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RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season

 
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RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/18/2019 5:10:30 PM   
Jeff Jesser


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BTW - before I got roasted for sticking up for NTG, that comment was because he was wrongly accused of giving up those goals but the post was edited. last thing I need is to be thought of as dumber and/or an apologist for that waste of a lot of money. I'm already fighting an uphill battle
Post #: 801
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/19/2019 9:11:03 PM   
TJSweens


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Dubnyk sucks. I'm just sayin.

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RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/20/2019 8:22:47 AM   
MDK


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jeff Jesser

BTW - before I got roasted for sticking up for NTG, that comment was because he was wrongly accused of giving up those goals but the post was edited. last thing I need is to be thought of as dumber and/or an apologist for that waste of a lot of money. I'm already fighting an uphill battle

That was me. I missed the first 3 goals and when I saw Doobs on the game, I assumed he gave them up. Later I edited my postal after reading that wasn't the case. Your post correcting my mistake came 1 or 2 minutes after my edit. My mistake on Doobs.

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RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/20/2019 8:40:32 AM   
Jeff Jesser


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MDK

quote:

ORIGINAL: Jeff Jesser

BTW - before I got roasted for sticking up for NTG, that comment was because he was wrongly accused of giving up those goals but the post was edited. last thing I need is to be thought of as dumber and/or an apologist for that waste of a lot of money. I'm already fighting an uphill battle

That was me. I missed the first 3 goals and when I saw Doobs on the game, I assumed he gave them up. Later I edited my postal after reading that wasn't the case. Your post correcting my mistake came 1 or 2 minutes after my edit. My mistake on Doobs.



Yeah man, it wasn't a big deal I just didn't want to be a dub's apologist. I got enough shit going on that I have to overcome
Post #: 804
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/20/2019 8:48:49 AM   
stfrank

 

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I like how BB paired the 2 new guys with the energizer bunny to start out. Of course the addition of another center moved Coyle over to wing again. Might Fenton be showcasing Charlie's flexibility for his next big move? Will be interesting to see what happens next with this group. I have a feeling come this time next season our team will have much different look.
Post #: 805
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/20/2019 11:18:58 AM   
TJSweens


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Once again the Wild's inability to convert chances, coupled with NTG's penchant for soft goals turned what should have been a comfortable win into a nail biter.

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RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/20/2019 11:54:52 AM   
stfrank

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: TJSweens

Once again the Wild's inability to convert chances, coupled with NTG's penchant for soft goals turned what should have been a comfortable win into a nail biter.

Yup. At this point all we can hope is they keep working the younger guys in to build for the future. This core's chance has come and gone without making any noise in the playoffs....time to move on and build for the future.
Post #: 807
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/21/2019 12:44:39 PM   
Phil Riewer


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quote:

ORIGINAL: stfrank

quote:

ORIGINAL: TJSweens

Once again the Wild's inability to convert chances, coupled with NTG's penchant for soft goals turned what should have been a comfortable win into a nail biter.

Yup. At this point all we can hope is they keep working the younger guys in to build for the future. This core's chance has come and gone without making any noise in the playoffs....time to move on and build for the future.


I know that Nino had 2 goals last night but it is/was time to get rid of Coyle, Nino (done), Granlund, and Zucker.

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RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/22/2019 7:03:35 AM   
TJSweens


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The Wild traded for defenseman Brad Hunt from LV. SMF should love this guy. He's almost as small as Spurgeon.

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RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/22/2019 7:07:19 AM   
TJSweens


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And yes that was Alex "We Didn't Need Him " Tuch s scoring against us last night.

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RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/22/2019 8:00:46 AM   
SoMnFan


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Couple nice points last night
Our success against LV is weird, but I likey
Tons of Wild fans there ... several I knew even

Some extra efforts last night, good to see.
Parise took some blocks like a man. They are realizing its best to not let shots get thru to our All-Star most nights.
Foligno has been very good.
Greenway is a star in the making. Seattle will love him.
Spurgeon once again the catalyst. All he does is whatever it takes to win. That was a pass very few Dmen can make.
His decisions on when to jump up in the play are almost flawless.
Speaking of small defensemen .. the new guy DelFlipinPino or whatever ... is almost hard to tell apart from Spurg. Until the play starts.
Worried about Wednesday now, after the Avs took an ass kicking at home yesterday. We will need our A game to keep that one close.
It appears the rest of the middle-dwellers are doing exactly what we are ... losing games we should win, winning games we should lose.
At least this slight uptick in play has got me excited about our upcoming Dallas trip. Wasn't looking great for awhile.
Post #: 811
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/22/2019 8:03:35 AM   
SoMnFan


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Btw ... look for Pirri to join us soon from LV.
Guy missed an open net that any of us in here would have buried.
Yes .... we would have. Well, most of us.
That was almost suspicious. NO WAY a guy who's made the NHL .... misses that (unless he plays for us)
Post #: 812
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/23/2019 6:04:36 AM   
kgdabom

 

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So if the playoffs started today we would be in them. Up and down season.

