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Vancouver (24-15)
Minnesota (19-19)
Calgary (18-18)
Colorado (14-27)
Edmonton (10-32)

2015 Minnesota Wild Schedule
4/11@ St. Louis
4/9@ Nashville
4/7@ Chicago
4/6 Winnipeg
4/4 Detroit
4/2 New York
3/28 Los Angeles
3/27 Calgary
3/24@ New York
3/23@ Toronto
3/21 St. Louis
3/19 Washington
3/17@ Nashville
3/14@ St. Louis
3/13 Anaheim
3/8 Colorado
3/6@ Carolina
3/5@ Washington
3/3 Ottawa
2/28@ Colorado
2/26@ Nashville
2/24 Edmonton
2/22 Dallas
2/20@ Edmonton
2/18@ Calgary
2/16@ Vancouver
2/14 Carolina
2/12 Florida
2/10@ Winnipeg
2/9 Vancouver
2/7 Colorado
2/3 Chicago
2/1@ Vancouver
1/29@ Calgary
1/27@ Edmonton
1/20@ Detroit
1/19 Columbus
1/15@ Buffalo
1/13@ Pittsburgh
1/11@ Chicago
1/10 Nashville
1/8 Chicago
1/6 San Jose
1/3@ Dallas
1/2 Toronto
12/31@ Columbus
12/29@ Winnipeg
12/27 Winnipeg
12/23 PhiladelphiaL 2-5
12/20 NashvilleL 5-6
12/17 BostonL 2-3
12/16@ ChicagoL 3-5
12/11@ San JoseL 1-2
12/9 New YorkW 5-4
12/5 AnaheimL 4-5
12/3 MontrealW 2-1
11/29 St. LouisL 0-3
11/28@ DallasW 5-4
11/26 Los AngelesL 0-4
11/24@ FloridaW 4-1
11/22@ Tampa BayL 1-2
11/20@ PhiladelphiaW 3-2
11/16 WinnipegW 4-3
11/15@ DallasW 2-1
11/13 BuffaloW 6-3
11/8@ MontrealL 1-4
11/6@ OttawaL 0-3
11/4 PittsburghL 1-4
11/1 DallasW 4-1
10/30 San JoseW 4-0
10/28@ BostonW 4-3
10/27@ New YorkL 4-5
10/25 Tampa BayW 7-2
10/19@ Los AngelesL 1-2
10/17@ AnaheimL 1-2
10/11@ ColoradoW 3-0
10/9 ColoradoW 5-0
10/4 St. LouisW 5-4
10/2@ St. LouisL 1-4
9/29 PittsburghW 4-1
9/27 WinnipegW 4-3
9/25@ PittsburghL 2-3
9/22@ WinnipegL 1-2


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Minnesota Hockey Headlines (Today)

Jets in striking range
12/27/2014 - Jets fans should expect to see Ondrej Pavelec between the pipes tonight as the club takes on the Minnesota Wild and their leading scorer, Zach Parise . HERE'S a look at the Central Division standings as the Jets emerge from a three-day league-wide Christmas break to play the Minnesota Wild this evening in St. Paul, in the first of a home-and-home series.

Stats, stats and more stats (Rotoworld)
12/26/2014 - As the NHL heads into the New Year, Michael Finewax looks at the team leaders in plenty of stats in The Week Ahead.

Fantasy top 30 goalies: Schneider needs time (NHL)
12/25/2014 - Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com's Evan Sporer will provide you with in-depth analysis of goaltenders. From updated weekly top-30 rankings to trending players and more, Sporer will be your go-to guy for advice on fantasy goalies all season long.

Lou to blame for Jersey's faults?; Nash's hat trick; Could Eichel jump McDavid? (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
12/24/2014 - Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

Postgame: Tension, frustration submerging the Wild as it skids into NHL's holiday hiatus
12/24/2014 - Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel.

Backstrom (illness) out vs. Philly
12/24/2014 - Niklas Backstrom , who was supposed to get the start against Philadelphia tonight, is a late scratch due to an illness the Minnesota Wild announced. Darcy Kuemper will get the start versus the Flyers.

Simmonds leads Flyers to 3rd straight win
12/23/2014 - ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- After stumbling briefly, Wayne Simmonds and the Philadelphia Flyers found the right combination to extend their success on the road.

