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From the Branches: Into the wilderness

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The Wild are good this season?

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday night the Minnesota Wild are in Toronto to show what they’ve got under new coach Bruce Boudreau. They’re currently holding down third place in the Central division, and with their up and down season, it’ll be interesting to see if they manage to keep it. I thought I’d do a little advanced scouting and tell you where the Wild are right now.

Minnesota News

Koivu scores winner, Wild top Oilers 2-1 in overtime | Fox Sports
Last night, the Wild beat Edmonton.

Oilers lose goaltending duel to Wild in OT | CBC
Edmonton called it a goaltending duel, but Mikko Koivu is apparently thriving under Boudreau.

Offense Trending in the Right Direction | Gone Puck Wild
"After starting off the month of November scoring just 12 goals in 9 games (an average of just 1.33 goals per game), the team rebounded to end the month. In their past 4 games, the same cast of characters has scored 16 goals, or 4 more than they did in the almost double the amount of games."

Chicago Wolves beat Iowa Wild 4-2 | Hockey Wilderness
In case you're curious, this is how the farm team is doing.

Former Bulldog Alex Stalock a net gain for Wild organization | Duluth News
"After spending three seasons in the NHL as the San Jose Sharks backup goaltender, the 29-year-old Stalock finds himself back in the minor leagues playing for the Minnesota Wild’s top American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Wild."

The Wild's season, in PDO | Hockey Wilderness
"As you can see the Wild started cold and then thanks to Devan ‘Carey Price’ Dubynk, the PDO skyrocketed and has steadily been regressing towards the mean of 1. This helps to explain how the Wild exploded against Pittsburgh and how they fell apart against Vancouver."

How does the population of this godforsaken cold state grow?

Minnesota To Take In 2,500 Refugees Next Year | Minnesota CBS
"A division of the U.S. State Department recently told Minnesota officials that the state will be allowed to take in 2,505 refugees for resettlement during federal fiscal year 2017. That’s roughly in line with recent years."

BTW, I'm totally addicted to "Becoming Wild," the Minnesota equivalent of Leafs Blueprint. It has loving montages of hockey players working out, and even visits them in their home countries (which is seriously just an excuse for the Becoming Wild people to travel to Europe). Here's one to wet your appetite.

Other Hockey News

We just give players to the Habs now? | Katya
"While hearts started pounding over the news tucked away on the AHL transactions page that Antoine Bibeau had been called up to the Leafs, another thing went unnoticed."

Josh Manson is the hero we need right now | PPP fanpost by Amjad
"The order of the best defensemen according to corsi-for percentage were Jake Muzzin, Drew Doughty, Brayden McNabb, Anton Stralman, and Josh Manson was fifth. Out of these top-5 the only player that Toronto would be able to get in a trade would be Manson because the other 4 are too valuable to their team as top 2/3 defense-men, whereas Manson is more of a fifth on the Ducks team."

Is Rielly’s Ideal Partner Anyone But Zaitsev? | Editor in Leaf
"The Toronto Maple Leafs have bounced around defensive pairings a lot this year, but the one pair that has had consistency in showing up together may not be the ideal one."

Leafs Q1 Player Grades: Part 2 – Defencemen and Goaltenders | MLHS
"It is hard to disagree with Babcock on the point that Rielly’s defensive game could use improvement."

If only shots were points: Leafs’ playoff odds will improve if they start converting | National Post
‘Young Offenders’ is a good band name: "After their young offence pumped 40 shots at the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, Toronto moved up to third in the NHL in shots per game at 32.6. The only teams better as of Sunday morning were Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins."

Happy Matthews day! (Which is any day ending in Y.)