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RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/23/2019 10:49:21 AM   
SoMnFan


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The Athletic does some awesome reporting on issues.
Ironically, this one deals with the thing we talk about constantly in here
The schedule

As he relaxed in his locker stall following a morning skate last week at Madison Square Garden — about a 25-minute subway ride from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, a 25-minute drive from Newark’s Prudential Center, and an easy train ride from Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center — I casually asked Jonathan Toews if he ever thought about the differences in travel playing in the Eastern Conference, particularly the New York area, versus the Western Conference, particularly Chicago, the second-easternmost city in the West.
“Yup,” he said sharply, as if he had been waiting for this question all his life. “A lot.”
Toews then beat me to the follow-up.
“And from what I hear,” he continued, “Phoenix is getting added to our division (when Seattle joins the league) and that just makes for a lot of back-to-back games where you’re playing at home and flying there, or vice versa. Yeah. It’s getting out of control.”
It’s easy to see why Toews is frustrated, and a little road-weary. The Blackhawks were in the New York area for the second time in 11 days, having just played the Islanders on Long Island. The Blackhawks left for that trip the day after the Winter Classic. This, after playing in Denver — more than two hours away, with an hour time difference — two days before the Winter Classic. The Winter Classic the Blackhawks were “hosting,” mind you. The Winter Classic the Bruins arrived in South Bend for a full day before the Blackhawks did.
“You don’t have to tell me,” Toews said.
Then there was the quick jaunt to the West Coast for a back-to-back in Anaheim and Las Vegas. There was the home-opener which came at the end of a three-in-four and a back-to-back. There’s the bizarre upcoming road trip that hits three time zones in three games — Buffalo to Minnesota to Edmonton. There are the five trips out to either California or Western Canada, including two weeklong California trips in March. There are the 13 one-off trips, when the team flies to a game and comes straight home.
And let’s not forget one of the most baffling road trips in recent memory, last year over New Year’s, when the Blackhawks went from Vancouver to Edmonton to Calgary to … New York? In fact, there were three trips to the New York area that season, one for each team.
“It’s getting worse (the last two years) for sure,” Toews said. “I’m sure a lot of teams have some tough travel. But from what I’ve gathered, when they go on road trips, they go on road trips. They don’t come and go the way we are. I’m not making excuses, but it takes up a lot of time.”
No one’s going to cry for the Blackhawks, of course, who get paid handsomely and who travel in the ultimate luxury — driven directly from the arena to the tarmac before walking right up the stairs into an all first-class private jet with high-end food options and creature comforts. But sleep is critical for anyone, let alone a professional athlete. And constantly flying deep into the night, getting home at 2 or 3 in the morning with a practice or a game the next day, takes a toll.
And there’s no doubt the Blackhawks’ schedule has been far more frantic the past two seasons — constantly bouncing around the continent as the days and nights and time zones start blurring together.
The circus left town, the United Center opened up in November, and life got a lot more hectic for the Blackhawks.
“I don’t understand how one road trip can make that big of a difference,” Toews said. “Because we’re going back and forth all the time. We went to New York three separate times last year to play three games. We did that trip twice this year. We had that trip last year where we went from Dallas to New Jersey, then home for Christmas, then Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and then to New York on the same road trip. You can’t tell me that’s because of the circus trip.”
Well, it’s not just the circus trip. The ice-show trip — the late January/early February version of the circus trip, when Disney on Ice annually took over the United Center — is a thing of the past, too. Disney sticks around for just a few days now, not a couple of weeks. So in 2014-15, the Blackhawks played 12 games on those two trips, and only had to go out west three times total. The year before that, they played 13 games on those two trips, and only had to go out west those two times. That’s more than a quarter of the road schedule taken care of on two trips.
This year, the Blackhawks’ longest trip is just three games. And they have five such trips. They’ll be home for at least six consecutive days just six times. Last year, it was just three times. In 2016-17? They had eight such homestands.
Toews isn’t wrong. It’s gotten a lot worse.
“It’s true, we’re always bouncing around,” Artem Anisimov said. “Two weeks ago, we were in New York. Then we came right back. It’s easy to do the whole trip in New York, play all the teams and move on.”