NHL Three Stars: Johnson's hat trick zaps Pens; Gagner blasts past old mates (Puck Daddy)
12/23/2014 -   No. 1 Star: Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning The Tampa forward continued his torrid pace, scoring a hat trick in the Lightning's 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has 37 points in 35 games. It was Johnson’s second hat trick of his career and Tampa’s first win against Pittsburgh since Nov. 17, 2011. No. 2. Star: Sam Gagner, Arizona Coyotes The former Oilers forward scored two goals and added two assists to help the Coyotes sweep their five-game season series with Edmonton. It was just Gagner’s second multi-point game of the season. No. 2 Star: Rick Nash, New York Rangers The winger scored two goals and added one assists to lead the Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals. The win for the Rangers was their seventh straight. Nash’s 22 goals rank second in the NHL behind Stars forward Tyler Seguin.   Honorable Mention: Toronto’s Jonathan Bernier made 43 saves in a 4-0 win over Dallas … Pittsburgh forward Evgeni Malkin notched two assists … Maple Leafs forward James Van Riemsdyk scored one goal and notched two assists … Flyers forward Jakub Voracek notched two assists to pad his NHL lead in scoring. He has eight points in his last three games … New York’s Martin St. Louis scored two goals for the Rangers … Montreal’s Carey Price stopped 37 of 38 Islanders shots on goal in a 3-1 victory … New Jersey’s Cory Schneider stopped 32 of 33 shots on goal in a shootout loss to Carolina … Boston’s Patrice Bergeron notched three assists and forward Brad Marchand scored two goals in a 5-3 win over Nashville … Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov scored one goal and notched two assists … Arizona’s Martin Hanzel picked up three assists against Edmonton … Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly and Jarome Iginla each scored one goal and added an assist in a win over St. Louis … Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault scored two goals in a win over Chicago. Teammate Andrew Ladd notched two assists … Nashville’s Calle Jarnkrok and Taylor Beck each had a goal and an assist … Boston’s Loui Eriksson scored two goals and was a plus-1 … Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist notched three assists in a win over Buffalo … Henrik Zetterbeg and Danny DeKeyser each scored a goal and added an assist for Detroit, who broke a six-game losing streak … Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov played in his first game since Dec. 5 and shut out the Blues with 26 saves. Did You Know?: With the Coyotes’ five-game sweep of the Oilers, approximately 36 percent of Arizona’s 28 points have come at the expense of Edmonton. Dishonorable Mention: Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury was yanked after allowing three Tampa goals on 10 shots on goal … Stars forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin were each a minus-3 … Minnesota’s Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Suter were each a minus-3 for the Wild who have lost four games in a row … Washington’s Braden Holtby stopped 23 of 27 Rangers shots on goal … Chicago’s Corey Crawford allowed three goals on 13 Winnipeg shots on goal before being yanked … Buffalo’s Michal Neuvirth allowed six goals to the Red Wings … Edmonton’s Oscar Klefbom was a minus-3.   MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY  

Today in Philadelphia Flyers history: 'Streak' hits 30, Kerr hat...
12/23/2014 - 'The Streak' reaches 30, Kerr hat trick, late Bullard GWG, Craven penalty shot goal, Hexy's 45 saves salvages draw, Forsberg and Knuble score late goals to top Pens, Gagne's late strike beats Sens, Simmonds pair tames Wild headline December 23 An almost-daily column that takes a look back at how the Philadelphia Flyers have fared on this day, recalling some of the more memorable moments, achievements, and events that shaped the organization throughout the club's storied history After going 1-4-1-0 in their first six games on this day, the Flyers have still managed a 14-10-5-0 overall record -- which includes an 9-3-2-0 mark at home -- in the 29 games played on December 23 over the course of franchise history.

The disaster that is Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (Puck Daddy)
12/23/2014 - Every day at practice, Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett watches Mike Smith work. He sees that goalie whose potential was evident when Smith was a rookie and Tippett was head coach of the Dallas Stars. He sees that goalie who put together a career year in 2011-12, finishing fourth in the Vezina voting and back-stopping the Coyotes to the Western Conference Final. He sees that goalie that the organization rewarded with a 6-year contract worth $5.67 million annually. Then the Coyotes take the ice against an opponent, and he doesn’t see that goalie any longer. Smith has been, statistically, the worst goalie in the NHL this season. There isn’t another netminder that’s faced at least 600 shots that has a save percentage as low as Smith’s .884 or a goals-against average as high as his 3.48 in 23 games. Ditto his .886 save percentage at even strength. In adjusted save percentage – which takes into account quality of chances – only Darcy Kuemper of the Minnesota Wild has a lower one (.887) than Smith (.897) this season at even strength. Smith has given up six or more goals three times. He’s been pulled three times, including twice in the last four games. Against Vancouver on Monday night, he gave up four goals on just 11 shots. He’s been a disaster, the rotten core of a putrid team that’s amassed 26 points in 33 games, 15 out of the last wild card spot in the West. The question is how much blame he should take, and how much his teammates and coach should take. Look, there’s no question this is part of a trend for Smith. His adjusted save percentage from Oct. 2013 until now is .909; from Oct. 2012 until Dec. 23, 2013 (65 games) is was .913; from Oct. 2011 to Dec. 23, 2012 (67 games) it was .933. But we’ve got ourselves a chicken-or-the-egg situation. The Coyotes’ team goals-against average from 2011-2014: 2011-12 2.37 (5 th ) 2012 (lockout season) 2.60 (15 th ) 2013-14 2.73 (18 th ) 2014-15 3.30 (28 th ) As Smith was a product of Tippett's system,  he's also a victim of its demise.  Tippett’s efforts in Arizona have been praised because he made something out of nothing. Typically, that’s meant orchestrating his defensive system with the cards he was dealt during ownership squabbles and bankruptcy hearings and, for a time, NHL control of the team’s payroll.  The 2011-12 Coyotes had a payroll of around $55 million, which was 22nd in the NHL. Last season, the Coyotes had a payroll over $62 million, which was 21st. But something’s happened to the Tippett system. They’ve failed the eye test this season, giving up way too many choice scoring opportunities in their own zone, and leaving Smith out to dry. They’ve also failed in the eyes of their coach, who has harped on a lack of structure as often as he’s expressed frustration with his goaltending. Dependable players like Oliver Ekman-Larsson have been embarrassing for stretches this season. Younger players like Connor Murphy have seemed overmatched. Mike Smith’s been a terrible last line of defense, but he’s not the entire defense for the Coyotes. He’s also an easier target than Tippett or Don Maloney are in the blame game. Mike Smith is overpaid, both in dollars and in term. Mike Smith is overrated, with one stellar season to his credit. And, let’s face it: Mike Smith isn’t exactly well-liked, what with his flopping around like that fish at the end of the Faith No More video every time someone breathes on him, and especially when they’re wearing a Chicago Blackhawks jersey. Tippett and Maloney, by comparison, are bulletproof. They’ve amassed brownie points for sticking with the organization when others would have bolted. They’ve been given credit for guiding this team to contention through all the budgetary restrictions. In Maloney’s case, it’s hard to figure where to place the blame. The 2014-15 Coyotes were not built to win in the Western Conference, where nearly every team added a speedboat while Arizona treaded water. Maloney has said he’s not handcuffed by ownership’s budget, but a $59 million payroll is what it is. Recently, he's said he's waiting for a restructuring of ownership before going forward with re-signing players.  Tippett sticks with Mike Smith out of loyalty and the hope that the goalie he sees in practice may yet become the one he sees in the Coyotes’ games. The fans stick with Tippett and management out of loyalty and the hope that this team will spend money and will improve its personnel and will get back to contention. But the combination of personnel and pathetic goaltending may have those fans hoping for something else come April: the lucky bounce of a lottery ball.

