Skip to content

Minnesota columnist believes Wild improved by adding ‘attitude’

Jul 14, 2013, 10:05 PM EST

keithballardwild Getty Images

If you were to draw up a list of the “easiest” series from the 2013 postseason, Chicago’s five-game stroll against Minnesota would probably finish close to the top. To make matters worse for the Wild, some might say the team took a step back by shedding salary this summer, yet the Pioneer Press’ Tim Powers believes that they improved in a bigger picture way.

More specifically, he thinks that the Wild added some edge and attitude via Matt Cooke and Keith Ballard.

Enter Ballard and Cooke. With luck, they’ll growl and prod and, as a result, motivate. Not when things are going well. Not when the Wild have put together a nice streak. But when things are headed south. Because no team can turn a couple of bad bounces into a four-game losing streak as quickly as the mentally fragile Wild.

(Now imagine a low-budget promo video of Cooke and Ballard dramatically removing their sunglasses.)

One can easily question this concept – especially since hit machine Cal Clutterbuck is out of town – but the two players do bring some snarl to the table.

We all know the story Cooke, as the 34-year-old’s past is so checkered that the common refrain is that he’s a changed man. (Perhaps there’s a small group of Wild fans who want the “old” Cooke, then?)

Ballard, 30, isn’t a pushover either. For those who look past his formerly problematic contract and scratches, Ballard showed that he wasn’t shy to throw his body around. That was especially true when it came to his old-school hip checks:

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

It’s anyone’s guess if two supporting cast members like Cooke and Ballard will really make that much of a difference, but maybe the team will be “tougher to play against,” as hockey people like to say.

Latest Posts
  1. Sickness and uncertainty prompt Pens to recall Pouliot, Chorney (Update)

    Dec 20, 2014, 1:22 PM EST

    pouliot2 Getty Images

    Good luck trying to forecast their lines for Saturday.

  2. Disgruntled Oilers fans take out ad calling for Kevin Lowe’s firing

    Dec 20, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    Owners And Players Meet To Discuss NHL Lockout Getty Images

    As it turns out, the hockey exec’s name rhymes nicely with “must go.”

  3. Red Wings lose fifth in a row, recall McCollum

    Dec 20, 2014, 12:09 AM EST

    New York Islanders v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

    They label Jimmy Howard as day-to-day.

  4. Julien chides Bruins’ offense for too many cute plays

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:32 PM EST

    Michael Hutchinson, Milan Lucic AP

    They fell to Winnipeg 2-1 on Friday.

  5. Sens roll over Ducks, who ‘weren’t ready’

    Dec 19, 2014, 10:31 PM EST

    ryanzibanejad Getty Images

    Then again, maybe the Ryan – Zibanejad – Hoffman line was just that good.

  6. Video: Elias shines as Devils end five-game skid

    Dec 19, 2014, 10:01 PM EST

    Detroit Red Wings v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    A beauty in regulation and in the shootout.

  7. Habs rotate backups by recalling MacDonald, demoting Tokarski

    Dec 19, 2014, 9:51 PM EST

    Dusitn Tokarski AP

    Sven Andrighetto is back up while Eric Tangradi heads to the AHL.

  8. Howard leaves Red Wings game with lower-body injury

    Dec 19, 2014, 8:48 PM EST

    jimmyhoward Getty Images

    They’re playing safe for “precautionary” reasons.

  9. Bryzgalov gets first Ducks start since 2007

    Dec 19, 2014, 7:43 PM EST

    Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-2 Getty Images

    It’s been 2,599 days since that last happened.

  10. Stomach flu makes Lightning’s Johnson a surprise scratch

    Dec 19, 2014, 6:47 PM EST

    Carolina Hurricanes v Tampa Bay Lightning Getty Images

    Let’s hope it’s just that type of illness …

  11. Gordie Howe makes ‘amazing’ recovery following stem cell treatment in Mexico

    Dec 19, 2014, 5:00 PM EST

    Gordie Howe Getty Images

    “As a family, we are thrilled that Dad’s quality of life has greatly improved, and his progress has exceeded our greatest expectations.”

Featured video

More than a Stanley Cup hangover?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (4079)
  2. B. Bishop (3299)
  3. D. Krejci (2548)
  4. C. Crawford (2505)
  5. C. Kunitz (2332)
  1. C. Perry (2115)
  2. O. Palat (2104)
  3. B. Elliott (1979)
  4. T. Oshie (1853)
  5. T. Hall (1605)