Is it, though? I spoke with the NHL’s master scheduler, Steve Hatze Petros, to get a look at how the sausage is made. And it’s messy.
Never mind the few enforcer types that still roam rinks across the league. Hatze Petros might be the most feared man in the hockey world. He’s certainly one the most complained about. For 25 years, he’s been putting together the complex puzzle that is the NHL’s schedule.
“I will tell you this,” he said with a laugh. “Never have I ever heard from any one of our clubs, ‘This is a great schedule.’ And even when I do hear something positive — and I have heard ‘I love you’ from other grown men — as soon as they go on a three- or four-game losing streak the following year, they start complaining about the schedule.”
Hatze Petros has an immense list of factors to consider when he puts together the schedule every year. There’s arena availability — the United Center sometimes hosts more than 200 events a year, only 44 of which are hockey games, not counting the postseason. There are television networks to satisfy on either side of the border — the Blackhawks might be at the bottom of the standings, but they remain at the top of NBC Sports’ wishlist. There are financial considerations — some teams all but beg for more weekend games because they struggle to sell tickets on a Monday night, leading to more of the dreaded back-to-backs for everybody.
Hatze Petros, like the Godfather on the day of his daughter’s wedding, hears everyone out. He tries to visit one division’s worth of teams a year, meeting not just with general managers but ticket-sales personnel and food-and-beverage people. He answers all phone calls and emails. He seeks input from players on All-Star weekend. And when he attends a general managers’ meeting, he’s usually under siege the whole time.
“I won’t call it attacking, but they’d be all over me,” Hatze Petros said. “So unless I’m on the agenda for something specific, I don’t attend those meetings.”
Some teams want to be in certain cities at certain times of the year. Some teams desperately want to play at home the night before Thanksgiving, a hard-partying night when all the college kids are home. Some coaches, particularly new ones, sheepishly ask if they get to be on Hockey Night in Canada, then light up when Hatze Petros tells them they will.
“I’ve had GMs tell me, ‘I want to play non-playoff teams in the first part of the season’,” he said. “I tell them, if you can predict to me the teams that aren’t going to be in the playoffs next year, tell me who they are and I’ll schedule it. They each have their own idiosyncrasies. I get to know them over time; I’ve been doing this for quite a long time. When it’s close to done, I’m looking at the schedule and I’m not cringing, but I know what I’m going to hear from Stan Bowman.”
Some GMs are more combative than others. One league source said Bowman isn’t among the more aggressive ones, opting to pick his battles — which can lead to screwy sequences like the one around the Winter Classic this year — whereas veteran GM Lou Lamoriello, now with the Islanders, will fight tooth and nail for every advantage. Either way, nobody ever seems happy.
The first draft of the schedule that most teams see typically has about 70 games on it. And if the NHL had a 70-72 game schedule, Hatze Petros said everybody would be pleased. It’s squeezing in the last 10-12 that messes everything up. And it’s usually the three New York games that get wedged in last, because, theoretically, they’re the easiest to schedule.
That game on Long Island right after the Winter Classic wasn’t even on the original schedule, according to Hatze Petros. The first draft, the ones the teams generally receive in March, had the Blackhawks hitting all three New York teams in one fell swoop; that’s why there were two days off between the games against the Devils and Rangers last week. Originally, they were going to face the Islanders the night before the Rangers. But that meant an extra back-to-back and a three-in-four, while there was a four-day gap between the Winter Classic and the Jan. 6 game in Pittsburgh.
So Hatze Petros swapped out the Islanders game.
“It uncluttered things,” he said. “A four-game week became a three-game week.”
It’s debatable whether that made things better for the Blackhawks — they lost all three games. But it did mean an extra trip, and another four hours or so in an airplane.
This year, the Blackhawks lobbied to knock out all three Eastern Canada games — Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa — on the same trip. They didn’t get their wish. They opened the season in Ottawa and will play Toronto and Montreal in March, with two days off in between.
Hatze Petros typically asks teams for a list of their requests, in the order of how important each request is. And he does his best. But with 31 teams listing several demands each year, you can’t always get what you want.