The Wild's poor goaltending is costing them valuable points
12/22/2014 - "With five goals, we should be able to win a hockey game," said Wild captain Mikko Koivu after Saturday's 6-5 overtime loss to Nashville. That defeat marked the third time this season that Minnesota had scored four or more goals and failed to get two points.

With skid mounting, Wild striving for better goaltending, defensive play
12/22/2014 - Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel.

Big week for Gaborik & Kopitar (Rotoworld)
12/22/2014 - Marian Gaborik scored four times while teammate Anze Kopitar picked up six power play assists. There's the difference between playing pp goals and pp points.

Flyers-Wild Preview
12/22/2014 - It's easy to see that the Minnesota Wild's main problem during a three-game slide is defense.

Wild back to full strength for first time since October
12/21/2014 - Minnesota Wild left wing Matt Cooke is held back from fighting during an April 10, 2014, game against the St. Louis Blues at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Cooke was expected to return to the ice Saturday, Dec. 20, against the Nashville Predators for his first game since Oct. 28. Saturday night was the closest the Wild have been to their opening night roster in two months, a streak of misfortune brought about by a combination of injuries, suspensions and, yes, the mumps.

NHL short takes
12/21/2014 - Talented former Star Tribune intern Alex Prewitt, now the Capitals beat writer for the Washington Post, wrote the perfect lede for the Caps' 20-round marathon shootout loss to Florida: By the end, when the dust had settled on NHL's longest shootout ever and the visitors had begun reconciling a loss with the thrill of making history, the boxscore looked like the love note of an overzealous middle-schooler. Iowa GM Jim Mill faced an awkward situation Tuesday when the Baby Wild hosted Rockford.

James Neal Out Tonight Due To Illness
12/20/2014 - Oct 9, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators left winger James Neal during the first period against the Ottawa Senators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports James Neal will not play tonight as the Predators take on the Minnesota Wild due to what seems to be an undisclosed illness.

Giroux-Voracek a dynamic duo (Rotoworld)
12/20/2014 - Big performances by Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, plus several standout efforts from goaltenders lead Sunday's dose.

NHL Three Stars: Philly duo downs Leafs; Bob lifts Blue Jackets over Hawks (Puck Daddy)
12/20/2014 -   No. 1 Star: Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers Scored two goals and added two assists in 7-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. They were Giroux’s first goals in five games. It was his seventh four-point game in his career. Giroux now ranks second in the NHL in scoring – tied with Stars forward Tyler Seguin – behind teammate Jakub Voracek. No. 2 Star: Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers Notched four assists in Philly’s win over Toronto. Three of Voracek’s helpers were primary assists. Voracek was the set-up man on two of Giroux’s goal. His four assists tied a career-high. Philadelphia’s win was the first game of an eight-game roadtrip.   No. 3. Star: Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets Stopped 41 of 43 Chicago shots on goal including six of six on power play shots on goal. Stopped eight of nine Blackhawks in the shootout, including the below move by Chicago shootout ace Patrick Kane. Bobrovsky has not lost in regulation since Nov. 28. Honorable Mention: Colorado’s Jarome Iginla notched three assists in the Avs’ 5-1 win over Buffalo. Teammate Alex Tanguay scored two goals and added one assist … Kings forward Anze Kopitar notched three assists in Los Angeles’ win over Arizona … Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal scored his first goal since Nov. 14 … Kings defenseman Jamie McBain notched two assists … Flyers forward Michael Raffl scored on goal and added one assist … Habs forward Alex Galchenyuk scored one goal and added one assist in Montreal’s 4-1 win over Ottawa … Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty returned with two assists, just two days after a bruising hit by Clayton Stoner … Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin scored an absurd goal in win over New Jersey … Caps goaltender Braden Holtby made 21 saves in his second shutout of the year … Tampa’s Andrei Vasilevsky made 45 saves on 47 Islanders shots on goal in a 3-1 loss to New York … Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby scored his first mump-free goal, and his first score in eight games, in a 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers … The Rangers’ Kevin Klein late third period tally sent New York’s game into overtime against Carolina, an eventual 3-2 shootout win by the Rangers … Chicago’s Patrick Sharp scored a goal and fired seven shots on goal against Columbus … Predators defenseman Shea Weber notched two assists and played 26:43 in Nashville’s 6-5 OT win over MinnesotaMinnesota’s Zach Parise scored two goals and notched one assist in defeat … Wild defenseman Ryan Suter played 31:27 and had two assists against his former team … Vancouver’s Ryan Miller broke a three-game losing skid in a 3-2 overtime win over Calgary … San Jose’s Brent Burns fired the overtime winner for the Sharks in their win over the Blues. It was San Jose’s fifth straight win.   Did You Know?:  With one assist Saturday night (on San Jose’s game-tying goal) Sharks center Joe Thornton moved into a tie with Phil Esposito for 22nd overall on the NHL’s all-time list with 873.   Dishonorable Mention: Buffalo’s Nikita Zadorov was a minus-3 in his team’s loss to the Avalanche …  Arizona’s Devan Dubnyk picked up his third loss of the year, stopping 31 of 35 Los Angeles shots on goal in a 4-1 defeat … Nazim Kadri and Dion Phaneuf were each a minus-4 for the Maple Leafs … New Jersey’s Andy Greene was a minus-3. Devils goaltender Cory Schneider made 17 saves on 20 Washington shots on goal … The St. Louis Blues gave up the game-tying goal at San Jose with 18 seconds left. Then the Sharks won the game in overtime … Montreal’s Carey Price couldn’t field this floater  from Ottawa's Erik Condra.   MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Nashville Predators @ Minnesota Wild Preview: Into The Wilderness
12/20/2014 - The Predators are back in action tonight after a nice little break this week. They take on Ryan Suter and the Minnesota Wild .

