October 16 – Day 10 – Beach u to it (yeah, that was super lame)

Last night’s Game of the Day between the Blueshirts and Habs ended in a three-goal shutout for Montréal, earning them their best start (5-0-0) in their illustrious franchise history.

The Habs earned their first goal after almost 29 minutes of scoreless play when Tomas Fleischmann scored his second goal of the year, the eventual game winner, off an assist from David Desharnais.  Both were involved in the first insurance goal of the game, assisting Dale Weise to his first season of the season with little more than two minutes remaining in the game.  The final goal was fired by Tomas Plekanec into an empty net in the final minute of action.

Carey Price earned the shutout victory by stopping all 25 Rangers shots, while Henrik Lundqvist only stopped 29 of 31 (93.5%).

Don’t let the Canadiens (or Maple Leafs fans!) know now, but in addition to having the best start ever, they also have a little bit of history on their side.  The franchise has begun their season at 4-0-0 three times before, and all three of those seasons ended with the Stanley Cup living in The City of Saints for the year.

The DtFR Game of the Day series now stands at a 5-4 advantage for the home squad after the third straight shutout.

Tonight, there’s seven games on the schedule.  The evening gets started at 7 p.m. eastern when San Jose visits New Jersey and Toronto visits Columbus.  Half an hour later, the Canes visit the Wings.  At 8 p.m. eastern, Calgary visits Winnipeg.  Starting at 10 p.m. eastern are St. Louis at Vancouver and Colorado at Anaheim.  Finally, Minnesota and Los Angeles drop the puck at 10:30 p.m. eastern.

There are a few significant returns tonight, including Calgary‘s Michael Frolik to Winnipeg and San Jose coach Peter DeBoer to New Jersey.  That being said, there is one that stands out even more: Francois Beauchemin, current defenseman for the Colorado Avalanche, is returning to the Pond, a place he has called home twice for a combined 9 seasons (approximately) of his 14+ year career.  Because of this, Colorado at Anaheim is today’s Game of the Day.

Colorado Avalanche LogoUnknown

 

 

 

How funny that the first game he’s played against Anaheim since January 20, 2011 (when he was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs) is with the very team he made his Ducks debut against (of course, they were then the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim)!  It was on November 18, 2005 that Beauchemin played his first game for the Ducks, against the Colorado Avalanche.

Beauchemin was a part of Anaheim‘s lone Stanley Cup squad in the 2006-’07 season.  During those playoffs, he scored four goals (seventh on team) (all of them were power play goals, a stat in which he was second best on the team), eight points (tied for 10th on team), a +2 Corsi rating (tied for 10th on team) and four assists (tied for 11th on team).

Beauchemin still owns a few records on the Ducks‘ books, including being tied for the most playoff game appearances (97) with Ryan Getzlaf, the fourth most playoff points (39) and playoff assists (29), the seventh most playoff goals (10) and the 10th most regular season assists (126).

So far this season with the Avs, Beauchemin has had positive effects on his new club.  He has brought his penchant for assists to Colorado, already notching five in only three games played, which is best on the team and third best in the league (10th best in league in points).

The line currently reads -176 for Anaheim, but both teams have lost two of their three games to start the season and will try to use this matchup to restart their seasons.  That being said, I expect the Ducks to hold their own and earn their first win of the season in what should be a great game.

October 15 – Day Nine – No games on TV has me bummed…

For two days in a row, the Game of the Day has yielded unexpected results as the Chicago Blackhawks were blanked by the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center last night 3-0.

The two squads played a scoreless 25 minutes before Philadelphia broke the ice (HA! IT’S HOCKEY! THEY PLAY ON ICE!  …I will stop now.) with a power play goal by Sam Gagner, his first of the season.  Claude Giroux added the first insurance tally at the 16:21 mark in the second period, followed by Matt Read early in the third.

