Flames vs. Wild: Five Questions with Hockey Wilderness

Hannah Foslien

The Flames take on their former division rival for just the second time this season after suffering a 5-1 loss back on November 5th. Emilie from Hockey Wilderness took the time to update us on all things Wild prior to tonight's contest.

1.The Wild are in an interesting position at the moment: a point up on Vancouver for seventh in the West with a -3 goal differential and a .500 record in their past ten games. They've struggled with injuries but they've also beat teams like Anaheim and Chicago recently. How would you describe the Wild's play of late?

The Wild’s play as of late has actually been somewhat incredible. 4 of the top 5 players on the team have been out with injuries for pretty much the last month (Zach Parise will be playing in his 4th game back tonight). The team has had to rely on mostly kids under 25 for the top 2 lines and on the top 2 pairings and in goal. They’ve claimed 20 out of 28 possible points in Jan. But when you have really young guys in the line-up, you’re going to get inconsistency.

2. How has moving from the Northwest Division affected the Wild this season? Competing with the Blackhawks and Blues five times a year is obviously much different than facing the Flames and Oilers on a regular basis.

It makes the schedule tougher, but in turn also makes the team tougher. They’ve come into their own against the Blackhawks this season, and eventually playing against some of the toughest teams in the NHL will make them much tougher to play

3. After requesting a trade from the Islanders last year, Nino Niederreiter seems to have settled in quite nicely in Minnesota. What has he brought to the team this season?

He’s brought a lot of energy to the team. This kid loves to play, and he loves to be in front of the net. That’s exactly what the team has needed.

4. Any updates on how Josh Harding is doing with his new MS medication? What is the likelihood that he plays with the Wild again this season?

No updates really. He went through medication adjustments in December and has had some trouble adjusting to them properly. Josh absolutely doesn’t like to talk about his MS and make it a focal point, so that’s all he’s given to the media.

5. Markus Granlund has been one of the best players for the Abbotsford Heat this season, and his brother Mikael seems to be doing well too with 27 points in his second NHL season. How would you evaluate his play so far in 2013-14?

Mikael Granlund has been one of the best players on the Minnesota Wild this season. He is one of the best playmakers I have ever seen on this team to be honest, which is crazy considering how young he is. As he gets more experienced, teams are really going to have a hard time defending against his hockey sense and vision on the ice. He’s had a great bounce back from a tough attempted NHL season last year.

Thanks Emilie! For more on the Wild, don't forget to check out Hockey Wilderness.

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