I saw this was an “open mic” prompt on Bleacher Report a while ago, and it got me to thinking. Apparently, I didn’t think hard enough or long enough on it, because I forgot about it.
Well, here it is again, I finally got around to it. I’m only going two lines deep, two defensive parings, and two goalies. I chose those numbers because with only seven years under their collective belts, the Wild’s talent pool just isn’t that deep. So, with out any further ado, here it is:
Gaborik- Walz- Brunette
Parrish -Hendrickson- Vorros
Before you start yelling at me, let me back up my selections. My criterion for selecting players was team chemistry. I was looking for the “All Heart Team” so to speak, and I did that because most all Wild teams aren’t put together on skill at all. Here’s a player- by- player breakdown of why they are on the “All Heart Team:”
LW- Marian Gaborik: self-explanatory, he’s been the heart and soul of this team since conception in 2000. The Wild’s first pick in the expansion draft, and was he ever worth it.
LW- Mark Parrish: Okay, so he’s a right wing, but I had to get him on the team somehow. He might not be the best scorer ever (he has a nose for the net though), but I’m not basing on talent like I said. He leads by example, and is a lot like Wes Walz
C- Wes Walz: yes, on talent alone, he isn’t a first line center. In the words of the late great Herb Brooks “we don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone.” I read an article in The Hockey News about a year ago, and they said “Walz will have 50 goals this year; score 20 and prevent 30.” He’s a great two- way forward, him and Parrish.
C- Darby Hendrickson: This is kind of a hat- tip to him. He was a good, not great player, yet will forever go down in Wild history. Hailing from Richfield, Minnesota, he was already a fan favorite. He also scored the first regular season goal in Wild history, in 2000 against the Philadelphia Flyers. He had to get on this team.
RW- Andrew Brunette: A hard nosed, down and dirty player who is a great playmaker. He had great chemistry with Gaborik, not to mention scoring one of the most important goals in wild lore, against the Avs in the 2003 playoffs, game seven. Not to mention, he pretty much destroyed the Wild, playing for those same Avalanche last season.
RW- Aaron Vorros: He plays the game with some kind of energy. If you’re looking for an “energy shift,” he’s your man. My mom calls him a psycho, but I like him. He’s always in the middle of everything, banging the bodies and creating scoring chances; a real catalyst.
D- Willie Mitchell: Probably the best defenseman the Wild have ever had, next to Burns. I still remember in the ’03 playoffs when he played a whole series with a broken jaw, I thought he was the coolest guy ever. He isn’t afraid to muck and grind in the corners ether.
D- Brent Burns: He hits, he scores goals, he makes plays; he’s pretty much superman. One of the NHL’s best young defenseman.
D- Brad Bombidir: He was called “the bomber,” and for good reason. He wasn’t that kind of defenseman who you’d remember for his defensive ability (which in Lemaire’s mind is a one way ticket out of town.) Nonetheless, he had a booming slapshot from the point.
D- Petteri Nummelin: Most people don’t like him, I do. I really think he’s a great skater and a good playmaker, not to mention a versatile asset. He played wing on the powerplay last year, and really impressed me. Not everybody, but hey
G- Manny Fernandez: Really solid, until he signed his new contract the year before we got rid of him. I know he’s been plagued by injuries, but the first couple seasons we had had him, there was no one better
G- Josh Harding: He can be a starter in this league, no doubt. We saw flashes of it last year when Backstrom played badly. He can really step up his game when he wants to, this kid’s a great young talent.
Derek Boogaard: Self- explanatory as well, he’s always ready to stick up for his teammates.
P-M Bouchard: Electric player to watch, he has amazing speed. He also resurrected the Savardian Spin- O- Rama.
Jim Dowd: We couldn’t forget him and his trademark “biker shorts” look, now could we?
Matt Johnson: Pre- Derek Boogaard tough guy built in the same mold
Sergei Krivokrasov: Nothing special, I love his last name though
Richard Park: One of my favorite Wild players, and who could forget his game six goal against the Avalanche in ’03?
Cliff Ronning: Also one of my very favorites. A tireless worker and a great playmaker
And last but certainly not least, Sergi Zholtok: A great player in so many assets of the game. RIP.
So there it is. Agree? Disagree? Don’t hesitate to chime in.