By Michael Russo
I’m going to be quick. I’m writing on Blackberry. No Internet in pressbox and now dial up’s not working.
The Wild will have to make a couple roster moves Sunday or Monday after losing Cal Clutterbuck and Petr Sykora in the first period tonight in San Jose. There are no extra forwards on the roster, so I’d suspect we’re going to see Andy Hilbert here at least and probably Nathan Smith. There’s also Colton Gillies, Craig Weller, Danny Irmen and Petr Kalus in the minors.
Sykora tweaked his groin. He’ll be evaluated Sunday to see how serious, but Clutterbuck hurt his ankle and it looked to be very serious. He could put very little weight on it as he hobbled off. He got his skate caught in a rut when he went for a hit.
“He was in a lot of pain, so that’s not a good sign,” coach Todd Richards said.
Of all the hits Clutterbuck’s dished and taken, the poor guy’s hurt because his toe gets caught in the ice. If this is a major injury (and remember, broken ankles are often better than sprained ankles, especially high ankle sprains), this is a huge loss for this team. Granted, I don’t know the extent of the injury yet. Just saying.
The Wild played a tremendous game the first 30 minutes tonight, outshooting San Jose 26-13 and outscoring the Sharks 2-0. But then a little letdown, and two goals in 2:41 turned the tide. Then the Wild began to unravel. They didn’t have another shot rest of period. The Sharks ultimately took the lead late in the period on Dany Heatley”s goal, then took a 4-2 lead nine seconds into the third when Marleau somehow skated himself into breakaway. Heatley’s goal was awesone. Whole time he’s waiting for puck in slot, looking at net, waiting, looking. Then he gets puck and perfect one timer with two guys on him. Goal scorer’s goal.
The Wild was overextended up front. It went from 12 forwards to nine for the final 40 minutes because Todd Richards stopped using John Scott.
The Wild’s power play was hideous tonight. Yeah, it scored a goal, but the power play between Jed Ortmeyer’s goal and Patrick Marleau’s first was beyond terrible. It was like the Wild lost its heads in the neutral zone. The Sharks barely let Minnesota in the zone, then tied the game 14 seconds later. This after the crowd finally had reason to cheer earlier because the Wild couldn’t score on a two-minute 5-on-3, then took a penalty to nullify the final 48 seconds or so. Sometimes, when PP is that bad, you wish you could negate it bc the always-incredible SJ crowd was just going nuts with every kill.
The Wild worked hard and everybody reeled off that line after. You know the old, if we play like this, we’ll win our share of games.
Moral victory, yes. Standings say 1-3 with three games left on this trip. And now no Clutterbuck and Sykora.
Four games into the season, it’s gut check time. I’ll only update the blog Sunday if the Wild have injury updates or make roster moves.
Otherwise, complete day off for the team and me. Thirteen Wild players are going to the 49ers game. The rest are doing their own thing in San Fran. I’ll be in Napa if you need me checking out Val Bure and Candace Cameron Bure’s winery.