Wild: Underachieving or ready to pounce?
12/19/2014 - The characterization of the Minnesota Wild as an underachieving team this season might not be as accurate as the suggestion they are a team hiding in the weeds. As the NHL marches toward the halfway point of the season, the standings show the Wild four points short of the playoffs.

Wild practice: Returning to health
12/19/2014 - Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel.

Ryan Suter skates through pain of father's death, mumps scare (Puck Daddy)
12/19/2014 - Whenever Ryan Suter gets into trouble, he just skates out of it. This is what he has done his entire career, and it’s a fascinating attribute to watch: If an attacking player comes at Suter in his own zone, he slips out, starts to churn his legs and glides away. In some ways, he's the American version of Scott Niedermayer, a two-way slick-skating blueliner who is as strong defensively as he is offensively.  It's an ability that helps him on the ice, as it has since he was a young child learning to play hockey in Madison, Wisc. But as he's discovered this season, he can also skate away from distress and pain off the ice.  While the summer of 2012 was one of Suter’s biggest moments of his career, when he ended up with a 13-year $98 million contract from the Minnesota Wild, the 2014-15 hockey season has been one of the toughest. His father Bob, a 1980 “Miracle on Ice” Olympian died before the year began, on Sept. 9 from a heart attack. Then Ryan Suter contracted the mumps, an illness that was officially announced on Dec. 4.  “After going through earlier in the year with my dad, I feel like nothing can hurt me anymore,” Ryan said. “That is the biggest blow I’ve ever had to deal with in my life. I got along with my dad pretty darn good. We had a pretty good relationship, so that was probably … nothing can faze me after dealing with that.” And through it all, Ryan has simply continued to skate – for almost half a game. He has averaged 29:34 of ice-time through 28 contests. If he endures this pace, it would be the highest of his career. It’s a way to calm down, and just forget about life.  “The more that I’m on the ice, the more comfortable I feel, the more I don’t have to think, the more you just go out and play,” he said. “I think it’s easier to play more minutes. The part that kind of bothers me about it, is having to … I don’t want that to be ‘Ryan Suter played all these minutes.’ I want it to be that he’s a good player.”  When Ryan saw his wife Becky at an informal skate last September at Braemar Arena in Edina, Minnesota, he knew something was off. Immediately Ryan thought there was something wrong with one of his two children. Instead it was more complicated. “She had said (my dad) had a heart attack,” Ryan said. “So I’m thinking, ‘He’ll be in the hospital, we’ll go to Madison and everything is going to be fine.’” But it wasn’t OK. After a phone call with his brother, Ryan knew that life was about to be altered dramatically.  "It’s the worst thing ever, it’s the worst day of my life," Ryan said.   Just 10 days later, he showed up for the first day of training camp, fought back tears and talked about the experience and his father’s wake, which was attended by a reported 4,000 people.   "Leaving is tough," he said. "It was tough to leave. Everyone's probably going to think I'm just so soft. It was tough leaving to come up here because it was close and I knew he loved coming up here to watch games. It sucks. I feel bad for everybody that's gone through it."   And then the season started, and he went back to what he does best – running the Wild’s attack from the blueline and controlling the pace of the game. He then woke up Sunday Nov. 30 after a Nov. 29 loss to the Blues, and felt off. After some tests, it was confirmed that he had the mumps. Becky Suter was pregnant with the couple’s third child – according to the Mayo Clinic, a possible mumps complication is miscarriage early in pregnancy – so Ryan locked himself in a room in their house away from the rest of their family, including his two vaccinated children. If he needed to eat, he put on a surgical mask and Becky would serve him food.  After Ryan finished the contagious period of the virus he scrubbed down the entire room with anti-bacterial wipes. “I wiped down every single part of that room that could have gotten anything on it, Ryan said. “Wiping the fan down, washed all the sheets, so I sterilized the room right away so she didn’t have to deal with it.”  His first game back against the Islanders on Dec. 9, he played 29:08 and notched three assists. Against the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 13, he played 33:07.  Ice-time may not be a sexy Norris Trophy stat, and Suter may have his own issues as being known as the guy who plays forever, but there’s something about putting him on the ice that makes a coach look better. The Wild’s Mike Yeo probably knows that with Suter playing for half a game, that’s 30 minutes where he doesn’t have to worry about his team’s defense. And Suter doesn’t have to worry about anything. It's a win-win for both sides.  “There’s a time to be physical and a time to put a hit on someone,” Suter said. “For me a lot of the time (I spend) is protecting the middle of the ice and playing and using your brain more than your body so you can think the game more and not exert so much energy skating around and chasing guys around. You can think where they’re going to be and anticipate a little bit more.” - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Top 10 most heinous on-ice acts of 2014 (Puck Daddy Year in Review) (Puck Daddy)
