With emotions from Game 4 still running high, I figured the game thread today couldn't be posted too soon.
We saw the Wild's true colors come out on Tuesday, with cheap shots and attempts to injure, multiple misconducts and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. We saw Stephane Veilleux take a flying leap into the back of Paul Stastny's head and more or less embarrass himself all night long with bush league behavior. In a typical show of inconsistency that has plagued them all year, the NHL's disciplinary overlords are apparently not going to punish Veilleux for his grossly illegal and dangerous attack. So be it.
Minnesota has become the State Of Denial as they continue to whine and cry about the Avalanche, specifically Ian Laperriere and Cody McLeod, accusing them of being just too darn annoying, not to mention cowards despite their repeated willingness to fight the perpetrators of crap penalties by the Wild. The Wild faithful are still crying over the "fight" between Lappy and Marian Gaborik at the end of the regular season, a fight started by Gaborik when Lappy had the audacity to yank his stick away. Oh the horror! Poor Gaborik is just so picked on!
A great example of the ridiculous crap pouring from the Wild media faucet is Mike Russo's blog entry from yesterday. He begins by saying:
Regardless, Veilleux was completely out of control last night and needs to tone down the act. He basically had to fight Ian Laperriere because he took a flying leap into Paul Stastny.
So Veilleux had to fight Lappy.
But just two paragraphs later, Russo calls Lappy a coward:
Funny though, Laperriere has never felt he’s had to "back it up" for using a star’s head as a punching bag in the regular-season finale. And I say that knowing Laperriere checks out this blog. Laperriere doesn’t feel he has to fight Boogaard, Fedoruk, Simon or even Voros. He chose Veilleux.
So Veilleux was out of control and clearly the worst-behaved Wild player on the ice, and he had to fight Lappy---but Lappy chose Veilleux instead of taking on one of the other cave men on the team? Which is it?
Score another win for professional journalism.
This from the reporters and fans of one of the dirtiest, roughest teams in the playoffs so far. Anaheim can't even compare this time around. Brian Burke's goon squad better step up their game if they want to maintain their reputation as the baddest boys in the league, because the Wild are giving them a run for their money.
After being proven painfully prescient in game 4, Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post has weighed in again on this series, with another anti-Wild screed that rivals anything I could let loose:
Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire disingenuously suggested there was nothing he could do to stop the classless display of anger and frustration by the Wild.
Any coach should have the authority on his bench to tell his players to take a loss like men, go home with their dignity intact and use the scoreboard to seek vengeance in the next game.
But what do I know? I don't live in the state of hockey, where die-hard Minnesota fans are still sore after the Wild got beat up by Anaheim in the playoffs a year ago.
Indeed. It's one thing to take a previous playoff loss and turn it into a motivator for better, more skilled play (Pittsburgh over Ottawa), but to resort to bush league bullshit just because your feelings got hurt in the past is petty beyond belief. When Jacques Lemaire finally retires, I think Patrick Roy would fit right in as the new Wild head coach.
Tonight the Avs need to continue the play that led them to success in game 4. Start out fast and furious, put a ton of shots on goal, and keep out of trouble. Let Cody McLeod and Lappy continue whatever it is they've been doing to shake up the Wild and let the officials work out the details. Keep Forsberg out of trouble and get the puck to Paul Stastny---he's due for a goal or four at this point. And put Wojtek "FUHQ" Wolski on all four lines, because that kid is money.
I'll update this post throughout the day as news, lineup changes or whatever develops.
UPDATE: Yeah, it's early. Bruce Ciskie continues to prove that he is a joke, and the Fanhouse is weaker for having him on board. The truth is any team in the league would kill to have Ian Laperriere in their lineup, and the more you whine about him, the more clear it is that he's doing his job better than anybody else could.
UPDATE 2: If you hate your sanity, take some time to read the comments to Russo's blog post. It's fun to see Wild fans complain about pests being pests when their team is stocked full of pests and enforcers. Boo f'ing hoo. You'd think they'd already lost the series by the way they're carrying on.
UPDATE 3: Unless the city of Toronto is now in the Pacific time zone, it does not appear that the NHL will be suspending Stephane Veilleux for his blatantly illegal, airborne boarding of Paul Stastny in game 4. I would love to be wrong about this, but with it now almost 5:00 PM Eastern time, the chances of an announcement seem slim.
The game starts at 7:00 PM Mountain time, 9:00 PM Eastern and will air on TSN and Altitude. Let's get the ball rolling early and take this game thread(s) to 500 comments. We can't let Dater's Haters show us up in quantity of posts.