Michal Neuvirth earned his second shutout victory in as many games played by stopping all 30 of the Hawks‘ shots, while Corey Crawford’s record falls to 1-2 after stopping 26 of 29 (89.7%)

The DtFR Game of the Day series is now an even four-all between the home and road squads.

Today is a busy day in the league, with a total of eight games being played, of which only two are north of the American border.  Three games drop the puck at 7 p.m. eastern (Nashville at the New York Islanders, Ottawa at Pittsburgh, and Chicago at Washington), followed half an hour later by another set of three (the New York Rangers at Montréal, Dallas at Tampa Bay and Buffalo at Florida).  St. Louis and Edmonton get started at 9 p.m. eastern, followed an hour later by the final game of the night: Minnesota at Arizona.

Of that set, there are at least four solid games to choose from (at least in my opinion), but sadly there aren’t any nationally televised games to help make the decision any easier (must be the Game 5 between the Mets and Dodgers…).

Therefore, I’m basically going to draw a game out of the hat and go with the Rangers at Montréal at the Bell Centre.
New York Rangers LogoUnknown

There’s a few appealing qualities about this game compared to the other great games tonight: This one is Montréal‘s home opener, looking for their best start ever in an illustrious franchise history.  This one is an Original Six matchup.  And, this one pits the two current division leaders of the Eastern Conference against each other.  All of these should make for a great game.

Some players to watch in this one include Montréal‘s Andrei Markov (+6 Corsi rating [tied for league lead]), Max Pacioretty (four goals [tied for league lead], +6 Corsi rating [tied for league lead] and six points [tied for second in the league]), Tomas Plekanec (+6 Corsi rating [tied for league lead]), Carey Price (three wins [tied for league lead]) & P.K. Subban (four assists [tied for sixth in the league]) and New York‘s Oscar Lindberg (four goals [tied for league lead]) & Henrik Lundqvist (three wins [tied for league lead]).

Given the environment and some of the statistical edges the Habs have (averaging a goal less per game, higher power play and penalty kill percentages and more shots per game), I’m picking Montréal to win this very competitive game.

October 14 – Day Eight – Wednesday Night Rivalry…

Last night’s Game of the Day was certainly a shocker.  First-year Shark, goalkeeper Martin Jones, earned himself and his team a five-goal shutout victory over the Alex Ovechkin-less Capitals last night in the Verizon Center.

Joe Thornton scored the first goal of the game after almost 11 minutes, the only goal of the first period.  San Jose scored two insurance goals apiece in both the second and third periods, all by different skaters.  In all, nine separate players found their way to the scorecard, with both Matt Nieto and Chris Tierney adding a goal an and assist to their résumé for the year.

Jones stopped all 31 shots faced to improve his record to a perfect 3-0-0 and has only given up one goal so far this season, while Braden Holtby stopped 27 of 30 (90%), as Nieto and Tierney’s goals were scored on an empty net.

The road team now leads the DtFR Game of the Day series 4-3, and are on a three-game win streak.

Tonight’s schedule includes only four games, all of them played under the Stars and Stripes.  Ottawa and Columbus kick things off at 7 p.m. eastern, followed an hour later by Chicago at Philadelphia (NBCSN).  At 10 p.m. eastern, Boston plays their lone regular-season game in Denver against Colorado, while Arizona and Anaheim wait half an hour before dropping the puck on the Pond.

Today marks the first matchup decided by committee, so that is exciting.  What’s most exciting for me is that I’m not solely responsible if you think I chose the wrong game!  Now we all have to share the blame!  Hooray!

We decided to go with the HawksFlyers game.

Unknown-2Philadelphia Flyers Logo

Look at those logos.  They don’t even want to face each other.  Definitely screams Wednesday Night Rivalry.

Not only is this the only nationally televised game of the night, it also has an additional “Original 12” narrative (Yes, I’m fully aware that’s not really a thing.  Just roll with it.).  So far in this week-old season, both teams have been competitive, with Chicago owning a 2-1 record (lost to the Rangers on opening night, swept a home-and-home with the Islanders) and a 1-1-1 record for Philly (lost to Tampa in OT, split a home-and-home with Florida).

