Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

It's November 20th and the NHL's Top Team is…

Minnesota Wild v. Detroit Red Wings © by jpowers65

The Minnesota Wild!!

What a surprising start for a team that most experts had out of the playoffs this season. So what is going on in Minnesota?

Quietly, Mikko Koivu has become one of the most underrated players in the entire NHL. Not only has he become a superb offensive center, he is also one of the best shutdown centres in the game this year. He’s far and away the team MVP and leading the Wild to this great start. His line with wingers Dany Heatley and Devon Setogucchi has been nothing short of outstanding to start the year.

But thats not all; The Wild are also getting secondary scoring contributions from a unit of Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Cullen, and Pierre Marc-Bouchard.  Their third and fourth lines are playing solid hockey and chipping in the occasional goal as well.

On defence a makeshift unit that lost Brett Burns in the offseason; and now has Marek Zidlicky out injured is performing well above expectations. The Wild have always relied on a contribution from all 5 skaters on the ice in playing their defensive system, and this year is no different.

Lastly in Nick Backstrom and Josh Harding the Wild have very strong goaltending and they clean up any mistakes that might happen up front.

Will the Wild sustain this start? I really can’t see them finishing atop the NHL, or even atop their division… but with the way they are playing, they could continue to surprise and make many of the pre-season prognosticators including yours truly burn those predictions that saw them as a non-playoff team.

…and that is the last word.


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