Still, that doesn’t explain the Blackhawks’ particularly quirky schedule this season. Just because the circus doesn’t come to the United Center anymore doesn’t mean the Blackhawks can’t still knock out all the Western Canada and California teams in one or two long trips, rather than five shorter ones, right? Well, it turns out there are even more factors to consider. With the All-Star break and the bye week (a relatively new addition which only further compacts the scheduling) followed by the bizarre Buffalo-Minnesota-Edmonton trip, there will be 15 consecutive days without a game at the United Center. So that home game against Vancouver on Feb. 7 became “imperative,” according to Hatze Petros.
Sure, he could have stretched out the road trip and ticked off a few more West Coast teams. That’s what the players probably would prefer. But it’s not what the organization would prefer.
“It’s more efficient that way, but is it good for the fans?” Hatze Petros said.
And let’s not pretend the Blackhawks’ schedule was perfect when it included the circus and ice-show trips. In 2014-15, they played in Ottawa on a Thursday, Toronto on Saturday, came home to host Winnipeg on Sunday, then went right back to Montreal for a game on Tuesday. It was mind-boggling. That same year, they had the Devils and Islanders on the same trip, but with a flight to Boston in between.
See, everyone gets screwed every year. So it’s Hatze Petros’ job to make sure everyone gets screwed equally. For example, the standard California swing starts in San Jose, then features a back-to-back in Los Angeles and Anaheim, because there’s no travel involved. But every year, some teams have to play in L.A., then go up to San Jose, then go back down to Anaheim.
“That’s not ideal for travel,” Hatze Petros admitted. “But it follows that the next year, we’ll go back to give them the better way. It’s about being fair over a long period of time.
“It’s a puzzle,” he continued. “And there are a lot of masters we have to satisfy.”
Anisimov knows how the other half lives. Because he lived it. Breaking into the NHL with the Rangers, Anisimov was utterly spoiled by the most player-friendly schedule in the league. The Rangers, Islanders and Devils have a built-in advantage that no other team can boast.
His rookie season of 2009-10, the Rangers played six road games against the Islanders and the Devils. Those are basically home games — each player is picked up at his house or apartment by a car service and is taken to the morning skate. They get day rooms at a local hotel for their pregame naps, then are back in their own beds that night. The Rangers played three other games in Philadelphia, a quick train ride away. They played 14 games in Washington, Pittsburgh, Boston, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa — all of which are within an hour by plane. They made one three-game trip to California, and one three-game trip to Western Canada.
That’s dozens and dozens of hours of sleep and relaxation that Western Conference players never get. Put it this way, the 8 p.m. Eastern time start for division road games wasn’t the only reason the Red Wings wanted so badly to move to the Eastern Conference nearly six years ago.
“It’s so much easier,” Anisimov said. “It’s a big advantage, it’s true. You don’t spend so much time at airports and on planes.”
Now a veteran of the Western Conference, Anisimov said the difference in sleep is noticeable — especially when yo-yoing back and forth from Chicago to other cities for a night or two at a time.
“You need sleep to recover,” he said. “Sleeping on a plane is not the same as in your own bed.”
It’s not just the New York-area teams that have an edge. The entire Eastern Conference is more player-friendly. Marcus Kruger got a taste of it last season with the Carolina Hurricanes. Sure, the West Coast flights are extra long — Kruger said the team plane once had to stop for gas on the way from Raleigh to Vancouver — and the three-hour time difference is a factor, but you only have to make those trips once or twice a year.
“You’re home a little bit more in the East,” Kruger said. “The biggest thing is the sleep. We’re really lucky here (in Chicago), they take good care of us and make sure we get the right amount of sleep. We get home fast after games. Sometimes we choose to stay over on the West Coast and that helps, too. But it can be a challenge.”
It’s a challenge the Blackhawks simply have to deal with. The circus isn’t coming back, so this more frenetic, travel-heavy schedule is going to be the new normal. Toews said he hopes the players can make their voices heard to ensure a more competitively balanced travel schedule, and Hatze Petros is always listening.
But as one of the easternmost teams in the Western Conference, as one of the most heavily leaned-on teams in terms of national television, as one of the most sought-after weekend opponents for attendance-starved teams, it’s unlikely to get much easier anytime soon. In fact, it’s only going to get worse. The Coyotes are coming.
“I’m not going to cry about it, because I’m sure other teams deal with it,” Toews said. “But there’s no doubt it’s been different the last couple years. We talk about it a little bit (in the room), but that’s about it. I mean, what else can you do?”
Post #: 814
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/23/2019 11:03:15 AM   
SoMnFan