According to Vegas, this should be the most competitive game of the night, as the Flyers have a +121 line (The next closest is SensJackets at -134).

With that information and overall predictions for the teams for the season, I’m picking the road team to pick up their fourth straight victory in our Game of the Day series.

Some players to watch in this one include Chicago‘s Patrick Kane (regardless of how you feel about him, he is still having a successful season with six points [tied for second in the league] on three goals [tied for second in the league]) and Philly‘s Michal Neuvirth (one shutout this season [tied for second in the league]).

October 13 – Day Seven – And on the seventh day…

No, before you get worried, I won’t be forsaking my responsibility to the Game of the Day.  That being said, since it is fall break for school, I definitely will be resting.  So many video games, so little time…

Yesterday’s Game of the Day between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins ended exactly the way I, and I think most of us, expected: a Bolts winner.  Steven Stamkos earned his 500th and 501st points with the game-winning goal at the 15:17 mark of the second period to set the score at 4-3.  The Lightning scored two insurance goals in the final period to cement their victory, moving them into a tie with Montréal at the top of the division for the day.

Ben Bishop stopped 27 of 30 (90%) to earn the win, while Tuukka Rask could only stop 17 of 23 (73.9%).

The Game of the Day series is now an evenly split 3-3 between the home and road squads.

Today’s schedule includes nine games (eight in America), making a busy night for hockey fans.  As usual, the action begins at 7 p.m. eastern, with five games starting then: Nashville at New Jersey, Winnipeg at the New York Rangers, Montréal at Pittsburgh, San Jose at Washington, and Florida at Carolina.  Half an hour later, the puck drops at the Joe when Detroit plays host to Tampa Bay (NBCSN).  At 8:30 eastern, Edmonton begins their game against Dallas, followed half an hour later by St. Louis at Calgary.  The final game of the night begins at 10 p.m. eastern when Vancouver visits Los Angeles.

My pick for the Game of the Day is… San Jose at Washington!
Unknown-3Washington Capitals Logo

 

 

 

 

 

Come on down!

View post on imgur.com

Props to “Boba Fettuccine” for posting this .gif to this board.  And for anyone wondering, yes, that is Aaron Paul (a.k.a. Jesse Pinkman) in 2000.  The Internet is a great place with millions of hidden gems of information, kids.

Anyways, while the game may not be the most competitive of the night (the Caps are a -135 favorite in this one), it is highlighted by the return of RW Joel Ward to the Verizon Center.

Ward played 276 games over four seasons with Washington before signing with the Sharks this offseason.  During his time with the Caps, he amassed 57 goals and 64 assists (121 points) and a +22 Corsi rating.  Speaking of Corsi, Ward led the Caps in the statistic twice, during the 2011-’12 season and during the 2013-’14 campaign.

In the last two seasons, he has scored four game-winners per year, a feat he only accomplished once in seasons before.  An especially important aspect of his game in Washington compared to his three seasons in Nashville was helping to produce power play goals.  In those same two seasons that he scored his game-winners, he averaged 4.5 power play assists, by far the best of any other two years of his career.  It is surely this recent success that inspired San Jose to sign him to a three-year contract, where he is currently playing on the second line.

So far this season, he has accounted for two assists in as many games played and a +1 Corsi rating.

As stated before, the game will probably not be the most competitive of the night.  Washington has their sights set on Lord Stanley, while the Sharks are simply hoping to put together a respectable campaign during their time of transition.  I’m taking the home squad in this one.