12/19/2014 - (Puck Daddy presents its annual look back at the year in hockey. Check back every day through the New Year for our many lists and hot takes.) It hasn't been the busiest year for the NHL's Department of Player Safety, which is good news: It means players are getting it. Alas, as we see in this countdown, many do not. Including some that are one their way to the NHL one day.  Here are the top 10 most heinous on-ice acts of 2014:  10. John Moore’s head-shot on Erik Haula The Rangers defenseman was given a 2-game ban for a hit on Dale Weise on the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Just 12 games later, he was given a 5-gamer for this hit on Erik Haula of the Minnesota Wild that had a little bit of that ‘ol Cooke-on-Savard black magic. 9. Mike Rupp’s head-shot on T.J. Oshie A shoulder to the head on Oshie earned Rupp a 4-game suspension from the NHL, which called it late and too high and totally interference. This incident was memorable for former Minnesota Wild player Wes Walz defending the Wild’s Rupp for the hit, blaming the St. Louis Blues for vowing to send a message to Minny. 8.   Gianluca Curcuruto head-shots Travis Konecny   The Plymouth Whalers defenseman saw an opportunity to lay out Ottawa’s Konecny and took it, nailing the 17-year-old draft prospect in the noggin. The result was a 12-game suspension from the OHL. Watch the hit on the OHL site. 7. Ryan Garbutt gets trippy vs. Winnipeg The Dallas stars pest had a two-fer against the Winnipeg Jets in December, with a straight-legged trip of goalie Michael Hutchinson and then a slew-foot that lifted the 526-pound* Dustin Byfuglien off the ice and then crashing down. He earned a 3-game suspension from the NHL. *Our estimate 6. Matt Cooke goes knee-on-knee with Barrie Matt Cooke had been on his best … well, best for Matt Cooke behavior for a while. Then, in a playoff game against the Colorado Avalanche, he basically did the Captain Morgan pose in going knee-on-knee with Tyson Barrie, taking out the Avs’ No. 2 defenseman. Cooke earned a 7-game suspension and lost the benefit of the doubt. 5. Noah Bushnell elbows Julius Bergman in the head Bushnell skated up to Julius Bergman, raised his arm and elbowed Bergman in the head, earning a 10-game suspension for the Sarnia Sting forward from this September game. ( Watch the video here .) Hey, it’s preseason for dudes who want to elbow other dudes in the head, too… 4. Milan Lucic spears DeKeyser It’s one thing to go tape-to-taint with an opponent. It’s another to do it when he’s got his back turned to you. The Boston Bruins forward was fined $5,000 for this cup-check on Danny DeKeyser of the Detroit Red Wings. Not exactly Milan Lucic’s finest moment, but it would be erased later in the postseason when he threatened to murder most of the Montreal Canadiens. 3. Anthony Stolarz slashes Josh Ho-Sang in the head Windsor’s Josh Ho-Sang gave London Knights goalie Anthony Stolarz a slash at the end of a play in their Memorial Cup playoff game. Stolarz responded by taking his goalie lumber and smacking Ho-Sang in the back of the hear. Inexplicably, outside of “it was Josh Ho-Sang,” Stolarz was only given a 2-minute minor. That was later rectified by the OHL, who gave him an 8-game suspension. Also, Stolarz is a Philadelphia Flyers draft pick. Sometimes the jokes write themselves, folks.  2. Lukas Kaspar throws stick at ref In a KHL game in November, Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk forward Lucas Kaspar was hit with a slap shot. He crumpled to the ice as his opponents controlled the puck. Like, for a while. Kaspar was in ridiculous pain, so he’s thinking this was a serious injury. Yet there was no whistle. So he decided to get a whistle … by hurling his stick like a javelin at the referee. He was kicked out of the game and suspended for five more.  1. Storm Phaneuf, wearing skates, kicks a dude Storm Phaneuf is a goalie for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL. The crease is his domain. The Drummondville Voltigeurs' Dylan Montcalm crashed that crease, and for that was given a goalie interference penalty. At that moment, Phaneuf remembered he was wearing Ginzu knives on his feet, and kicked Montcalm with his skate. Montcalm was injured, but not seriously. Phaneuf was suspended for nine games. But hey, bright side: His was the most heinous on-ice act of 2014. Congrats, or something. MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

All-Mumps vs. All-Stars (Rotoworld)
12/19/2014 - Michael Finewax looks at the players who lead in All-Star voting and those who have the mumps and except for a lack of a goalie, the mumps are better.

