Tag:Eric Belanger
Posted on: October 11, 2008 11:42 pm

Wild impress in season opener

Hey all Wild fans,

Robtangle coming at ya for the 08-09 season of Minnesota Wild hockey. As per my blogs from last year, I'll be giving my two cents on the night's happenings - at least, the games that I can watch. (I still don't get 45...)

Anyhoo, tonight was a good night. The offense looked good, we actually have a power play (shock and awe!), and Niklas Backstrom was fairly solid until the end. The second period was one of the best periods of hockey I've seen the Wild play in some time; if we get more efforts like that, I think this team will have a good shot at repeating as division champs.

Tangle's game puck is awarded to: Eric Belanger. The guy potted the game-tying goal in the first and the eventual game winner in the second. His first goal came from a nice dish from rookie Colton Gillies, and the second from my man, the newly-resigned Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Belanger's linemates - Bouchard and Owen Nolan - look to be a good fit. Secondary props go to the Gillies / Benoit Pouliot / Derek Boogaard line. They looked good for a bunch of enforcers. And how 'bout the Boogeyman getting dishes on two opportunities? I had a good laugh about them, but I want Gillies to take that shot in the event of a closer game. One half of the Dildaphonic Duo is actually getting props from me tonight - Martin Skoula. He blocked a shot that would have been a definite goal, and shut down a lot of Bruins rushes. In other news, Kim Johnsson was his old self.

Tangle's "WTF?" award goes to: Boston goalie Manny Fernandez. I said three years ago that trading Dwayne Roloson instead of Fernandex was the wrong move, and here's an example why - Manny was never good in the clutch, emotionally charged games. Case in point, a season opener. Manny let a soft Marc-Andre Bergeron goal in from the point, and was out of position on a lot of Wild opportunities. Minor burns go to Niklas Backstrom letting in a couple of softies, as well as the Marian Gaborik / James Sheppard / Stephane Veilleux line, which didn't do much. Gopher alum Blake Wheeler also fanned on what would have been an easy goal.

Wild grade (NEW to Robtangle blogs this year!!!): B+. The power play clicked, the new guys all scored at least a point, and aside from Backstrom's late-game letdown and the disappearance of Gabby, the Wild played really well and I am very excited for this season.

Keep your stick on the ice.

~ Robtangle
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com