Jul 14, 2013, 10:05 PM EDT
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.
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.
Mar 31, 2015, 12:48 AM EDT
Feel free to change that to “lose.”
Mar 31, 2015, 12:22 AM EDT
The overall damage is currently unclear.
Mar 30, 2015, 11:44 PM EDT
And how good is life for the Calgary Flames?
Mar 30, 2015, 11:13 PM EDT
Chicago ran Los Angeles out of the rink on Monday.
Mar 30, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT
Just a minor penalty.
Mar 30, 2015, 10:21 PM EDT
Tampa Bay sweeps season series vs. Montreal.
Mar 30, 2015, 9:21 PM EDT
Not exactly fearing the jinx.
Mar 30, 2015, 8:28 PM EDT
He’s a trooper.
Mar 30, 2015, 8:02 PM EDT
A new wrinkle to the rivalry.
Mar 30, 2015, 7:35 PM EDT
He shakes off Saturday’s scary crash.
Mar 30, 2015, 7:03 PM EDT
Could he be ahead of schedule?
Mar 30, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT
Mar 30, 2015, 5:33 PM EDT
L.A.’s first time back in Chicago since Game 7 of last year’s Western Conference Final.
Mar 30, 2015, 4:29 PM EDT
No more James Wisniewski.
Mar 30, 2015, 3:56 PM EDT
Could be helpful in attracting and retaining free agents.
Mar 30, 2015, 3:46 PM EDT
The drive began by focusing on individuals for season ticket packages.
Mar 30, 2015, 3:06 PM EDT
“I think it’s going to come right down to the morning skate.”
Mar 30, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT
News and notes from around the crease…
Mar 30, 2015, 1:59 PM EDT
Flyers d-man has a lower-body injury.
Mar 30, 2015, 1:58 PM EDT
“A win tonight would be good for our team, both physically and mentally.”
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