Beauchemin says blame Blues, not Ducks, for NHL mumps outbreak (Puck Daddy)
12/19/2014 - The NHL’s mumps ‘Team Zero’ is clear and obvious to Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin. “I tell everybody who said the mumps started in Anaheim, if you look back from where players started missing games the first team that had some kind of the flu was the St. Louis Blues,” Beauchemin said via phone. “They had (a bunch of) guys that had what they called a ‘bacterial infection.’ They probably didn’t know they had the mumps but my guess is that’s probably what they had. Then Minnesota got it then we got it.” Awesome. Keep in mind, there is possibly credence to Beauchemin’s statement. The Blues have been really mumpy … I mean shady about how a bunch of their players had a mysterious bacterial infection on their team before without definitively saying what it was. In fact, they still haven't. There was even some weird drama about the Centers for Disease Control being at Scottrade Center , until the team denied it.  Generally where there's smoke there's fire ... but whatever.  Regardless, if the Blues, or the Ducks or the Minnesota Wild, their players or any other team had any clue about the mumps, a virus that only afflicted 584 people in the United States last year, could the outbreak have been stopped before it even started? “I never really knew what the mumps was until I got them. I never really heard about it,” Beauchemin said.  So far we haven’t seen any Jenny McCarthy/Kristin Cavallari reason as to why a player wouldn’t get a booster vaccine. For example, Wild defenseman and mumps survivor Ryan Suter just went with the hand washing method, which failed. “Everybody got the shots on our team, and I’m like ‘I don’t need to get the shot. I think I’ll be all right. I wash my hands a lot. I’m a clean guy,’” he said. “So everybody got it except for me. And of course, two weeks ago I get the mumps.” But in a league with a players association that has to put visors to a vote, can you really force a player to have a team stick a needle in him? Even if it has a reported 88 percent chance of stopping this illness?   This complicates the matter somewhat.  “I don’t know. Everybody has a different view on that stuff with flu shots or whatever,” Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton said. With the news that Pens defenseman Olli Maatta has the mumps, that brings 16 confirmed, public cases to the NHL.  Adam Larsson said the mumps were the low point in his 22-year-old life. “It came right away for me. My face started growing and the fever came at night. Those four days were probably the worst days in my life so far. It was really bad at one point. I couldn’t eat or anything. I’m glad to be back. I just have to work my energy level up a little bit to where I can play.” Ack, that sounds horrible. The NHLPA responded with the below statement from spokesperson Jonathan Weatherdon via email, when asked if the association had sent out or pushed any measures to lessen the mumps spread.  “The NHL/NHLPA’s joint infection control subcommittee has been following the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations on managing mumps outbreaks. We continue to educate the players on best practices to avoid contracting and spreading mumps.” When asked if mumps vaccines are mandatory, the answer from the PA was that vaccinations were “available, but not mandatory.” In this regard, pressure may have to come internally from other players. Suter, who said he was vaccinated as a child like most players from North America, indicated that he felt remorse for not taking the shot, since it knocked him out and may have infected others. In a lot of ways, it’s no different than a sick co-worker who tries to tough it out, and then infects the entire office. Beauchemin believes others should take the vaccine, simply so they won’t have to go through the pain he felt. “It is everybody’s choice, but I don’t know why you wouldn’t do it,” he said. “You’re better off feeling a little under the weather for a couple of days, than getting a fever putting you down for a couple of weeks.”  - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Maatta's mumps; Foligno on fire; Greatest playoff overtime ever (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
12/19/2014 - Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

Predators-Wild Preview
12/19/2014 - Neither the Nashville Predators nor the Minnesota Wild have been particularly explosive on offense and both have struggled on the power play.

Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr on injured reserve
12/19/2014 - EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Defenseman Robyn Regehr was placed on injured reserve by the Los Angeles Kings on Friday with an upper-body injury.

Comparing the shot differentials of all 30 teams
12/19/2014 - The Minnesota Wild did it again last night - for the 11th time this season, they failed to get two points from a game in which they outshot their opponents, falling 3-2 in overtime to the Bruins despite a 37-25 shots advantage. Only the Edmonton Oilers have lost more games when they've outshot their opponents.

The Puck Stops Here (Rotoworld)
12/18/2014 - Corey Abbott looks at some recent goaltending stories that could be impacting your crease situation.

Pregame: Backstrom starts, Spurgeon returns for the Wild
12/18/2014 - Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel.

Eriksson's OT goal gives Bruins 3-2 win vs. Wild
12/17/2014 - ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Boston Bruins needed a win like this. Well, any win, really.

