Lots of fun hockey stuff to talk about from the New Year’s holiday. Let’s break it down, game summary-style.
1st Period – New Year’s Eve – Sharks @ Wild
I wasn’t able to watch this game. Not that I made an effort. We went to a friend’s house for the NYE so I was busy with various pre-party preparations. I did tune in Bob Kurtz a couple times in the car tho. While on our way to the party the Wild were up 2-1 and holding on for dear life. I have to give mad props to the crowd at the X Wednesday nite. With the Wizzy in free fall, sitting in last place in the Northwest division, the crowd came across super loud over the WCCO airwaves. I know a couple people that were there, so I give a shout out to them.
Unfortunately the Sharks tied the game with around 29 seconds left, but Brent Burns won the game for the Wild in OT. Great win over the Sharks who are virtually unbeatable this season. Could this game can be the harbinger for turning the season around? Goodness let’s hope so.
2nd Period – New Year’s Day – USA v. Canada
This 3rd game for each country in the World Junior Championships was actually played New Year’s Eve, but due to the party I watched it early New Year’s Day, with Baby Girl. If you had a chance to catch any of this game, what an atmosphere. This year’s WJC is being played in Ottawa, so naturally it is a very Canadian crowd. The fans were passing a huge Canadian flag all around the concourse, they were loud, and it was a fun game to watch. USA jumped out to a surprising 3-0 lead, but by the end of the 1st period it was tied. Ultimately Canada won the game 7-4, but they scored 2 empty net goals. The final score makes sense because earlier in the tournament Canada beat Kazakhstan 15-0, while the US was 3 goals off, beating the Kazakhstanis 12-0. Canada is the more-talented team, but if they meet again, USA could have a chance for an upset.
The US takes on Slovakia in the quarterfinals Friday at 2:30 CST. You can catch the game on the NHL Network.
3rd Period – New Year’s Day – NHL Winter Classic
This one was the main event of the holiday. The most hype as well as my most-anticipated. Add on fry bread and uff-da tacos and it was a great event in our house. Most of you know this, but this year’s Winter Classic was played in Chicago at Wrigley Field. The Detroit Red Wings beat the Blackhawks 6-4. For me the result wasn’t too big a deal; it was about the spectacle of a hockey game in a baseball stadium…in historic Wrigley Field. The aerial views were excellent. The fans were into it and loud, starting with the National Anthem. And it was a good game to boot.
However, I do have to say that the uniqueness of this event was lost on me a little bit. This was the 3rd outdoor game the NHL has put on, and this one was too soon. I know it is all about marketing the NHL and capitalizing on momentum, but I hope they take a year or two off before the next one. It will undoubtedly be in the Twin Cites eventually, but I hope it doesn’t happen for a while, so the event still seems like an event.
Overtime – Marian Gaborik
After the hockey New Year’s had wound down, a story appeared in my RSS reader from Michael Russo. No biggie I thought, because he is quite the blogger to go along with his Strib writing for the paper. But as I read on, it was not good news at all. It appears the Wild and Marian Gaborik are contemplating the possibility of surgery to repair a “deficiency” in his hip, which has been causing his groin problems this year. This surgery would likely be season ending. Now, this is not bad news because Gabby is a important cog on this team. Unfortunately that’s not his status anymore. But it is bad news because this team that can not score is losing the one guy that is dynamic enough to score, and now he is not tradable. We are looking at seeing the most talented player in Wild history leave the team at the end of the year and getting nothing in return. Quite the disastrous turn of events.
The Wild are back in action Saturday v. Detroit. Could be ugly for the Wizzy, but maybe this is the point in the season where it turns around.
Hey…New Years is a time for optimism afterall.