March 21, 2014

steve laidlaw

2014-03-21

First off, I apologize if any of these ramblings come out incoherent. I spent the day reffing elementary basketball, which was mentally and physically draining. Came home to basketball on TV all night too. Thank goodness the Oilers-Sabres game was on… NOT. Seriously, of all the games for TSN to show, how was this the game? Was this their draft lottery preview show?

 

But in all seriousness, I love basketball, especially March Madness so I'm not really complaining. Just making pre-emptive excuses.

 

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Zach Parise skated in New Jersey for the first time in almost two years. He scored a power play marker and landed six shots on goal. He has been hot with nine points in 10 games since the break.

 

Mikael Granlund scored a goal of his own and has nine in the last 10 as well. This pairing is definitely working. A lot of people want to know where exactly Granlund's upside lies. I think he's got a 30-goal, 85-point season in him. It all depends on getting some puck luck and landing in a spot where he has guys to distribute to. I don't know that he gets there with Minnesota as currently constructed. They are a bit too reserved offensively but as we've seen in St. Louis this year that defensive game can eventually lead to offense.

 

What' important is that Granlund has finally grabbed that top power play unit slot, which is what will allow him to explode offensively. It'll be interesting to see if Mikko Koivu grabs the spot back when next season starts and he's back at 100%.

 

The Wild power play has been running just about as effectively with Granlund as it was with Koivu, which is right about middle of the pack – currently 15th in the league at 18.2% – so this could go either way.

 

Ilya Bryzgalov got his second straight start for Minnesota after shutting out the Islanders earlier in the week. This game did not go nearly as well. They really should have known better.

 

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I found Martin Brodeur's comments on Parise returning to New Jersey for the first time very interesting. I'm not much a fan of taking things out of context so I will just post the link.

 

My personal opinion is that Brodeur is headed elsewhere this summer. He's such a fierce competitor that he genuinely believes he can still get the job done. Maybe he can but Cory Schneider is CLEARLY the better goalie in New Jersey so Brodeur is left as the backup. I don't know that New Jersey can justify paying Brodeur the money he deserves as a legend, nor can they promise him much playing time.

 

If Brodeur r