Ex-Minnesota Wild forward Brian Rolston retires

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The 40-year-old forward from Flint, Mich., did not play this season after splitting time with the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins in 2011-12. He played for five teams and helped the New Jersey Devils win their first Stanley Cup. As a rookie, he helped the Devils win the Cup in the 1994-95 season. He also played for Colorado and completed his career with 342 goals, 419 assists and 761 points. His top offensive season was 2005-06 with the Wild — 34 goals and 45 assists. That was the first of his three seasons with Minnesota. He ranks fifth in Wild history in goals (96) and points (202). His rate of .40 goals per game is second in franchise annals to Marion Gaborik’s .44, according to hockey-reference.com . Rolston played for the U.S. at three Winter Olympics, two World Cup of Hockey tournaments and one world championship. The Pioneer Press contributed to this report. source: http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_23140500/ex-minnesota-wild-forward-brian-rolston-retires

Top-seeded Blackhawks open playoffs vs. Wild

Chicago also had six defensemen reach double digits in points and it was led by Duncan Keith — the 2009-10 Norris Trophy winner — who had 27 points (3 goals, 24 assists) while leading the team with an average of 24 minutes and 6 seconds of ice time per game. Chicago’s depth at both ends helped the team finish third in the NHL in penalty killing this season, but the club was ranked 19th on the power play. Overall, Chicago was second in the league with 3.10 goals scored per game. The eighth-seeded Wild come into this series as serious underdogs after qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 2008. Minnesota ended its four-year playoff drought after landing a pair of prized free agents last summer, when it signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to identical 13-year, $98 million contracts in July. Parise, who previously spent his entire career as a prominent winger for the New Jersey Devils, led the Wild in both goals (18) and points (38) this season. The 28-year-old Minnesota native is a year removed from helping New Jersey make it to the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, where it lost in six games to Los Angeles. Suter, meanwhile, left former defensive partner Shea Weber behind in Nashville and did just fine outside of the Music City, turning in a campaign that could make him a finalist for the Norris Trophy. His 32 points (4G, 28A) this season more than doubled the output of Jared Spurgeon, who finished next on the Minnesota blue line with 15 points on five goals and 10 assists. Although the addition of Parise and Suter helped improve the Wild, the club is still dogged by depth issues at both ends of the ice. source: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2013/03/05/mighty-blackhawks-take-aim-at-another-record-vs-wild/

NHL Playoff Preview: Who Will Be the Kings This Year?

Here’s a look at the three games making up the playoffs’ opening schedule tonight. Minnesota Wild (8) at Chicago Blackhawks (1) The Backstory: In a sense, Minnesota has already begun its postseason: After some late-season missteps, the Wild faced a series of must-win games just to make it into the playoffs. (You wonder what the bigger motivating factor was: playing a few more games, or the sheer terror of what their rampaging owner was planning to do to them .) As a reward, they earned a date with the Presidents’ Trophy–winning Chicago Blackhawks, who all season have generally been as businesslike and methodical as their captain Jonathan Toews is in one of his standard postgame interviews. ( On the ice, at least .) The Blackhawks have big and mobile defensemen, a quick offense, and a controlling possession game. They finished this season with a plus-53 goal differential. The Wild? Minus-five. The Big Questions: Can Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo succeed in bending time and space in order to put Ryan Suter on the ice for even more than the 32:54 he played in the team’s final regular-season game? How mercifully will the Blackhawks toy with their new little pet Minnesota? How long will Ray Emery be out? If Chicago is surprised early on by the Wild, how will it respond? Any Bad Blood? source: http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/60328/nhl-playoff-preview-who-will-be-the-kings-this-year

Top 10 Stanley Cup Playoff storylines to watch in the 2013 NHL postseason

Can either No. 8 seed follow up what the Kings did in 2012? For the third year in a row, the West’s No. 8 seed will face off against the Presidents’ Trophy-winning team. The Minnesota Wild will have their hands full against the Blackhawks in the opening round, and considering the way they’ve played down the stretch, not many are giving them a chance. Same for the New York Islanders who, despite playing much better heading into the playoffs than the Wild, face a tough task in the top-seeded Penguins. Pittsburgh and Chicago have their weaknesses, but their strengths, what helped them to their No. 1 seeds, seem too powerful for the Islanders and Wild to withstand. Of course, not many gave the Kings a shot against Vancouver last April, either. 7. Will home ice be an actual advantage? It’s the playoffs. source: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/top-10-stanley-cup-playoff-storylines-watch-2013-211902800.html


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