Colby’s Corner: Bold Predictions Part 2

Bold Predictions will be a two-part series where I, Colby, will discuss who I think will and won’t make the playoffs this season and why. The second part will be the teams who will not make the playoffs and why not. Now remember, these are my opinions. If you disagree, feel free to leave a comment; we always appreciate feedback.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic                                    Metropolitan                                     Wild Cards

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning           1. Washington Capitals                 1. Columbus Blue Jackets (M)
  2. Montreal Canadiens             2. Pittsburgh Penguins                 2. New York Islanders (M)
  3. Ottawa Senators                    3. New York Rangers

The two teams people will be surprised to see missing from the playoffs are the Detroit Red Wings and the Boston Bruins.

Boston Bruins: Aging core with weak blue line equals no playoffs for the city of Boston for the 2nd year in a row. Zdeno Chara is by far the best defenseman on the Bruins’ team this year. The 38-year-old is just coming off an injury, and because he is getting up there in age he has people in Boston questioning when he will hang up his skates. It’s not surprising that the older he gets, the number of injuries he has and the time he misses increase also. As he gets older, though, the Bruins seem to be leaning on him more as they get rid of their other defenseman like Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton. Dennis Seidenberg and Patrice Bergeron grow another year older as they remain part of this Bruins core. Injuries have already plagued the Bruins on the defensive end and will likely result in them playing three young men in the back: Zach Trotman, Colin Miller and Joe Morrow. The three of them together only have 44 games played in the NHL. I don’t even see the Bruins being close to the wildcard spot, as some Bruins fans have been joking about. #AustintoBoston

Detroit Red Wings: New coach, different results. The Detroit Red Wings hired Jeff Blashill when Mike Babcock left during this offseason. I was a big fan of hiring from within the organization, as Blashill was the coach for the Red Wings affiliate last season. The Jump from AHL to NHL is big, you can ask all the players who never transition. Some coaches have been successful in this jump, like John Tortorella. However, I feel like Wings fans will truly see how much Babcock did for their organization and the core they have there. The Wings are also dealing with a goaltender battle between Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will have to have wide shoulders if the Wings want a chance at making the playoffs, along with help from Tomas Tatar and Mike Green. The Wings will compete for the wildcard at the end of the season, but will fall short.

Western Conference

Pacific                                     Central                                    Wild Cards

  1. Anaheim Ducks                1. Dallas Stars                   1. Chicago Blackhawks (C)
  2. Calgary Flames                 2. St Louis Blues               2. Colorado Avalanche (C)
  3. Los Angeles Kings            3. Minnesota Wild

The two teams people will be surprised to see missing from my playoffs are two teams that made it last season, the Nashville Predators and the Winnipeg Jets.

Nashville Predators: Same tricks don’t work twice Nashville was a top team in the west last season due to big performance from James Neal, Filip Forsberg, Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne. I am calling that Forsberg will have the crucial sophomore slump. I also don’t see Rinne having the same numbers as last season. He and Weber got help this off-season from Barrett Jackman, however I don’t think this will be enough. The Preds will have a bad year because that division is just so good now and teams like Dallas added a lot of talent.

Winnipeg Jets: Off ice causes issues on it Winnipeg is dealing with a lot, what with all the trade rumors surround

RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 13: Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Winnipeg Jets reacts for the camera during their NHL game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on November 13, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

ing star defenseman/winger Dustin Byfuglien. It seems like reports are linking him to just about any team out there. Byfuglien had some issues with Evander Kane, back when Kane was in Winnipeg. There seems to always be tension inside that locker room. Another reason I feel Winnipeg doesn’t make the playoffs is in between the pipes. Michael Hutchinson and Onderj Pavelec are not number one goalies in the NHL. The reason they made the playoffs last season was because of Hutchinson’s amazing play down the final stretch of the season. I don’t see him doing this again this year. I actually have Winnipeg last in this division. I would say they finish about 10th in the conference, however, because the Pacific is so weak.

October 12 – Day Six – Christopher Columbus was Definitely a Hockey Fan

Last night’s lone game, and thus the Game of the Day, was contested between the Montréal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators, with the Habs winning 3-1 in the Canadian Tire Centre, their first regular season victory in the nation’s capital since April 4, 2014.

