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zhangzk


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PostPosted: Thu 11 Oct - 04:59 (2018) Reply with quoteBack to top

No team in the ultra-competitive Western Conference has made the playoffs more times in a row than the Minnesota Wild Dave Robinson Jersey , with six straight appearances to share the current streak lead with the Anaheim Ducks. That regular season consistency has only led, however, to April dissatisfaction. Ousted in five games by Winnipeg in their first-round series, the Wild were sent again to an early exit from the Stanley Cup tournament. They were shut out by the Jets in the last two contests and finished with a scoreless streak of 141:47.
”It’s really disappointing. I don’t think that’s indicative of the kind of team that we have. It was just a really tough night,” center Matt Cullen said after the 5-0 loss in Winnipeg on Friday. ”Obviously with our backs against the wall, I think we all expected more and hoped for more, and I think if we could do it all over again every guy would like to give more.”
There was no shame in being beaten by the Jets, a deeper, faster team with an exceptional goalie in Connor Hellebuyck that finished with the second-best record in the NHL in 2017-18. For the Wild, though, there’s an overarching theme of staying stuck at a good-but-not-great level since the franchise-altering signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter helped start this remarkable-but-unfulfilling run of making the playoffs every year with the two stars on the roster.
”We want more. We expect more from ourselves. We let another one slip away,” right wing Charlie Coyle said.
Here are some key angles to the end of the Wild’s season:
LOOKING BACK
The Wild are 2-6 in series and 15-29 in games in the postseason during the Parise-Suter era that began on July 4, 2012. The 17-year-old franchise’s only advancement past the second round remains the 2003 surge to the Western Conference finals, where the Wild were swept by the Ducks.
The postseason trouble encountered by the Wild used to be in the form of the Chicago Blackhawks, who eliminated them in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in the first and third of those years. They lost in the first round in 2016 and 2017, though, and failed to make the playoffs this spring for the first time in 10 years. So Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are no longer the problem.
Now Nashville and Winnipeg have taken the lead in the daunting Central Division, with the Predators taking the Presidents’ Trophy with the league’s best record one season after reaching the Stanley Cup finals. Six of the seven teams made the playoffs either last year or this year.
”We certainly believed that we could give these guys a real run for it even though nobody seemed to be giving us a chance,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. ”We’re one play away each game. I know that’s easy to say, but it’s really how close it was besides tonight.”
BANGED UP
This year, in fairness, one of the hurdles to postseason success became the rare absence of Suter, who has long been one of the NHL’s most durable players as a puck-moving Authentic Patrick Omameh Jersey , tough-minded defenseman. His broken ankle diluted the blue line in the final week of the regular season.
Then Parise, whose late-season surge signaled he was all the way back from the back injury and surgery that kept him out for the first 39 games, was knocked out of action with a broken sternum suffered in Game 3 against the Jets.
”Every team has injuries, right?” captain Mikko Koivu said, adding: ”For sure that hurts, there’s no question about that. But we can’t go behind that.”
CULLEN MULLING
Matt Cullen, after winning the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017, put off retirement for another year and returned to his home-state team with 11 goals, 11 assists and valuable leadership at age 41. He wasn’t ready to address his future after Game 5.
”My only thought here the last while was getting it back home for Game 6,” Cullen said. ”So to be honest I don’t have an answer right now.”
QUIET COYLE
Not every forward will be productive in a playoff series, of course, but the Wild were hurting without any goals or assists by three of their top-nine forwards: Coyle, Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker. Coyle, who had only 11 goals during the regular season, was especially ineffective against the Jets.
”Had plenty of chances to finish. I didn’t finish. Or the goalie came up big,” Coyle said. ”Whatever it is I didn’t get the job done. That hurts.”

Tom Brady is losing one of his top receivers, and Jared Goff is getting a speedy new target.
The New England Patriots traded receiver Brandin Cooks to the Rams on Tuesday for Los Angeles' first-round draft pick, the 23rd overall.
New England also sent a fourth-round choice to the Rams, and the Patriots got a sixth-rounder from Los Angeles.
The 24-year-old Cooks had 65 catches for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns in his only season with the Patriots. His receiving stats were second on the defending AFC champions' roster only to tight end Rob Gronkowski, who barely topped Cooks in all three categories.
Cooks' clear chemistry with Brady makes the trade fairly surprising for New England, particularly after the recent departure of another favorite Brady target, Danny Amendola, who signed with the Dolphins.
But the defending NFC West champion Rams made an aggressive offer to secure a potential No. 1 receiver and proven deep threat just three weeks after the departure of Sammy Watkins Tyler Eifert Jersey , who got a three-year, $48 million deal from the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency.
After weeks of rumors about the Rams' interest in acquiring star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants, they managed to find another elite talent at the position. Cooks' speed and versatility should fit in well in coach Sean McVay's schemes as he lines up alongside Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp in the NFL's highest-scoring offense last season.
The trade also appears to be a strategic move on the part of the Patriots: Cooks is entering the fifth year of his rookie contract, and he can become a free agent after the 2018 season.
With three 1,000-yard seasons in a four-year pro career that began with New Orleans, Cooks would likely be a coveted player after another big year, and the Patriots may not have been willing to pay a high price to keep him and may be looking to get maximum value now.
Watkins was in the same contractual situation when the Rams acquired him from Buffalo during training camp last year, and he parlayed a solid season in Los Angeles into an enormous contract elsewhere. Yet the Rams don't appear to regret the trade, even though Watkins was their fourth-leading receiver with 39 catches, because he excelled in the red zone with eight TD grabs and provided a deep threat that had to be respected by opponents.
Cooks will be asked to do all that and more with the Rams, who haven't let up on their intense offseason pursuit of a championship roster.
The Rams acquired elite cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib last month, and they signed defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh last week to form a ferocious duo with AP Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. Los Angeles has lost leading tackler Alec Ogletree and top cornerback Trumaine Johnson during its machinations, yet kept its entire offensive line intact for Goff and running back Todd Gurley.
With the draft picks acquired in Tuesday's deal, New England now holds four picks in the first two rounds later this month and four more picks in Rounds 3-7. That gives coach Bill Belichick the ability to go shopping for a young prospect or perhaps to make a deal for a veteran.
Still, there's also the possibility that the Patriots may do nothing at all at receiver heading into training camp.
Julian Edelman is expected to return after suffering a preseason knee injury, and Malcolm Mitchell is also slated to return after spending time on injured reserve with a knee issue.
Cooks was New Orleans' first-round selection out of Oregon State in 2014, and he played three solid seasons for the Saints while emerging as a top young receiver.
Yet when the competitive receiver apparently disagreed with the Saints about the height of his abilities and his long-term future, he was traded to New England 13 months ago for a first-rounder and other picks.
Although Cooks is one year away from free agency, the Rams probably feel they've got a better chance to do a long-term deal with Cooks. Cooks and Goff are represented by the same agent, and Cooks is a Stockton, California, native whose family will be able to see him play regularly.
AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham in Los Angeles contributed to this story.


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