Zach Parise’s style of play as a hockey player invites punishment. He fights and scratches and claws for every inch on the ice. Read More
St. Louis didn’t just outscore the Wild in last April’s playoffs. The Blues were more physical, too. Their big, strong defensemen dominated corner battles and controlled chaos in front of the net, making things easier for red-hot goaltender Jake Allen.
After that first-round exit, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher turned an eye toward adding size and toughness when he made roster changes. Read More
Last year, when the Wild was adapting to the leadership of new coach Bruce Boudreau, the team finished with the best regular season in its history. Despite a franchise-record 106 points and 49 victories, a first-round playoff loss to St. Louis made for an abrupt and unsatisfying end to the season — and a long wait for the chance to try for a better conclusion. Most of the key players are back, and they have the benefit of familiarity with Boudreau’s systems and style. The cutthroat Central Division, though, leaves little room for error. Here are five elements that will be critical for the Wild to replicate — or surpass — last season’s performance.
1. Getting reliable production from its backup goaltenders. Read More