Tomas Plekanec was responsible for the game-winning goal, fired at the 18:34 mark of the first period.  The unassisted tally was his second of the game and third of the season, earning him first star honors.  Mike Condon earned the win after stopping 20 of 21 Senators‘ shots (95.2%), while his counterpart, Matthew O’Connor, stopped 31 of 34 (91.2%).

The home team is now 3-2 in Down the Frozen River’s Game of the Day series.

Today has five games on the schedule, taking place throughout the day in honor of Christopher Columbus, an Italian who undoubtedly was directly involved in forging the Stanley Cup, establishing the Original Six and initiating the new divisions and playoff format implemented in 2014.  Obviously.

The things they do and don’t teach in grade school.  Terrible.

In honor of Columbus, today’s schedule will be relayed in Italian, because we live in the wonderful world of Google Translate, allowing us to be fluent in almost every known language.  Please know I took a few liberties with my translations before you begin harping in the comment section.

The day begins with two games at 1 p.m. eastern, when il Fulmine di Baia di Tampa visit gli Orsi di Boston and gli Aerei di Winnipeg visit le Isole di Nuova York.  The fun continues at 3 p.m. eastern when the star of the day’s team, le Giacche Blu di Colombo, visit le Spade di Bufalo.  The night games begin at 7 p.m. eastern when le Pantere della Florida visit the le Alette di Filatoio di Philadelphia (NHL Network).  Finally, i Canadesi di Vancouver visit i Anatre di Anaheim at 10 p.m. eastern.

Currently, the Bruins are projected to lose with a +125 line, the closest line for the day, which confirms BoltsB’s as our Game of the Day.

Unknown-1Unknown

This matchup is one of two among divisional foes (Vancouver/Anaheim is the other) happening today, and also has some statistical significance: All Steven Stamkos needs is an assist in today’s game to earn the 500th point of his 7.02 year career.  However, he’ll try to earn his point and, more importantly, two points for his squad in a building his team hasn’t won in since March 25, 2010.

Boston has had little to hang their hat on… or helmet, whichever… so far in this young season.  In two games played, the B’s have yet to earn a point in the standings.  What’s worse, they’ve played both those games at the TD Garden and have given up an average of exactly five goals per game, while only scoring an average of exactly two goals per game.  Compare that to the 2-0-0 Lightning‘s averages of 1.5 goals against per game and 3.5 goals for per game, and you’ll see that this one may be leaning Tampa Bay‘s way.

I’m picking the Bolts to take care of business in this one and enter into a two-way tie with the Habs for the top of the Atlantic Division with six points.

October 11 – Day Five – Out of Necessity, Vol. 1

Last night’s game of the night between St. Louis and Minnesota ended in a 3-2 win for the Wild.  The Blues tied the game at one-all at the 2:49 mark of the second period, a score that held for 13 minutes.  The Wild took a 2-1 lead at the 15:15 mark with a power play goal by Zach Parise, his fourth goal, tying him for the league lead in the young season.  Twenty-one seconds later, Charlie Coyle scored his second goal of the match, the eventual game-winner.

St. Louis out-shot the Wild 32-19, but Devan Dubnyk held his ground by stopping 93.8% of shots faced to earn the win.

Today’s Game of the Day is quite the tough decision.  On the schedule tonight is Montréal at Ottawa (7 p.m. eastern, NHL Network/SN1) and… oh… nobody else… guess that makes things easier!

UnknownUnknown-2

Similar to last night’s game, this matchup is both a divisional rivalry and a rematch from last year’s conference quarterfinals.  Last season, Montréal won the Atlantic Division, 11 points better then the Wild Card Sens.  That being said, Ottawa won the regular season series 3-1 before falling in six games to the Habs in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Currently, there is a four-way tie for the division lead between the Bolts, Habs, Sens and Wings at four points apiece, therefore the winner of this game will own the division for a night.  You know, ‘cuz that’s important without even a full week played in the season.