NHL Three Stars: Anderson, Lehtonen, Svedberg make goalie union proud (Puck Daddy)
12/17/2014 - No. 1 Star: Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators Anderson posted his third shutout of the year and 29th of his career during a 2-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. He turned aside 34 shots to earn his second win in three starts. Kyle Turris scored early in the first period and put the game away with an empty-netter with one second left in the game. Anderson almost got in on the scoring himself with attempt at the empty net late in the game: No. 2 Star: Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars The Stars opened up a three-game western Canada road trip with a 2-0 shutout of the Vancouver Canucks. Colton Sceviour opened the scoring early in the second period and then Antoine Roussel turned off the lights with an empty-netter late in the third period. Lehtonen made 27 saves and recorded his second shutout of the season and 29th of his career. No. 3 Star: Niklas Svedberg, Boston Bruins Loui Eriksson’s goal 1:30 into overtime helped the Boston Bruins beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 and earn their first win in four games. Svedberg was excellent between the pipes, stopping 35 shots for his second win in three starts.   Honorable Mention: According to the AP, Eriksson now has 29 points in 31 career games against the Wild … Via the NHL , only Alex Ovechkin (10) and Steven Stamkos (8) have more overtime goals since 2008-09 than Eriksson (7). Did You Know?  Per Elias: Niklas Svedberg is the first goalie in @NHLBruins history to require OT in 4 of his first 5 career NHL wins (3 OT, 1 shootout). — NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 18, 2014 Dishonorable Mention: New Jersey has dropped five in a row … The Devils failed on all five power play opportunities … Will Brett Sutter be hearing from the Department of Player Safety after this hit on Craig Cunningham? Finally,  via CJZero , this is not how you Dougie (Hamilton): MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY :

Wild-Boston game preview
12/17/2014 - Preview: The Wild, 2-2-1 in its past five at home, opens a four-game homestand. It's not often you get a nationally televised game where both teams played the night before, but that's just what the NHL scheduled here.

Top 10 busts of 2014 (Puck Daddy’s Year in Review) (Puck Daddy)
12/17/2014 - (Puck Daddy presents its annual look back at the year in hockey. Check back every day through the New Year for our many lists and hot takes.)   Many thoughts, ideas and actions underachieved in the year 2014. Whether it was a free agent signing, a leadership experiment, or a country’s dominance over another in international competition – we all enter the new year upset and frustrated at various events that occurred the year before.  Here are the Top-10 events/situations/teams/people/viruses that were the biggest busts of 2014. 10. The flu  Whatever happened to the virus that used to afflict and quarantine NHL players? It has been bumped … by the mumps as the NHL’s ‘it’ problem in 2014 . Both have vaccines, and both aren’t usually life threatening to young, healthy males. But a coach used to just say, “he has the flu” or “he’s sick.” Now we need clarifications on every illness to make sure the CDC hasn’t been called in. Adios flu … you’re donezo.    9. United States v. Canada in the Olympics  When the chips are down and you need to bet on a win in a big international game, don’t go for the United States in hockey over Canada in the Olympics. Ever. While #merica may have World Junior heroes like John Carlson and Seth Jones, the country’s Olympic teams just seem to cave against their Canadian brethren, as happened in Sochi when the US men and women lost to their friendly Tim Hortons drinkin’ neighbors to the North in important games. 8. Dallas Eakins The Edmonton Oilers coach was considered one of the hottest names on the market. He even had the support of superstar Taylor Hall . And he only lasted 113 games, being fired 31 games into the 2014-15 season. Eakins accrued a woeful 36-63-14 record in Edmonton. And you’re not hearing the ‘he’s going to find another job soon’ from anyone about him. His own hubris in some way, added to the calamity that is the Oilers.  7. The dry scape   Oh dry scape, we hardly knew ye. We were told you would make overtime more skating friendly with a better sheet of ice, but you only lasted until mid-November, before the NHL decided you were lame. Good call. The added time between regulation and overtime killed in-game momentum and slowed down the action. 6. Thomas Vanek and Paul Stastny The two ‘goes home’ or ‘goes back to where he played college’ quasi-feel good stories of the summer have been bust during the 2014-15 season. Stastny has just 12 points in 23 games for the St. Louis Blues. Vanek has just 18 points in 29 games for the Minnesota Wild and has made more headlines off ice than on ice . But hey, both have a combined $47.5 million coming to them, so they’ll be OK regardless of mediocre stats. 5. San Jose Sharks ‘massive’ overhaul   In the 2014 offseason, the San Jose Sharks decided to go without a guy with a ‘C’ on his jersey for the upcoming year. But instead of just stripping it from Joe Thornton, giving it to Joe Pavelski and simply saying “we’re giving it to a younger player because he’s younger” they decided to take it from Thornton and go with all alternate captains … until further notice.  This all ended up being pomp and circumstance and caused an unnecessary distraction. Nothing much has changed. The Sharks are still firmly in the playoff hunt, and probably an outside Stanley Cup threat – like they are every year. 4. Russian Olympic men’s hockey There’s always tons of pressure on the hosting country for an Olympics. Russia was no different, especially when your team’s biggest fan is its unquestioned leader. Regardless, Russia didn’t medal, losing to Finland in the quarterfinal. Maybe they should have called in said leader as a ringer. 3. Connor McDavid tanking in Buffalo Before the season, it seemed like a slam-dunk that Buffalo was going to get hockey’s boy wonder. But stop the presses. The Sabres have a comfortable nine-point cushion over the league-worst team, the Carolina Hurricanes. Also, Arizona has just 26 points. Bring Connor to the Sun Belt to save hockey in Glendale! 2. Forensic investigations Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish has looked more like Inspector Clouseau than Sherlock Holmes after he launched his search into finding out the problems behind the constantly underachieving bunch. He has fired coaches , and shopped star players . But ultimately the fault falls on management and ownership. They’re all thick as thieves, so basically nobody is going to be held accountable. And the Oilers will continue to suck. Either way, this ‘investigation’ has come up wrong.  1. A mega-market Stanley Cup Final The dream seemed so real in Game 1, when the Rangers held a 2-0 advantage. Maybe the underdog Rangers indeed had some punch in them. Then Los Angeles did what it always does – win big games.  The Kings came from behind to take Game 1 and never looked back. The Los Angeles/New York big market glory final that we’ve all been waiting for turned into a dud – a five-game win by the Kings and their second Cup in three years.

