"Koivu has a lot of skill that is needed on the power play. He has size and uses it well to protect the puck. He is also an elite play maker and makes passes that he shouldn't."
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We release two Minnesota Sports Ramble blogs a week, one on Tuesday (Minnesota Vikings related), one on Wednesday (Minnesota Wild related), and one on Thursday (Minnesota Timberwolves related).
In our latest edition, which is in our classic "Ramble style" bullet-point format, Wild analyst Peter Ripka and Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland discuss the Wild's recent winning streak, Koivu on the power play, Granlund trending up, and Suter being Suter.
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The Wild are on something of a hot streak, having won three games in a row. What is going right? It's pretty simple: move the puck, move yourself. That is the biggest difference. Of course, they are also still getting amazing goal tending. Even Stalock is playing his heart out. Hopefully we won't hit a slump around December like we always do. Considering that we're a year older and a little bit slower, I wouldn't rule it out.
Speaking of old and slow...
The Wild still seem to be starting games off slowly. I'm not sure there's anything they can do about it, as for some reason they just seem disconnected at the start of games. However, it's nothing like the max-deal-guy-across-the-river disconnected. It just takes them a bit to start connecting on their passes and skating. Unless this changes, they'll have trouble making the playoffs in an improving Western Division.
Power players gonna power play
Mikko Koivu has the most power play time of any Wild player. Considering that he’s kind of slow and hasn't always been known for his power play skill, the Wild have been criticized for this.
I disagree. Koivu has a lot of skill that is needed on the power play. He has size and uses it well to protect the puck. He is also an elite play maker and makes passes that he shouldn't.
The best thing they did this year in regards to the power play was splitting him and Granlund up. They are both play makers, and too many play makers on a power play results in too much passing on the outside.
He's back! For now, at least.
Mikael Granlund got the overtime game winner against the Lightening. In general, he has been playing a lot better the last week or so. His line with Praise and Koivu has been the best, most consistent line in the last week and change. Is he back? That's tough to say. It's hard to take small sample sizes of play and determine if it is a trend. We'll revisit this in a few weeks.
Suter is Suter
Ryan Suter got the go-ahead goal against the Dallas Stars. Of course, it was in Dallas where he received his season-ending injury last year. As such, it was pretty sweet to see him get the game-winner at the place that took him out.
In general, so far this year Suter has been Suter. He is still a little sluggish with his foot speed, which has comprised his gap control at times, but he seems to be reading plays well now and making the right smart play.
Peter Ripka is the original Rambling On podcast co-host and has been a contributor since its inception. He’s currently the Wild analyst, a position he’s held for several years. A Wild and Twins season ticket holder, his writing combines the passion of a fan and the insight of a beat writer.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. Founder of Rambling On, he has written hundreds of articles and hosted almost a hundred podcasts. He also directs all of the content on Rambling On, created and maintains the website, and is social media content director. Previously, he was Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music by visiting his music page or buying his music on BandCamp, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.