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These are great stories imo, sorry they are long tho.

DENVER — Watching from his normal spot in the T-Mobile Arena press box Monday afternoon, Vegas Golden Knights eighth defenseman Brad Hunt never could have imagined that he was actually pre-scouting his future organization.
“I was just so impressed by Minnesota’s nonstop work ethic. It was really cool to see,” Hunt said from the back of a black SUV on his way to the Wild’s hotel in downtown Denver just after noontime Tuesday. “It’s so weird. You’re cheering for one team and then after the game you find out you were cheering for the wrong team.”
Two hours after his now-new team beat his now-old team, 4-2, Hunt was traded from Vegas to Minnesota while the Wild were en route to Colorado for their final game before the All-Star break Wednesday night against the Avalanche.
Using a little of what I call “reporter instinct” Tuesday morning, I arrived at Gate D58 at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport with the intent of hunting down — sorry for the pun — Hunt.
No offense to Southwest Airlines, but I had to figure the Wild would put their new acquisition in a first-class seat on the first United nonstop of the day to Denver.
That just so happened to be the flight I was booked on.
Thanks to Google, I imprinted Hunt’s face into my brain and found him within a minute. I went over to introduce myself.
In the 12 hours since I too learned of the trade that sent the Wild’s higher of two fifth-round picks in this June’s draft to Vegas for Hunt and a sixth, I had received a half-dozen texts and a bunch of tweets from reporters and NHL players telling me that Hunt is about as good a dude as any beat writer would want to cover.
His personality was compared to the Wild’s Nate Prosser, which isn’t a shock. Only certain types of individuals can handle being oft-scratched without being a negative influence in the locker room. By all accounts, Hunt handled not playing a lot and the extra work that comes with that like a champ.
“He’s a great person,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “He has an unbelievable personality. He comes to the rink every day ready to go, and he didn’t play a lot of hockey for us. He’s a true pro and we’re going to miss him a lot. He’s a great teammate and a great competitor every day.”
All of the off-ice accolades were confirmed during my five-minute conversation with the affable fellow, one that ended with Hunt offering me a ride to practice at Denver University in the car service Andrew Heydt, the Wild’s director of team operations and player relations, set up for him.
Well … if you insist, Brad.
As a longtime beat writer, I’ve reported on trades for years. But this was the first time I would get to see a player go to a new team from this usually undocumented perspective: waiting at the gate, flying to his new team and life, grabbing his equipment at the baggage carousel and driving to meet a bunch of new teammates and coaches.
We think of these players as robots, but the reality is, even 30-year-old professional athletes like Hunt have nerves.
This is Hunt’s fifth team in his NHL career but first time he has been traded.
His life is being uprooted, so there are questions: What do I do with my Vegas house I’m renting? How do I get the furniture I own? How do I get my clothes? How do I say goodbye to all my friends and now former teammates? Where will I live in Minnesota? What number will I wear on my new team? Heck, am I even playing tomorrow?
“I’ve been in this position before through waivers, but not through a trade,” Hunt said during the long ride into Denver. “So, it’s an exciting time, but I’m a little bit nervous, too, just to meet new guys and a whole new atmosphere and new culture. But it’s something that’s super exciting. I’ve heard nothing but great things.”
Driving with his wife, Katie, back to their home in Summerlin early Monday evening, Hunt received a call from Golden Knights general manager George McPhee asking if he’d come into the team’s practice facility for a meeting.
Pretty odd time for a meeting.
Hunt is college educated with a degree in business administration and an entrepreneurship in small business, so this is no idiot.
“I was like, Well, that can’t be good,” Hunt said, laughing.
Hunt dropped his wife off at their house, drove five minutes to the rink and sat down with McPhee, who classily informed Hunt face-to-face rather than by phone that he had been traded.
“It was really cool,” Hunt said. “George and (assistant GM) Kelly McCrimmon both were so great with me for two years. They’re two stand-up, fantastic guys and I’m really proud to say that I played for them. So, they sat me down, they said, ‘We’re going to trade you to the Minnesota Wild.’”
Hunt instantly experienced the typical emotions one does when traded from a place he loves.
“You’re going to miss the guys, the bond that you’ve built with the guys in the dressing room,” Hunt said. “You’re going to miss the city, the team, everything.”
But reality set in the second he called his wife.
First, Katie’s pregnant, due April 7 with their first child — a boy. She hails from Grand Rapids, Minn., so she was “super excited” that she’ll get to move closer to her parents, Mark and Polly Sheppard.
