Why does summer have to be so long? What’s up with these 90-degree days? Why aren’t these kids in school?
If you’ve found yourself asking any of these questions lately, fret not - It’s Hockey season again! We’re here with your 2018-2019 season preview!
It Should be a Wild Season…
Whew. It was a rough one last year for the Wild. We ended with a 45-26-11 record finishing third in our division, 11th overall, and we were once again knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.
One breath of fresh air Wild fans have to look forward to is the 5-year commitment of Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba. Dumba was a solid defenseman with a more than dignified offensive record for the Wild last season.
This exciting yet very expensive decision was made in part by newly appointed general manager Paul Fenton. Felton was hired in May with 35 years of experience and looks to be a great addition to the Wild staff.
The Old, The New, and the No Longer Injured
After the return of local hometown hero Matt Cullen last year, the Wild continue to pad their - well, pads - with veteran help from fellow SCSU alum Matt Hendricks. This will be Hendricks’ 18th NHL season and first time in a Wild sweater.
After a poor attendance last year, Minnesota native and unofficial state prince Zach Parise has some ground to make up this season. Back surgery and broken sternums aside, Parise played only 42 games last season. As they say, it ain’t easy being Parise, but for our sake, we hope it’s at least a bit easier this year.
Guarding the Goal, Leading the Helm, and Holding the Clipboard
Our fearless leader since the 2009 season remains “Capfinn” Mikko Koivu, while a Canadian giraffe will again guard our goal. Dubnyk finished last season with a less than favorable 35-16-0-7 record, but he can still hold his already very high head with a career .917 save percentage.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau holds the clipboard again this year with eight division titles under his belt, but fans can’t help but think of his lack of playoff experience. Boudreau has managed to get past the second round of the NHL playoffs only once in his career.
Wild Fans “Flood the Rink”
If you want a free preview of the season, stop by the Xcel on Saturday, September 15th, as the Wild host their annual open practice. Fans are welcomed to bring local pond, lake, or rink water to add to the Xcel Energy Center ice for the second “Flood the Rink” event. The zamboni will be outside gate 1 from 6 AM to 3 PM to collect contributions from all over the State of Hockey. Single game tickets for the 2018-2019 season go on sale at 8:30 AM and the open practice begins at 9 AM.
The Wild begin preseason games on September 17th versus the Winnipeg Jets and our home opener will take place October 6th versus the Vegas Golden Knights.
St. Cloud State Huskies
The Huskies’ offseason got off to an interesting start. After 13 seasons, head coach Bob Motzko decided to head to (supposedly) greener pastures at the University of Minnesota, taking his longtime assistant and fellow Husky alum Garrett Raboin with him.
Brett Larson is now at the Husky helm and has two national championships under his belt as an assistant at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Which is two more than Motzko.
Even though the Huskies lost a few upperclassmen to the pros, Jimmy Schuldt is back for his senior year to anchor a solid defensive crew. Plus, the Poehling brothers have another year of experience, so expect some great offense out of those three.
The NCHC is tough every year (#bestconference), but we think they’ll head to another conference championship game and make the NCAA playoffs. The SCSU Huskies begin their 2018-2019 season on October 7th against the Mount Royal University Cougars.
As always, you can celebrate every extraordinary goal, jeer each missed call, recap every exciting win and wallow in every loss with us. We will be showing all Huskies and Wild games as well as your other favorite NHL and college hockey games at Blue Line.