2009 preview: Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild is a team looking for a new identity.

For years, they were the dull, boring, defensive hockey team. Now they’re looking to revamp with a strong new offensive flair.

It may make for more exciting games, but it will also make for some more losses.

Story of the season:How will this team do with a run and gun offence? After Jacques Lemaire left last season, it was announced the Wild wanted to play a more offensive game. But they’ve been a purely defensive team for years now, and it’s not easy to change that mentality. My money is on them struggling with it for part of the season, especially against teams like Detroit, Chicago, San Jose and Los Angeles.

Former Habs: None

Blog to follow: Wild Puck

TV commercial break

Pool Picks: Pierre-Marc Bouchard. He had an off-year last year, but should be good enough for 60 points this season. Stay away from: Owen Nolan. Yes, he had a high points-per-game last season (45 points in 59 games). But he hasn’t cracked 50 points since 2001-02. With the Wild expected to play a more up-tempo game, look for Nolan’s point production to suffer, and he finishes with about 35 points.

Award nominees:Niklas Backstrom for the Vezina

Expected Finish: Fifth in the Northwest, 13th in the West

Cheerleader: Rachel Leigh Cook is from Minnesota.

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