No big secret that I'm not a fan of the Wild. They being the sweethearts of the NHL's class of 2000 and all. (Jackets haven't helped their own cause much, though.) Ugly unis that everybody think look nice, the little run to the playoffs in thier third year, and the never ending stream, "Jacques Lemaire's shit doesn't stink," articles that pour out of the media. The Jackets have had their successes against the Wild, but for every win there's a Wes Walz pants goal that makes you want to punch something wearing a Christmas colored hockey jersey.
Then came today's game...
The Jackets dominated. They out hit, out skated, out worked, out hustled, and out scored the Wild. The Jackets laid a full-on beat down on the cammo and Christmas colored clad warriors from southern Minnesota. Then when the going got tough and Minny tried to climb back into it, they didn't turn to their vaunted speed, or their big play guys, or even the Lemaire Plan we've heard so much about the last 7 years. Nope, the Wild did none of that, instead they attempted to turn the game into a World Cup soccer match. After a couple of the attempts at drawing a penalty, I half expected the stretcher bearer to come out just like FIFA requires.
Honestly, dropping that easy...Boogaard of all players went down like lawn chair in a stiff breeze...is embarrassing to the sport. Sadly, the refs bought into a few of them, including the aforementioned Boogaard double gainer with a twist. Fedorov got to sit for tripping when Wild Player tripped over the net trying to crash between it and Feds. Yup, the Jackets were the beneficiaries of a quick whistle, but Karma's a funny thing...
But then came the ultimate in homerisms out of the good folks in St. Paul. Allow me to run down the three stars from today's game. Keep in mind while reading these that the final score was 4-0 in favor of Columbus.
1. Rick Nash
2. Pascal Leclaire
3. Brian Rolston
Ignoring for a moment that the goalie getting a shut-out isn't the first start...Brian Rolston?? For what?? Leading the Wild in ice time and shots? That's noble, but you GOT SHUT OUT!! It wasn't a 1-0 goaliefest, it was a 4-0 kick in the junk. Peca and Nash had two point afternoons in addition to the big fat goose egg Leclaire pinned on the Wild, and the media in St. Paul saw fit to reward not Peca, but Rolston with a star of the game.
The writers from the State of Hockey just turned the puck over in their defensive end...kind of like the Wild did this afternoon.