Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Do the Rats Have Enough???

Do the Rink Rats Have Enough??? That’s the question many Rink Rat fans are asking themselves as Minnesota prepares for the playoffs. Minnesota has one of the best records in the WHL since the All-Star break, surging after an awful start which had them hovering near the bottom of the league standings through the first quarter of the season. The way the team responded to such a poor start has many Minnesota fans optimistic that they could be this year’s Cinderella team and make a solid run in the playoffs.

Leading up to the trade deadline, many believed Minnesota would be one of the WHL’s quieter teams since they had made so many deals earlier in the year. That held fairly true although Minnesota made a strong push to bring in some extra help with very little luck, most notably a deal which would’ve brought in right winger Martin St. Louis and sent Tyler Kennedy and a draft pick to Calgary in exchange.

The deal would’ve been huge for Minnesota but the two teams couldn’t come to terms and instead the Rink Rats settled for defensemen Nick Boynton & Scott Hannan to add depth to the blueline. Boynton is expected to play a big role leading into the playoffs and the team is optimistic he can return to form leading into the playoffs. The Rink Rats also made deals which sent out veterans Darcy Tucker, Boyd Deveraux & Rob Davison for draft picks. The departure of Tucker was expected and overdue as he’s complained about ice time all season and lead the league in penalty minutes while only playing a minor role.

“Darcy has only been here for a year but we felt pretty strongly that it was time for him to move on”, stated GM LaDouceur. “We didn’t have him in our top 3 lines and played him very sparingly, however he still lead the league in penalty minutes. It’s like every time we put him on the ice he’d take a stupid penalty and we don’t like that mentality. On the other hand, adding Boynton is huge for us and we hope he’ll be able to make a strong difference leading into the playoffs. He’s got good size, experience and can play really well in our end of the ice. I think the moves we made will really help us and although there were some deals hanging out there, we’re pretty proud of what we’ve done.” Minnesota has lost some ground since the trade deadline going 1-2 but the team has played well and shows some solid promise. Upcoming games will be crucial for the Rink Rats to move up in the standings and once again overtake the Timberjacks for the 7th spot.

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