Kevin (LBC): Josh Harding has allowed six goals in six games, yet somehow does not have a shutout to his credit. His .946 save percentage either indicates that he is a cut above most or that he is due for some regression. How long do you expect him to continue to operate at this level?
Emilie (HW): Harding has always been a decent goalie, and I do think he he’s playing at the level he normally does. I think the biggest thing is the puck possession and shot counts. The Wild have faced the fewest shots in the league. Their possession numbers are out of this world. The team is doing a good job keeping the puck from reaching the goaltenders in the first place. The only thing that isn’t matching up for the team is the scoring.
Kevin: Dany Heatley: What's happening?
Emilie: That’s the million-dollar question. He came in to training camp looking great, and since then has failed to do much of anything. He’s pretty much handcuffed the entire second line, all year. He’s either gotten to the point where he can’t really play anymore, or he just doesn’t care. I’m better on the first option.
Kevin: Which line do you expect big things out of as the season progresses? In a separate but related question, who do you expect to give Tim Thomas the hardest time tonight?
Emilie: The Wild can expect big things out of the top thee lines. The 3rd line has already played beyond what anyone expected, and the first and second lines have the players who should be making big plays. For whatever reason, regardless of getting pucks to the net and crashing the net. As for giving Thomas a hard time, honestly I hope everyone does tonight. The Wild desperately need to win this game so the fanbase stops imploding.
Rob (LBC): How do you feel about handing all of that money to Parise and Suter, then having your owner play a big role in the lockout claiming players are making too much?
Frankly, I ignore Leopold as much as possible. But, I do see his point. The Wild absolutely needed to land at least one of those players to become competitive. Landing both made the team look more attractive to other players. It was a business deal he had to make in order to better the team, increase ticket and merchandise sales, and market the team better. But no one can sit there and say $98 million dollars a player isn’t a lot of money. The market drove the price that high. I’m not defending his role in the lockout by any means, but I do understand where he was coming from in his assessment.
Thanks again to Emilie for playing along. For my answers, or a little background on the Wild, go to Hockey Wilderness. Keep checking back throughout the day for other game refinements, and as always, the GameThread goes live half an hour prior to gametime, tonight at 6:30 PM.