THE WILD WIRE - BLOG #13Jan 1, 2018
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Pop the champagne (or whatever your adult beverage of choice might be / pending your of age, of course) and celebrate 2018 with the Iowa Wild at noon today!
Or, in the case of some, take some Advil (free endorsement) and drink some H2O…we’ve got a hockey game today at Wells Fargo Arena.
Seriously though, Happy New Year, Wild fans. Here’s to hoping 2018 equals a playoff berth for Iowa Wild.
In case you were curious, the Wild won 37 games in the 2017 calendar year, 22 last season and 15 more this season. Not too shabby….
The line of Gerry Mayhew (LW), Justin Kloos (C) and Sam Anas (RW) had an outstanding month of December. Collectively, the group played as a trio starting December 9 vs. San Diego. It was a line formed out of circumstance, but the group immediately clicked.
In their first three games together, they potted four, even-strength goals. The offensive output hasn’t slowed down since then. Neither has the trio’s ability to spend time in the offensive zone, draw penalties and spark the club with their energetic approach.
Take for example the December 22 game vs. Grand Rapids, the final game before the “holiday break,” where the Wild’s two tallies looked like this:
- Anas from Kloos and Mayhew – 6:08 into the 1st period – Wild take a 1-0 lead
- Kloos from (defenseman) Alex Grant and Mayhew – 14:47 into the 3rd period – Wild take a 2-1 lead
Each of the three players is listed at no taller than 5’10” and no heavier than 175 lbs. Crazy, right?!? But Mayhew, Kloos and Anas all compete like heck, and they’re the only line to remain completely intact (at the start of each game at least) since that home game against the Gulls.
If they can keep their chemistry rolling, they could help provide the Wild with the scoring balance needed to stay in the playoff hunt.
SAM THE MAN
Speaking of Anas, the second-year pro saw his franchise-record, 10-game point streak halted in the final game of December (a 5-3 win at Rockford).
From December 5-28, Anas racked up 14 points (8g, 6a), including a six-game goal scoring streak, which matched teammate Colton Beck’s scorching-hot streak from earlier this season (a franchise record as well).
Entering play on December 30, Anas ranked 11th in the entire league with those 14 points. He went scoreless in a pair of games to kick off the month, then went 10 straight with at least a point before getting blanked, as I stated earlier, the other night in Rockford.
NHL veteran Zach Parise played for the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena on December 28 as a step on his road to recovery from back surgery in late October. It was certainly a cool moment for the organization, as it’s not every day that a guy with more than 300 NHL goals (and still in the prime of his career, I might add) suits up in the AHL. It was Parise’s idea to set out on a conditioning stint “in the minors” and he was determined to make the most of it.
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The 33-year-old arrived the night before the home game and handled the situation with a ton of grace and character. He spoke to the media multiple times the day of the game and didn’t hesitate to sign autographs and meet with fans. Everything I’d heard about Parise was that he’s a class act and he certainly lived up to that billing in my limited interaction with him.
The hockey world is filled is with great people and most times, you’ll find the players themselves are no exception. Time after time in this business I’ve watched guys beat the snot out of each other for 60 minutes and then they’ll make some young kid’s night by posing for a photo or signing a puck. It’s the little things in sports that can mean the most, both on and off the ice. And generally speaking, hockey players just seem to get “it.”
So a stick tap to Zach and good luck in the path back to helping Minnesota in its quest for the Stanley Cup!
- Wild Joe Radio