I've tried to convince myself that it was the right call. But at the end of the day, we traded our best prospect for an aging veteran on an expiring contract, after saying ad nauseam that we would in no way, shape, or form be trading away key pieces of our future for short-term payoff. The sort-of irony here being that we felt we needed legitimate veteran experience to lead us down the home stretch here and back to the postseason - but it's been Gustav Nyquist who's singlehandedly kept us competitive, a point which I could unpack but won't.
One thing I really don't understand is why Jarnkrok couldn't just be moved to the wing. It worked for Nyquist, no?
Also: really hate to say it, but Howard really does need to figure it out or GTFO. He makes at least a couple fantastic saves a game, but then, don't most NHL goalies? We don't need "most NHL goalies." We need a wall, an impenetrable fortress, a source of strength, a shot in the arm. He's not getting paid the big bucks for "Well, you can't totally blame him for that goal. Or that one. Or that one. Or that one. Or that one. OK, maybe that one. But not that one. Or that one. Or..." At some point, it's on him. Indeed, as Babs has explicitly stated, this team - injured or healthy - will go as far as Jimmy Howard takes it.
This is something that really boggles my mind. It's been an issue all season long, and it's actually gotten worse and worse, to the point where we've been botching probably about a third or a quarter of our passes.
If there's one thing you don't want your team to struggle with, it's passing. If you can't pass, you're toothless and vulnerable in all three zones. Mirror regrouping, breaking out, charging through the neutral zone, cycling - it all becomes an adventure. Compound that with our injuries, Howard's struggles, and everything else, and it really is a wonder that we're still in the playoff picture.
After all these injuries and with only 10 games left the positive is that the Wings are in a playoff spot, that is incredible in itself.
It really is pretty incredible. I mean, we're all bent out of shape about our team not getting it done (and justifiably so, I guess), but, like, look at it from the perspective of a Wild fan. We should've been an easy four points for them. No team has any business being as competitive as we've been with the injuries we're dealing with. (Yeah, I know, the Penguins. But everyone knows that's a lame comparison.) And now we may be getting a bit healthier.
So, yes, losing this game sucks. But that we're even upset about this loss is a remarkable thing. Our season should be over. We should be in free fall mode like the Sens. None of this should matter. And yet, here we are, holding down a playoff spot.
The positive here is that the Wild and Jackets are two very good and mostly healthy teams who are pretty much pushing as hard as they can...and yet we, playing some absolutely godawful hockey and with half our team missing, could've won either or both games. If we can get back to our system and doing the little things right and really minding the details and all that good stuff, we have an ok shot at making the playoffs.