Some players to keep a watch on include Ottawa‘s Mark Stone (three assists, tied for fifth in league) and Kyle Turris (three goals, tied for fourth in league; four points, tied for seventh in league) and Montréal‘s Alex Galchenyuk (three assists, tied for fifth in league), Andrei Markov (+4 Corsi rating, tied for sixth in league) and P.K. Subban (+4 Corsi rating, tied for sixth in league).

The Sens are favored in tonight’s game at -124.

October 10 – Day Four – Hey Bro’

Yesterday’s Game of the Day, contested between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings, ended in a 4-0 victory for the home squad over ex-coach Mike Babcock.  Justin Abdelkader earned first star honors after scoring a hat trick before the 24th minute of the game ticked off the clock, with rookie Dylan Larkin accounting for the remaining goal 20 seconds into the second period.  Jimmy Howard made 22 saves, including fighting off Toronto‘s three power plays, to earn his first shutout in as many games played.

Home teams are now 2-1 in the Game of the Day series.

Tonight marks the first date when almost every squad in the league is in action.  The only dormant squads are the Los Angeles Kings and Winnipeg Jets.  Some of the highlights of the evening’s action includes Montréal at Boston (7 p.m. eastern, NHL Network) and the Isles at Chicago (8:30 p.m. eastern).

Those games being considered, my pick for Game of the Day is the St. Louis Blues at the Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. eastern).

Unknown-1Unknown-4

Connor, you’re so biased to pick the Notes.

Yeah, I know, you probably call ’em as you see ’em, but I do have a few factors that may help you at least semi-respect my choice.  I understand that nine of the 14 games (64%) contested tonight are divisional rivalries (of which this matchup is one) and Calgary/Vancouver is another Western Conference Quarterfinals rematch from last season.  I get it, this one isn’t that special in the grand scheme of things, at least in those regards.

What makes this one a little bit different is that the Blues bring with them to the Xcel Energy Center newly-acquired (as of July) center Kyle Brodziak, who spent six seasons with the Wild.  While in Minnesota, he qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of the last three seasons, with an especially strong performance in the 2014 postseason where he scored three goals and notched three assists to help the Wild beat the Central Division Champion Colorado Avalanche before falling to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Semifinals in six games.

During his time with the Wild, Brodziak scored 72 regular season goals (including six game winners, with three coming in the 2009-’10 season) and 97 regular season assists, placing him at eighth on Minnesota‘s all-time scoring leaders list (third among centers) with 169 points.  Defensively, he also blocked 291 shots and caused 265 takeaways.

Minnesota is currently favored in the matchup at -127, but expect the Blues to still harbor hard feelings after yet another early exit from the playoffs, this time at the hands of the Wild.

October 9 – Day Three – “All my exes live in… Toronto?”

Last night’s Game of the Day between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Dallas Stars ended poorly for the road team, as the Stars won 3-0.  Dallas had the game won after only a minute of play when Antti Niemi and Ales Hemsky assisted Mattias Janmark to his first goal of the season.  Pittsburgh managed 37 shots on goal, but were unable to break Niemi, who earned his first shutout of the season.  Two of Dallas‘ goals were a result of the power play, which certainly won’t make Mike Johnston happy, especially when the Pens couldn’t convert on any of their three.

Today, the NHL has five games on the schedule, including Winnipeg at New Jersey (7 p.m. eastern), the New York Rangers at Columbus (7 p.m. eastern), Chicago at the New York Islanders (7:30 p.m. eastern) and Arizona at Los Angeles (10:30 p.m. eastern).

Unknown-3Unknown-1

Regardless of how those games may go, the one I’m most interested in tonight is at 7:30 eastern in Hockeytown, when the Toronto Maple Leafs visit the Detroit Red Wings.

