Nolan off injured reserve, Kolanos sent down; Burns to play forward; Gretzky: Huge test tonight against the Wild

Posted on November 13th, 2008 – 10:30 AM
By Michael Russo

I just wrote about a 100-inch blog and it disappeared, so considering the fact I’m fuming right now, this definitely won’t be as good or as long for that matter.

Owen Nolan has been activated off injured reserve as expected. To make room, Krys Kolanos has been sent down to Houston. He will meet the Aeros in CLEVELAND!!!!!

Brent Burns was dressed like a defenseman in the morning skate, but he’s playing wing. He was only up front because he hasn’t practiced as a defenseman all week and Jacques wanted him to get used to it again since he’ll play both positions tonight.

But the Wild plans to scratch two forwards, meaning Burns has to play wing. Those forwards appear to be Colton Gillies and ex-Coyote Craig Weller. Defenseman Tomas Mojzis will also be scratched.

Jacques was funny when it came to Burns. He said his shot is missing and he watched him swing and miss on two attempts, which he can get away with at forward and not at defenseman.

Jacques went on and on about how good the Coyotes are defensively. This is a battle of the first- and third-best defensive teams in the West (the Wild has given up 2.15 goals per game, Phoenix 2.43). So yes, for all the people out there that thinks Jacques is the only defensive coach in the NHL, here’s Wayne Gretzky, the most gifted offensive player in NHL history, coaching defensive hockey.

Gretzky was great on the subject this morning, so you’ll read more about this in tomorrow’s paper. In fact, Gretzky was great on about 15 subjects this morning, so you’ll probably be reading endless Gretzky quotes in the Strib until mid 2009.

By the way, the Wild has dominated the Coyotes the last two years, and the Coyotes are one point behind Minnesota in the standings. So Gretz said this is a huge test for the Coyotes tonight.

Here Gretzky is on that subject: “Teams in the West, when you go on the road especially with a young group, you always kind of say, ‘It was a nice trip. .500.’ So we’ve won the first game [in Columbus] and we can have that sort of thought process tonight after the game.

“But I told the guys, ‘we want to go home saying we’re 2-0. If we want to have any chance of making the playoffs, we have to win these four-point games. Minnesota’s beaten us [eight] times in a row. If we’re going to compete or be at any kind of level they’re at, we have to start winning games against Minnesota.’ Tonight is a huge game for us when it comes to standings and playoffs and the credibility of our younger guys and the experience of getting better and learning how to win tough games.  This is a tough building to win in, it’s a tough team to play against and they’ve got good goaltending. So this is really a test for us. The season’s not going to be over if we don’t win, but it’s a good test for us as far as it’s being a real important game for our organization to respond as a team.”

Lemaire went on and on about how good everybody in the league is defensively. He was almost bemoaning the fact that goals are so tough to come by, which is always funny to hear from the master of defensive hockey. But he said years ago when he was one of only a few coaches who taught defensive hockey, he was proud of it. Now everybody’s copied him and it’s not as fun.

Heck, since he’s such a hockey genius, maybe it’s time he invents a type of offensive hockey that everybody will emulate.

Funny moment came when Lemaire said the only way to get more offense is to make the nets bigger or the goalies smaller. Darren Pang, the former tiny goalie with Chicago who now is the Coyotes’ TV analyst, said, “Oh, I’ve still got a chance.”

He then looked at the bigger former goalie Mike Greenlay, the Wild’s TV color analyst who used to tend goal for Edmonton and won an IHL title with the Atlanta Knights, “You don’t have a chance.”

Mario Tremblay, the Wild’s assistant, took the morning skate off. Jacques joked, “Upper body, like above the eyes.”

As in brain,

Ha Ha Ha!

OK, that’s it. There’s no way I can write everything else that disappeared.

If this erases, you’ll get nothing and you’ll like it!!!

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