The Minnesota Wild suffered two tough losses last night. They fell to the Sharks in a shootout, 4-3. While Minnesota now moves 3-points ahead of Calgary, Vancouver and Colorado in the NW, they suffered an additional loss in the game. Defenseman Kurt Foster was badly injured in an ugly touch-up icing play in the 2nd period and was removed on a stretcher. Foster was racing hard to whistle down the puck, and was pushed into the boards by the Sharks' Torrey Mitchell. While Mitchell's push didn't appear malicious, it was enough to force Foster awkwardly into the boards. Foster broke his leg on the play. It was, sadly, yet another example of the need for no-touch icing in the NHL. It's just not worth seeing players carried off the ice in stretchers in exchange for the mild excitement of the race to the puck on an icing play. Frankly, I don't even think those races are all that exciting in the first place, and 9 times out of 10 you can't tell from home which player got to the puck first.
It's time to deep-six touch-up icing now, before any more players are needlessly injured.
Around the ice tonight, the Avalanche visit the Calgary Flames - a team that should be fired up after being shut out by the Blue Jackets on Tuesday. 185 miles away, the Vancouver Canucks will, hopefully, be losing to the Edmonton Oilers. The Oil would reach 81 points with a win, something I'm certainly pulling for. In addition, the Predators host the Red Wings; a win would put the Preds to within 2 of where the Avalanche are now. Needless to say, the Avalanche need a win tonight, preferably in regulation.