There’s a ton of story lines that go with this game.  A few of the easy ones: It’s Detroit‘s first game of the season… it’s an Original Six matchup… it’s a divisional rivalry, the first of four games between the squads and the first of two in Motown this season… But we all know the most important factor about this game is that Mike Babcock, new head coach of the Leafs, will return to Joe Louis Arena to coach against the same team he led to the playoffs in all 10 of his seasons as head coach and won the Stanley Cup with in 2008, for the first time in the regular season.

Babcock’s career in Detroit is certainly not one worth laughing at.  In addition to leading the team to 10 playoff appearances in his 10 seasons (do the math, kids.  That’s good.) and winning Detroit‘s 11th cup, Babcock coached the team for a total of 909 games (786 regular season [third in team history], 123 playoff), winning 458 regular season games (leads team) and 67 playoff games (second in team history), and outright losing 223 regular season games (third most in team history) and 56 playoff games (most in team history).  His .649 regular season winning percentage ranks fifth in team history, while his .545 postseason winning percentage is second best in team history.

Luckily for Babcock, this won’t technically be his first time coaching against the Wings, or even his first time coaching against them in Detroit, as Toronto and Detroit played a home-and-home series to end the preseason.  That being said, a crowd in the preseason is nowhere near the size, nor has the same amount of energy, as a regular season crowd.

I think it’s safe to expect a relatively positive response from Red Wings fans when Babcock’s name is announced before the game since the team and coach separated on mutual terms, but I expect a rowdy crowd for the full 60 minutes of action as fans try to propel their team past their ex-leader.

Detroit is heavily favored to win this one (not as much as Los Angeles over Arizona, though!), which means I’m immediately pulling for Toronto because I love to pull underdog… or plant-life, in this case.  That being said, I think the Wings will grab two points in this one.

Numbers Game: Look to the Rafters- Minnesota Wild

By: Nick Lanciani

My look at what retired numbers around the league may look like in the future continues. While there’s only a finite set of numbers to utilize on the back of a jersey, many teams choose to retire (or honor) some numbers based on extraordinary circumstances, dedication to the organization, or legendary status.

Many thoughts went through my head in each and every consideration. Feel free to agree or disagree- I want to know what you, the fans, consider worthy when evaluating a player, their career, and whether or not their number should be retired by a franchise. I am interested in seeing what you have to say, assuming you are actually a fan of the team and/or player that you argue for or against. Drop us a line in the comments or tweet to @DtFrozenRiver using #DTFRNumbersGame.

For each team, I thought of former and current players that should have their numbers retired now or once they hang up the skates.

Unknown-4Minnesota Wild

Current Retired Numbers- 1 Minnesota Fans

Recommended Numbers to Retire

9 Mikko Koivu

Koivu has been one of the first- if not the first- products of the Minnesota Wild’s system. The franchise itself is still young, having first appeared in the 2000-2001 season, so not many players have gone through Minnesota for their entire career, or under extraordinary circumstances, hence as things stand right now, we’ll likely only see the Wild retire a number in the next ten or fifteen years.

Zach Parise's legend continues to grow each year in Minnesota. Will he lead them on a Cup run in the near future? (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Zach Parise’s legend continues to grow each year in Minnesota. Will he lead them on a Cup run in the near future? (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

11 Zach Parise

Provided Parise spends the majority of his career with the Wild, there’s a good chance they’ll honor him and his legendary Minnesota family. Also, if he keeps scoring hat tricks like the one he had Thursday night, they’ll probably honor him too.

20 Ryan Suter

Likewise, it’s the same case with Suter- minus the hat tricks (see above).

Other Notes

Minnesota fans are number 1 in the State of Hockey, especially after having to live through the whole North Stars relocation to Dallas- probably hence why the number is set aside to make that connection between a committed franchise and their fans.

Otherwise, I really got nothing for you in terms of what the future could look like for the Minnesota Wild’s rafters.

Down the Frozen River(.com!)