Toup’s Takes (2-22-21)

By Seth Toupal
Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP

Another edition of Toup’s Takes is ready for your viewing pleasure. We have NO PLAYERS ON THE COVID LIST FINALLY! Full strength is super close!

Passing on a Hat Trick

Kevin Fiala did something interesting in the final period of the Wild’s 5-1 win over Anaheim Saturday night. With 2 goals already, Fiala had an opportunity for the hat trick as he charged towards John Gibson, but Gibson got a good read on his shot. So Fiala passed to Ryan Hartman, who then found Joel Eriksson Ek for one of the most gorgeous goals the Wild have scored this season. If you ever needed an example of the kind of teammate Fiala is, look no further than him passing up a hat trick in favor of a better shot for a teammate. Plus, he’s gonna have PLENTY of opportunities for more goals the rest of the way. Fiala now has 6 goals in his last 7 games, and looks to be the real deal after his surge last year.

Friendly Faceoffs

Lost in the shuffle of the Wild’s 5-1 win over the Ducks on Saturday was their absolute DOMINATION in the faceoff circle. The Wild won 37 of 61 faceoffs, including Victor Rask winning 13 of 14 draws. Not only Rask, but Nick Bonino (8 of 12), Joel Eriksson Ek (10 of 15), and even Ryan Hartman (4 of 15 isn’t great, but Hartman was stepping up to play center so that is not bad at all) helped the Wild keep some sustained pressure on the Ducks, and prevent them from sustaining anything outside the second period. It even led to a Power Play goal! Bill Guerin seems to be pleased with this development.

Addison Will Be Back

With the Wild back at full strength, they did reassign Calen Addison to Iowa. I was a little surprised by the decision considering how he played in his brief stint in Minnesota. But it does show he belongs at the NHL level. So don’t be surprised to see Addison back with the team when the need arises, or when Guerin inevitably moves some defense depth. Addison showed no signs of the moment being too big, his smooth style and calm demeanor shined brightly with Minnesota. Way to go kid, hope to see you back up soon.

Iowa Stability

It was a rough weekend for Iowa. Chicago started their weekend series against the Wild with a 10-2 throttling. They did battle back in yesterday’s game and ended up losing 4-1. But with all of the roster juggling they have had to do, can we really blame them? Hopefully with the entire Minnesota roster back off the COVID list, Iowa can get back to some sort of normalcy. They definitely have some players worth keeping an eye on.

Tahoe Temps

The NHL did have some minor temperature issues with it’s outdoor showcase games at Lake Tahoe. But they remedied both games and, let’s be honest, they could NOT have had a better setup for those games. Absolutely incredible scenery. This should be something that happens every year. Oh wait, weren’t the Wild supposed to have an outdoor game this year?