I received a few questions about the Minnesota Wild through Twitter, Facebook and email. I will answer thosequestions in this article.
If you have a question about the Wild, submit it on Twitter to my handle (@MNSportsWriter), on Facebook or email it to me through the contact link in my profile.
What is your opinion of the lockout and who do you side with?
I grew up watching and playing hockey. I attended South St. Paul High School games. I attended University of Minnesota games. I attended Minnesota North Stars games. I attended Minnesota Wild games.
It is hard to think that the NHL will miss more games.
I need to know a lot more information before I campaign for either side.
I side with the part-time arena workers and beat writers who are forced to assist the beat writers of other local teams.
What do you point to as the first sign that the lockout was coming?
The first sign that work stoppage was forthcoming was the day the NHL Players Association hired Donald Fehr as its executive director.
Every time Fehr is involved a labor dispute ensues.
It takes two to tango and Fehr loves to dance.
What do you see as the Wild’s biggest weakness right now?
The new additions, both from free agency and from the amateur ranks, have played very little together. The only time they have is at offseason training scrimmages or the Wild’s development camp.
The quicker they can come together the better off the Wild will be.
How will the lineup change if the NHL loses the entire year?
Goaltender is the most intriguing lineup change.
Niklas Backstrom is scheduled to become a free agent. Matt Hackett’s performance in the NHL last season and the multi-year contract given to Josh Harding leads me to believe that Backstrom will not be re-signed.
Harding and Hackett will battle for the starting spot. They will probably split time or Hackett will run with the full-time job. The other option is that Hackett plays another year in Houston, which is highly unlikely and not developmentally good for him.
The other players that are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents that may not be back are forwards Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Matt Cullen and Stephane Veilleux and defensemen Drew Bagnall and Justin Falk. There are also plenty of restricted free agents that may not be given a qualifying offer or could be traded.