remember is a great goalie when on his game, and sign Backstrom to some big deal.

Also, this has nothing to do with professionalism. This is about riding the hot guy during a critical stretch here. It would be awfully risky to throw Fernandez in and just pray he rediscovers his game. Look, it stinks that Manny got hurt when he did. He’s worked a long time to get to this point, and was playing tremendously when he was injured. But this was the obvious move. And again, anything can happen to change it. A couple bad games by Backstrom, another injury, etc. It’ll be interesting to see how Manny handles this.

As for tonight’s game, I’ll update after skates, but if Boogaard’s healthy, you’d think they’d have to play him. Vancouver’s going to be an angry team tonight after getting pushed around by Anaheim.

Here’s something interesting that would make Reusse’s head spin: The Wild claims its record against Vancouver is 4-1-2. Vancouver claims its record against the Wild is 3-3-1. Both are right. Only in the NHL.

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