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Hitchcock on new-look Wild: “They will be a real tough challenge for everybody”

Jul 28, 2012, 10:39 AM EDT

Ken Hitchcock Getty Images

Last year’s proposed NHL realignment put the reigning Central Division champs, St. Louis, in a division with the Minnesota Wild.

After the summer Minnesota’s had, Ken Hitchcock is probably okay with that realignment plan being shot down.

The St. Louis Blues head coach recently spoke with the Post-Dispatch about the flurry of movement during summer’s free agent period, including Minnesota’s blockbuster signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Hitchcock feels the two marquee acquisitions will make the Wild a very difficult opponent in 2012-13.

“For me, it was whoever got Suter or Parise, they were the two players that were going to make a dramatic difference,” Hitchcock said. “The rest (of free agency) was going to be replacing Player A with Player B.”

The Blues are somewhat fortunate neither Parise or Suter ended up in the Central Division. Many pundits had them pegged for Detroit — one of the Blues’ fiercest rivals — but with them headed to the Northwest, St. Louis will have a much different task in defending their divisional title.

Three major stars have moved on: the Preds will be without Suter, the Wings without Nicklas Lidstrom and the Blue Jackets without Rick Nash.

Regardless, Hitchcock sees the Wild as a major threat in the West.

“They’ve loaded up,” Hitchcock said. “They will be a real tough challenge for everybody.”

  1. soupcanarmygeneral - Jul 28, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    not for the soup can… we have every player we ever wanted… sept for Parise, Suter, Semin… and welll… oh right no one wants to come here and we traded off one of our top 4 D for nothing…. shoot.

    • theawesomersfranchise - Jul 28, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      1 Stop voting him up or down and pretend he doesn’t exist. He considers thumbs down to be the attention he is looking for with his trolling.
      2 Stop taking the bait and replying

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 28, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      is “sept” even a word?

      • barkar942 - Jul 28, 2012 at 10:02 PM

        It is short for September- oh wait- it wasn’t capitalized. My bad!

  2. filthadelphiadivers - Jul 28, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    I don’t think they ever actually wanted Semin…….

  3. chazxcore - Jul 28, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    I do like the Wild. I really want that franchise to do well. But even with Parise and Suter, I don’t really see them as a SERIOUS contender. Their offense can be extremely solid but their defense is very very thin.

    • cardsandbluesforever - Jul 28, 2012 at 7:14 PM

      their defense is weak even with suter, and their goaltending is worse.
      i expect them to make the playoffs, 7 or 8 seed and get bounced in the first round.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 29, 2012 at 1:05 AM

        You clearly don’t know a whole lot. Goaltending wasn’t the issue for the Wild. In fact they were right in the middle of the league for goals against, tied for 14-16th. They were 13th in GAA as a team.Backstrom had more shutouts than Fleury and Brodeur and played in signifcantly less games.

        The problem the Wild had was scoring goals. The signing of Parise should help that, along with finally getting Granlund here.

        The Wild are thin at defense, however signing Suter will help that in the major way. Whoever, the Wild may have had the youngest defensemen as a group in the NHL. Spurgeon is 22, Kampfer and Falk are only 23. Spurgeon played a ton of minutes and Falk played his fair share. They have more talented defensemen in the pipeline in Brodin and Dumba.

  4. blomfeld - Jul 28, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    “If you say so Humpty Dumpty” …

    While I realize that Hitckcock means well and all, you just can’t take this guy seriously. I remember this clown after game 2 in the second round, going on about the fact that the Kings have a “pretty solid” defense … ya think ? Anyway, his “so-called” fears about the Wild are completely erroneous. For $197,000,000.00 Parise and Suter will likely do nothing more than ensure the Wild squeak into the playoffs for the next 2-3 years …

    • cardsandbluesforever - Jul 28, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      why hasnt PHT blocked commentors from posting embedded videos yet?

      the song choice is spot on though, there are a LOT of queens in LA…

  5. earlcpeacock - Jul 28, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    lets spark a conversation on how girthy everyone thinks pringles can genos fully torqued seed puker is

  6. charleslouis99 - Jul 28, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    At least we don’t have a wood elf for a coach-darryl sutter lol

  7. Brandon - Jul 28, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    I’m a Wild fan, do I love what they’ve done this offseason? Of course. Are they headed in a winning direction? Absolutely, most certainly playoff contenders if they can hold off the injury bug……that said….

    They have another year or two at least before they are legit cup level, the team needs to gel and these prospects need some development.

    I respect the direction Hitchcock has the Blues in as well, they had a good turn around last year. Say what you will but the balance of power out west is shifting and both the Blues and Wild should be in that power mix for years to come.

    • charleslouis99 - Jul 28, 2012 at 10:47 PM

      The wild are definitely underestimated this year but they were a team to reckon with until they lost koivuw for awhile who is the face of the franchise and heart and soul then when dany heatley is the nextbiggest leader you’re in trouble both teams will challenge for their respective divisions

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