Minneapolis, MN – Over a quarter of the season has passed and the Minnesota Rink Rats find themselves in a familiar position - in contention for a playoff spot. After a hot start the Rink Rats have hit a bit of a skid as of late winless in their last 5. Jimmy Howard continued what has been a somewhat disappointing start for him in their most recent loss to the Hooligans - a 5-1 defeat. The loss put Minnesota at 9-9-5 on the season. Howard is now 0-4-0 with a 5.05 gaa and .829 sv%. His play has some wondering if he could be moved for a scoring forward or two-way defenseman.
Nonetheless, the Rink Rats have had somewhat of a surprisingly hot start. David Krejci has continued his great play from last season and Ryan Miller has returned to his MVP ways. The addition of newcomers Drew Stafford and TJ Oshie has also helped this offense and seems to have filled the void left by Matthew Lombardi. The hope is that Stafford can return to the form that netted him 44 goals in his rookie season for the Orcas and that Oshie will continue to progress into the speedy, two-way forward he's able to be. The future is bright in Minnesota.The present is a little unclear.
The recent losing streak has many wondering what type of team the Rink Rats are. Certainly the loss of puck-moving defenseman Kyle Cumiskey hasn't helped the team, and a nagging injury to Ryan Miller has caused some issues but fans wonder if this team is the team that started the season off very hot and in 2nd place within their conference or the club that's gone winless in 5 straight. Minnesota has been looking at the trade block and with a potential move for Jimmy Howard they may be able to add one or two pieces to help complete their puzzle and finally get over the hump to being one of the league's elite ... stay tuned.