Second, Hunt knows Minnesota well.
The British Columbia native was recruited by and played four years for Tom Serratore at Bemidji State.
One of the top-scoring defensemen in Beavers history, he helped lead the school to a pair of NCAA tournaments, including a shocking run to the Frozen Four in 2009.
“I’d never been to Minnesota before, so I asked to go on a fly down,” Hunt said. “Never knew anything about it, never heard of Bemidji and I remember the very first thing I saw was the ice houses on the lake and I was like what the heck? I had no idea that was a thing. I was just super excited about it and got home and called Tom and said, ‘Yeah, I’m in.’
“I was really fortunate to come there and basically right from Day One I was in the lineup and became a big part of the team and it propelled my career.”
Third, Hunt is going to a Wild team that plans to play him.
Seriously, it sounds like Hunt’s going from press-box fixture in Vegas to on the ice in Minnesota.
As Vegas’ eighth defenseman, Hunt sometimes wouldn’t even get in the lineup if somebody was hurt. Jon Merrill was first in line for that duty, so Hunt only played 13 games this season and not since Jan. 4.
The Wild, however, have been looking for a short-term solution on the blueline since Matt Dumba tore his right pectoral muscle in late December.
They have tried Matt Bartkowski, Ryan Murphy and Louie Belpedio. They believe Belpedio has a future with the Wild, but down the stretch, they wanted a veteran, not a youngster in that spot.
GM Paul Fenton, the Predators’ former assistant GM, knows Hunt from the player’s one season with Nashville in 2016-17. So Fenton made the move for the left-shot offensive defenseman who has shown an ability to play the right side when necessary and who played the right side a lot in college.
The Wild’s power play is 4 for 39 in 17 games since Dumba’s injury, so Hunt is not only expected to step right into the Wild’s lineup, he even will get power-play duty. It’s not yet clear if he’ll play the left side or right side though. Left-shot defenseman Jonas Brodin did practice on the right Tuesday and coach Bruce Boudreau wants to meet with Hunt to decide where he’s most comfortable.
“He’s a terrific human being, a really good hockey player and hasn’t been playing much here, so it was time to give him an opportunity elsewhere,” McPhee said of Hunt. “He’s just a fantastic person and someone we all think the world of, but he’s only played 13 games and expressed some concern about his future and whether he can get a contract next year.
“Minnesota is a good spot for him. He had mentioned that if he was going to go to the same situation where he wasn’t playing much, he’d rather stay here, but I think he’s going to get a chance to play a lot here.”
Hunt, after meeting with McPhee and McCrimmon, packed up his equipment, grabbed a bunch of sticks and sprinted home.
“You’re just waiting to say, ‘OK, when am I leaving?’” Hunt said. “Especially with the break so close, I wasn’t too sure if I was gonna come to here or what not. But I talked to Paul Fenton last night. Had a great relationship with him in Nashville. Have a lot of respect for him and he said, ‘Hey, listen. We’re going to get you on a plane. You’re going to meet us in Colorado and we’ll go from there.’ So it’s just one of those things, come here into open arms, open mind and then just go from there.”
Hunt quickly packed.
“I filled up a suitcase with everything I could,” he said. “I was basically standing on my suitcase to make sure everything fit. Just throw the essentials in that you’re going to need and go from there. I’m not a big, huge suit guy, so I brought two pairs of pants and two suit jackets. Something you just basically cram in your suitcase and if it gets wrinkled, I’ll shake it out.
“Not sure how I’ll get the furniture. We rented a house, but we own the furniture. So that’s a little bit tricky, the logistics of where to get everything to and when to do it. But that will come with time and after the break I’m sure we’ll get more of an understanding of where we’re staying and stuff like that. The Wild have already been fantastic with me with travel plans and all that kind of stuff, making sure I’m up to date with everything so it’s been a fantastic experience so far.”
Hunt got a fast night’s sleep, hustled to the airport, basically had to beg a United baggage handler to let him check four sticks, not the apparent maximum of two, and walked to the gate to begin the large task of texting and saying goodbye to teammates and friends.
“When you play in so many places, sometimes it’s easy to forget the friends and bonds you’ve made, like everyone becomes like one almost,” Hunt said. “So I just wanted to say goodbye to a lot of the cool people I’ve met here.”
Hunt also discovered rapidly that he was being traded to a hockey market.
That flight to Denver included several Wild fans making the Vegas-Colorado road trip. A couple tiptoed over to Hunt to welcome him to the Wild.
“I can’t believe they knew who I was,” Hunt said, laughing.
The flight to Denver was delayed by a half-hour because of an air traffic control slowdown into Denver. That was just long enough that Hunt would actually end up missing practice. The Wild got on the DU ice early, so Heydt texted Hunt that he didn’t have to bother coming out to the college rink.
