Skip to content

Minnesota columnist believes Wild improved by adding ‘attitude’

Jul 14, 2013, 10:05 PM EDT

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. Pens sign prospect Sprong to entry-level deal

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    2015 NHL Draft - Portraits 2015 NHL Draft - Portraits

    The club’s top pick at this year’s draft.

  2. Kings bringing veteran goalie Budaj to camp on PTO

    Aug 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    Peter Budaj Peter Budaj

    Former Avs and Habs goalie spent all of last year in the AHL.

  3. Detroit adds analytics specialist to front office

    Aug 28, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

    Yet another NHL club hiring a fancy stats guy.

  4. Stars re-sign Eakin: four years, $15.4 million

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars

    Scored a career-high 19 goals and 40 points last year.

  5. Sharks’ biggest question: Does DeBoer make a difference?

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    San Jose Sharks Name Peter Deboer Head Coach Getty Images

    Former Panthers, Devils head coach takes over a team that “hit a little bit of a rut.”

  6. Looking to make the leap: Mirco Mueller

    Aug 28, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

    Vancouver Canucks v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    After an up-and-down rookie year, he’s looking to solidify his spot.

  7. Hall of Famer Al Arbour passes away

    Aug 28, 2015, 12:19 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Getty Images

    Legendary Isles coach had been battling Parkinson’s and dementia.

  8. Poll: Who will be San Jose’s next captain?

    Aug 28, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Joe Thornton Getty Images

    Bit of an issue last season, if you’ll recall.

  9. Under Pressure: Martin Jones

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Canada v Germany - 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Getty Images

    From little-used backup to clear-cut No. 1.

  10. San Jose Sharks ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:03 AM EDT

    Alex Stalock Getty Images

    It all comes down to goaltending.

  11. It’s San Jose Sharks Day at PHT

    Aug 28, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Patrick Marleau Getty Images

    Their playoff streak ended after 10 straight appearances.

  12. Kings ink prospect Sharipzyanov to entry-level contract

    Aug 27, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Damir Sharipzyanov Getty Images

    The defenseman had 34 points in 66 OHL games last season.

  13. Sabres interested in luring Franson

    Aug 27, 2015, 8:58 PM EDT

    Cody Franson Getty Images

    He might end up with a two-year deal.

  14. Ladd wants to re-sign before season starts

    Aug 27, 2015, 8:21 PM EDT

    Andrew Ladd Getty Images

    He’s entering the final season of his five-year, $22 million deal.

  15. AHL unveils schedule with California teams playing fewer games

    Aug 27, 2015, 6:48 PM EDT

    061315 comets mdd AP

    Playoff seeding will be determined by points percentage.

  16. Under pressure: Mike Johnston

    Aug 27, 2015, 4:25 PM EDT

    Mike Johnston Getty Images

    The Penguins are a win now team coming off of a quick first round exit.

  17. Pittsburgh’s biggest question: Is the defense good enough?

    Aug 27, 2015, 2:06 PM EDT

    St. Louis Blues v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    “I’m fully aware that at some point in time we may have to address that position.”

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1579)
  2. P. Kane (1420)
  3. S. Matthias (1279)
  4. M. Zuccarello (1175)
  5. D. Carcillo (1144)