Parise is Wild's leader on and off the ice - NHL.com
12/17/2014 - NHL.comParise is Wild's leader on and off the iceNHL.comIllness has also hampered Minnesota. At least five players -- all defensemen -- have missed games because of a mumps outbreak that has hit the Wild harder than any other team in the NHL. It's prevented Minnesota from playing with all of its top four .

Wild: Josh Harding still recovering from dehydration episode
12/17/2014 - Josh Harding has yet to return to practice with Iowa teammates since being hospitalized for dehydration after playing two periods in his second game with the Wild's top minor league affiliate on Dec. 6. The dehydration episode was related to multiple sclerosis, with which Harding was diagnosed in Fall 2012. It's unclear whether Harding, who has missed two long stretches the past two seasons because of MS, is close to being able to play.

Short-handed? No problem for Blackhawks in 5-3 victory over the Wild
12/17/2014 - Wild defenseman Marco Scandella is unable to stop Ben Smith from scoring an empty-net goal in the third period. Wild defenseman Marco Scandella is unable to stop Ben Smith from scoring an empty-net goal in the third period.

Five things to watch in Bruins vs. Wild - NHL.com
12/17/2014 - NHL.comFive things to watch in Bruins vs. WildNHL.comBy Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor .

Wild Goaltending is Worse Than You Think, Holding Team Back
12/16/2014 - Nov 28, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Minnesota Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper makes a save on a Dallas Stars shot during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Wild defeated the Stars 5-4 in overtime.

NHL Three Stars: Hat tricks for Galchenyuk, Tarasenko; Bob blanks Red Wings (Puck Daddy)
12/16/2014 - No. 1 Star: Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens The young Hab netted his first career hat trick as Montreal downed the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. All three goals were assisted by Max Pacioretty. Galchenyuk’s opening goal was definitely the prettiest one of the night after some slick passing in the Carolina zone: No. 2 Star: Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues  After Marian Gaborik helped the Los Angeles Kings race out to a 2-0 lead, Tarasenko and Blues answered five times en route to a 5-2 victory. The forward netted his second career hat trick and reached the 20-goal plateau for the second straight season: No. 3 Star: Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets The Detroit Red Wings couldn’t solve Bob as the Blue Jackets grabbed the extra point after a 1-0 shootout win. Bobrovsky made 30 saves for his first shutout of the season and 10th of his career. Boone Jenner and Ryan Johansen scored Columbus’ only goals in the shootout.  Honorable Mention: Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 23 shots and won his NHL debut as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1. Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson scored five minutes apart in the second period to help pace Tampa to their sixth straight win over the Flyers … Four third period goals, including a pair from Phil Kessel, helped the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-2 for their sixth win in a row. Jonathan Bernier made 40 saves for his fourth win in a row. Nazem Kadri had a goal himself in lovely fashion: It took 20 rounds, but Nick Bjugstad finally ended things as the Florida Panthers got by the Washington Capitals 2-1 after a historic shootout … Derek Roy scored the only goal in the shootout and Pekke Rinne made 33 saves as the Nashville Predators defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2 … Mark Scheifele scored twice and assisted on another and Ondrej Pavelec made 27 saves as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-1. Michael Frolik and Evander Kane each chipped in two points … Three points each from Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were enough to survive a Minnesota Wild comeback as the Chicago Blackhawks were 5-3 victors. Annti Raanta made 26 saves and won his fourth straight start. Despite the loss Nino Niederreiter contributed this highlight-reel penalty shot: Rick Nash reached the 20-goal mark with a pair of goals and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 29 shots as the New York Rangers beat the Calgary Flames 5-2 ... Oliver Ekman-Larsson's goal with 0.3 seconds left in overtime helped the Arizona Coyotes snap a nine-game home losing streak and give them a 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers.  Did You Know?  "Toronto improved to 14-0 when scoring first and 13-0 after leading through two periods. The Leafs also haven't lost to Anaheim since Oct. 21, 2008, a 3-2 shootout decision." (AP) Dishonorable Mention: Via the AP, Philadelphia is 2-13-1 against the Lightning since 2010-11 … Detroit has dropped four in a row, while Carolina hasn’t won in six …  LA has dropped five of six. MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Kane's late goal lifts Blackhawks past Wild 5-3
12/16/2014 - CHICAGO (AP) -- The surging Chicago Blackhawks keep on finding ways to win.

Bruins-Wild Preview
12/16/2014 - The Boston Bruins won the Presidents' Trophy last season, finding plenty of success against the Western Conference.

Preview: Wild-Blackhawks
12/16/2014 - CBS 2 Welcome to CBS 2 on CBSChicago.com! CBS 2 is joining forces with the most trusted local CBS RADIO stations in Chicago to give you the best Chicago has to offer as CBS Local.