Hunt was disappointed.
“I was looking forward to today,” Hunt said. “Obviously just to get the new gloves, the new pants on, the different colors. It’s going to be fun. But that’s all right. I’ll get to go to morning skate tomorrow and break everything in.”
Even though he didn’t practice, Boudreau indicated Hunt will debut against the Avalanche.
Boudreau called his longtime pal John Anderson, the former Wild assistant coach who used to coach Hunt on the Chicago Wolves. Anderson gave Boudreau raving reviews of Hunt the player and the person, and with the Wild’s power play a dumpster fire right now, Boudreau figures the mobile, big-shot Hunt can only help.
“Vegas did a great job with me making sure I was in shape and keeping up game-like scenarios in practice and stuff,” Hunt said. “I’ve been in the position before where I haven’t played in a long time and kind of stepped right back in. So it’s something that I’m used to, and I think it’s just part of being a professional is you always got to make sure you’re on your toes and ready to go.”
Hunt received word in the car downtown that he’ll get to wear his longtime childhood number, 77. After arriving at the hotel, Hunt pulled his sneakers out of his equipment bag so he could head to the gym “and get a sweat going.”
“I’m just super excited about this new chapter,” he said. “It’s going to be cool to be back in Minnesota. It’s a fresh beginning. I’m obviously going to miss the guys and miss Vegas with how they treated me, but I’m excited for a new beginning.
“It’s kind of perfect timing with the All-Star break and bye week coming up. I get to come here for the game and reset and almost a fresh beginning after the break there.”
On Thursday morning, Hunt will fly from Denver back to Las Vegas to meet up with his wife.
They will then fly to Vancouver.
In the offseason, the couple lives in the small ocean town of Point Roberts, Washington.
“It’s kind of a unique spot,” Hunt said. “You actually have to go in through Canada and it’s a little peninsula by itself. A town of maybe 1,000 people. We would go for dinner there every once in awhile and we one day decided to take a drive and found these lots were for sale so we decided to buy a lot.
“It’s on a bluff overlooking the water, and we just fell in love with the place. It’s super quiet in the summer, so it’s a nice place to go and relax.”
“Well,” Hunt said, with a big smile, “I’m going back there during the break to build my baby’s nursery.”
Hunt, undrafted in the NHL, stands 5-foot-9, 187 pounds. Similarly-statured defenseman Jared Spurgeon debuted for the Wild while Hunt was in college.
When Spurgeon made a tremendous play to set up Charlie Coyle’s winner against Vegas on Monday night, Hunt, coincidentally, had flashbacks to how much he once idolized Spurgeon.
Two hours later, they became teammates.
“I always looked up to him,” Hunt said. “I think of what he’s done. He’s a fantastic player and I’ve heard a lot of great things about him. So I’m excited to be on his team and to watch him at practice and to learn from him. He’s such a smart player and he learned how to play being a smaller guy. It was nice for myself being a smaller guy to watch a guy like him and know that you can play in the NHL. It gave me a lot of confidence.
“In college I relied on my offensive ability versus my defensive ability. When I got to pro it really forced me to work on my defensive game. So I think that’s a thing where I prided myself on this. I still have the offensive ability but my defensive game has gotten a lot better since I’ve been pro.”
Boudreau noted Tuesday that Hunt has seven points in 13 games this season.
“That’s more than our bottom-three (defensemen) have combined. It’s a worthwhile gamble,” Boudreau said.
Like the undrafted Prosser, it’s impressive the career Hunt has carved largely for just being a good guy to have in the locker room.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Hunt said. “Obviously when you’re a kid you dream of being in the NHL and wanting to do this as a job. Not necessarily, I don’t even look at it as a job, just something to get paid to do something that you love. I’m really blessed and fortunate to be able to do this.
“I was never really the best player. I was a good player, but I never thought I’d … I thought I’d maybe play junior and that’s about it. And then to get the scholarship and to get my schooling all done and play four years at Bemidji and then to go through the pro ranks, and now be on the Minnesota Wild?
“It’s been a wonderful experience.”
The car was getting closer to the Wild’s team hotel.
Hunt looked down at his phone to return a couple more texts.
He talked a little more about Vegas, about how amazing it was to be part of their inaugural season last year, to take that Cinderella run all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
“You know what?” Hunt said, smiling. “Remember, I was on Nashville when we went to Final, too. Two years in a row in the Final. Hoping for No. 3 here.”
Post #: 815
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/23/2019 4:33:59 PM   
kevinemmer


