THE WILD WIRE - #16Feb 4, 2019
WEST COAST CURSE
For whatever reason, the Iowa Wild have a tough time on the West Coast.
Chalk it up to the time zone change, the big and physical style of play from the California-based teams, or the chance to get a sunburn, but any way you slice it, the Pacific Division has not been kind to the Wild.
Since beginning play against the Pacific Division during the 2015-2016 season, the Wild are 1-7-1-0 in the state of California.
Iowa has one more game on this road trip – tomorrow night in San Jose.
And, honestly, I’m really looking forward to seeing the Barracuda first-hand. They’ve been one of the top teams in the league all season long, and numbers-wise, they are defensively stout.
Entering play on Feb. 4, the Barracuda ranked first in team goals against average per game at 2.55.
They’re also an extremely disciplined team as well, ranking second-to-last out of 31 teams in penalty minutes per game.
Currently, the Barracuda sit second in the Western Conference and they lead the Pacific Division with 58 points.
By the way, the teams the Wild played on the California portion of this trip were no slouches. The Bakersfield Condors had won eight straight when the Wild went in there on Friday night (a 4-2 loss) and the San Diego Gulls had points in 18 of their last 20 games prior to hosting the Wild on Saturday (a 4-1 defeat).
NEW FACES IN THE FOLD
Since the final horn sounded in San Diego on Saturday night, the Wild have seen five roster transactions impact their lineup.
First off, wingers Luke Kunin and Kyle Rau were recalled to Minnesota. Kunin has played in 21 games with the big club already this season. Meanwhile, it’s the first call-up of the year for Rau, who has 36 career games played in the NHL, three of them with Minnesota last season.
In addition, three players have joined the AHL ranks.
J.T. Brown, a veteran winger of 344 NHL games, was assigned to Iowa. He hasn’t played in the AHL since the 2013-2014 season. Brown’s tenacity and speed should complement the team well, but I’m not sure where he’ll slot into the lineup at this time.
Also in the fold, Elk River, MN native Nate Prosser, who played two games with Iowa in early November on a conditioning stint. Prosser is a 32-year-old defenseman who should provide some great stability to the team’s blueline, in addition to his presence in the locker room.
Both players cleared NHL waivers this morning, which allowed them to be sent down by Minnesota. Both are expected to be in the lineup in San Jose.
And finally, goaltender C.J. Motte has been recalled from the Allen Americans (ECHL). He’s expected to backup Kaapo Kahkonen tomorrow night. Motte’s services were needed with veteran goaltender Andrew Hammond sidelined with an injury. I’d call Hammond “day-to-day” at this point. Motte earned a win with Iowa back on December 8.
RANKING THE RAPPERS
I’m a big fan of hip-hop/rap music and have been for a long time. So, in honor of being in California, I thought I’d rank my favorite West Coast emcees and hip-hop groups.
(Note: I did google West Coast rappers just to make sure I didn’t confuse where some of these legends come from and to ensure I didn’t leave anyone out).
- Snoop Dogg (one of the greatest to ever spit lyrics)
- Dr. Dre (arguably the best beat-maker of all-time and an absolute giant in the rap industry)
- Jurassic 5 (there was a time in the early 2000s where I listened to a ton of Jurassic 5)
- The Pharcyde (“Bizarre Ride To The Pharcyde” is an absolute classic album)
- Tupac (would rank higher on most people’s lists but I was more of a Biggie fan growing up)
- Nate Dogg (no better compliment on 90s hip-hop/rap than Nate Dogg signing the hook)
- Warren G (he & Nate Dogg crush it on “Regulate” – one of my favorite rap songs of all-time)
- Black Eyed Peas (NOTE: this is pre-Fergie Black Eyed Peas – just their first two albums – trust me)
- MC Hammer (“Can’t Touch This” and “Too Legit To Quit” were huge hits in my middle school days)
- Kendrick Lamar (being old AND old school, I don’t listen to a lot of the more current artists, but I know Kendrick has a huge following and I have streamed some of his tracks)
- Wild Joe Radio