Posts: 3976
Joined: 7/16/2007
From: Bozeman, MT
Status: offline
Hoping he can learn some tricks from Spurg and help us out.

Welcome to Minny, Mr Hunt!

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O-Line or bust.
Fix it Spielman!!
Post #: 816
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/23/2019 10:03:22 PM   
kgdabom

 

Posts: 20374
Joined: 7/29/2007
Status: offline
Wild leading the Avalanche 3-2 late in the second. Get another win here and we are sitting OK.

_____________________________

"So let it be written.
So let it be done."
Post #: 817
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/24/2019 6:51:59 AM   
SoMnFan


Posts: 84318
Status: offline
THAT is the Wild team that can win it all.
THAT was the type of team we can be.
THAT is why they frustrate us so.

One of the most dominating regular season performances ever, imo.
The frustration level they put the Avs thru in the third period was a thing of beauty.
We didn't even need a goalie.
THAT is the team we need to see more of.
Post #: 818
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/24/2019 6:55:54 AM   
SoMnFan


Posts: 84318
Status: offline
Answered every cheap shot, every challenge, every threat, with bigger and better threats and fight back, and finish.
Colorado has quickly become a team of HACKS.
And we weren't having any of it. Every guy said enough.
Seelers commitment to blocking shots was epic. And it looked like the new guys wanted in, badly.
Hunt gets shit done. Rask is usable. Hell, even Aberg showed some fight late.
Tons of things to be happy about going into the break.
Saved my Dallas trip next weekend. Excited to go, now.
Post #: 819
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/24/2019 8:20:42 AM   
TJSweens


Posts: 29157
Joined: 7/16/2007
Status: online
quote:

ORIGINAL: SoMnFan

Answered every cheap shot, every challenge, every threat, with bigger and better threats and fight back, and finish.
Colorado has quickly become a team of HACKS.
And we weren't having any of it. Every guy said enough.
Seeler's commitment to blocking shots was epic. And it looked like the new guys wanted in, badly.
Hunt gets shit done. Rask is usable. Hell, even Aberg showed some fight late.
Tons of things to be happy about going into the break.
Saved my Dallas trip next weekend. Excited to go, now.


Different positions, but Seeler's shot blocking during that second period PK took me all the way back to Tim Young, on the North Stars, killing penalties. Drop down and take a blast off the shin pads, drag yourself up and hobble over to the next shooting lane, drop down and take another one, crawl to the bench, walk it off in the runway, get back out there in time for your next shift and take another one off the shins.

Hunt? I'm just hoping he is one of those guys who just needed the right opportunity. He's mobile and smart like another undersized defenseman we know.

< Message edited by TJSweens -- 1/24/2019 8:23:35 AM >


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Baseball must be a wonderful game to survive the fools who run it. - Harold Kaese
Post #: 820
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/24/2019 8:35:20 AM   
SoMnFan


Posts: 84318
Status: offline
Loved Spurg and Suter passing it back and forth BELOW THE DOTS

I've never seen a guy so in tune to when to jump up in the play.
When you see him go, it's almost automatic.
He's either going to bury that quick little wrister, or ting one off the crossbar.
When he jumps up, good things happen for us. You can feel the entire 5 on the ice sense it.

I've realized that Dubnyk is like a great ref.
Post #: 821
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/24/2019 10:40:55 AM   
SoMnFan


Posts: 84318
Status: offline
Jeff will love this one ...
This weeks power rankings. (featuring every teams all time All-Star highlights)



15. Minnesota Wild

Previous ranking: 17

Marian Gaborik wins fastest skater in 2003. Once called a "Maserati on the Autobahn" by Sports Illustrated, the Wild winger won the speedskating event at the All-Star Game in Sunrise, Florida. He later won All-Star Game MVP in 2012 as a member of the Rangers. Honorable mention: defenseman Filip Kuba getting the only All-Star Game selection of his career (333 points in 836 games) because the Wild hosted the 2004 event.
Post #: 822
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/24/2019 11:17:58 AM   
Lynn G.


Posts: 29325
Joined: 7/15/2007
Status: offline
It was a fun game worth staying up for. I even wore my Wild hoodie to a 7:30 a.m. meeting this morning (mostly because it was friggin cold out and I wanted a toasty warm hoodie with a turtleneck on when I left the house at 6:45).

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What's up with that bootheel, Missouri?
Post #: 823
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/24/2019 11:26:43 AM   
MDK


Posts: 5778
Status: offline
Lynn
The cold is just beginning. Looks like over a week of frigid weather.

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The Mauer era is over. The Mauer haters are happy. The Mauer lovers are sad. And those in the middle........Que Será, Será

MARA!!!!! Buy your rakes now and get to work.
Post #: 824
RE: Wild 2018/2019 Season - 1/24/2019 11:30:45 AM   
Lynn G.


Posts: 29325
Joined: 7/15/2007
Status: offline
Yeah - we were due for some frigid stuff. So far this winter has been very mild and you don't really appreciate that until negative temperatures hit.

I always say that we really only have two tough months to deal with every winter - January and February. So this cold front is right on schedule.

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What's up with that bootheel, Missouri?
Post #: 825
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