‘I’ve got to redeem myself’: Foligno hopes to be Wild hero, plus Game 6 lineup decisions, more

The Athletic

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Marcus Foligno still doesn’t feel like he’s done anything wrong, but admits that this has been “an eventful series for me.”

He’s spent a lot of time over the past few days thinking about his hopes of “turning from villain to hero” in Game 6.

“That’s the gameplan, for me and for us, and we just have to win,” the Wild left wing said in advance of Friday’s must-win game against Dallas. “Obviously, hey, I learned a lesson in this series — just need to be smarter. I understand that and I have to improve in Game 6.”

But Foligno finds himself in a difficult situation.

League officials have indicated to the Wild that both of Foligno’s minor penalties in Game 4, which led the Stars 1-0 and 3-1, should not have been penalties. And the fact that the Department of Player Safety didn’t discipline Foligno for his knee on Radek Faksa early in Game 5 shows it didn’t rise to the level of a suspension or fine, in the eyes of the league. In fact, the league suggested to Wild and Foligno that the refs should evaluate the two-minute tripping minor—not the knee major.

The Wild still needed to kill a penalty — Tyler Seguin gave the Stars a 1-0 lead eight seconds into the major — but the correct call would have at least kept Foligno in the game instead of playing 57-and-a-half minutes. 11 with forward.

“I’ve spent the last few days thinking about it, probably a lot,” Foligno said The Athletic. “I try to laugh it off – and not in a snarky way. It just happened. Game 4 penalty, I don’t have much to say about it. To be honest, it’s just mind-boggling. And when you’re told ( Game 5 play) should only be a minor and you thought you were suspended because you missed the whole game anyway, it’s very hard to stop thinking about it.

“I think you have to have a short-term memory and I’ve got a lot of good support around me, so I can only rely on that. Then you just rely on instinct. I feel like I’ve got a chance to come to Game 6 and just play a hell of a game, so that’s all I can hope for.”

Foligno said the refs have a tough job, and part of that is not to blame for giving them the lead, as the Stars’ Radek Faksa rolled on the ice as he blew out his knee. But Faksa returned to the bench soon after being helped off the ice and didn’t miss a shift after the power play.

“He did a good job,” Foligno said, implying that Fuxa is continuing the Stars’ trend of selling offense in this series.

General manager Bill Guerin told Foligno not to hesitate in Friday’s game but to “play your game, play hard, play clean and honest.”

But Foligno is convinced that refs aren’t scrutinizing his every move because of All-Stars coach Pete DeBoer’s lobbying of officials about the Wild’s physicality and his penchant for taking penalties. It seems to Foligno that way, at least two of his past three penalties (all resulting in goals against) he must not have known.

“It’s kind of disappointing if it’s the way it’s viewed from the ref’s point of view,” Foligno said. “I feel like I’m a respected player in this league. I’ve never been suspended for a dirty hit or a check to any extent, so I guess I should drown out the noise.

“Probably the stuff in the neutral zone and open ice, the wish-wash stuff, these guys can go either way, and you have to be smarter in that sense. From a physical point of view, that’s what I have to do for this team.”

For the record, Foligno was suspended two games last season for kneeing the Jets’ Adam Lowry while he was down on the ice after a fight. But his point is that he generally plays within the rules when it comes to his scrutiny. He’s just bigger and stronger (listed at 6-foot-3, 226 pounds) than most opponents.

“I think it’s clear that the wind was taken out of our sails when the major and I were kicked out the other night,” Foligno said. “It’s on me, and I have to redeem myself. I’m looking forward to getting back with these guys, playing a full 60 — and doing our best to get this series back to Dallas.”

Game 6 lineup up in the air

A day after Dean Evans said the coaching staff was having lengthy discussions on the Game 6 lineup, it was hard to figure out what changes we might see because banged-up Ryan Hartman and Mats Zuccarello weren’t practicing.

The bottom-six forwards (Gus Nyquist, Sam Steele and Foligno on one line and Brandon Duhaime, Connor Dever and Ryan Reaves on the other) remained the same, while defenseman Kellen Addison was a placeholder between Kirill Kaprizov and the No. 1 center. Marcus Johansson. Freddie Gaudreau centered Matt Boldi and Oscar Sundqvist.

One wonders if we could see Zuccarello and Johnson flip positions. If Johansson were to stay on the second line, it’s likely that Sundqvist, who has played just once in five playoff games, would have been a placeholder on the top line with Kaprizov.

“We’ve got some band-up guys,” said Evanson. “Hopefully everyone is available.”

Nyquist is one player who seems to have earned a promotion in the lineup. But it looks like the bottom six may remain intact, despite the Nyquist-Steel-Foligno line being out-attempted 24-10 at five-on-five in 17:43, per the Natural State trick.

As far as final lineup decisions, Evans said, “We’ve gone back and forth. what are you doing? Do you switch over lines? Do you leave them alone? We talked about all those things.”

Game 6 lessons

The Wild are 5-13 in their past 18 playoff home games, but the good news is that one of those wins came in 2021 when they came back from down 3-2 at home against Vegas and won Game 6 by shutout.

“Flower, Revo, those guys were on the other side of it, and you can carry that momentum into Game 7,” defenseman Matt Dumba said of Marc-Andre Fleury and Reaves. “I think we learned what happened in Game 7 after we got through that Game 6.

“The first period, (Jonas Brodin) was (injured) because Revo hit him, but now we have Revo. So I think there’s a big group of us that were on that team and we learned a lesson there – not to hold the stick too tightly. You just have to play. It’s another game. You have to amplify the focus and lock in for just 60 minutes. You have to let other things take care of themselves and not get too hung up on anything.”

Dumba is trying to focus now because he knows that if the Wild lose one more game in this series, his career with the team will be over.

“Through the playoffs, it’s highs and lows,” Dumba said. “Even Flower was talking about how he was down 3-2 (in 2009) in the finals when he won (with Pittsburgh). What did it come down to (Game 7)? He’s jumping over the net and stops (Nicklas) Lidstrom in the last second of the game. So, that’s what the playoffs are like. It’s a wild ride and you have to be prepared for it all.”

The Wild had played well in their previous two home games of the series, so goalkeeper Filip Gustavson bluntly stated, “We have nothing to lose, really. So we have to play with urgency. And if we don’t stick to the game plan, we’re going to have a hard time.

Going wild to Stockholm

For the first time in 13 years, the Wild will play regular-season games in Europe next season when the 2023 NHL Global Series travels to Stockholm, Sweden with four teams — the Wild, Red Wings, Senators and Maple Leafs — playing two games. Every Nov. 16-19.

The Wild play Nov. 18 (5 p.m., Stockholm time, which is seven hours ahead CT) against Ottawa and Nov. 19 (2 p.m., Stockholm time) against Toronto.

The Wild have eight Swedes on their playoff roster – the injured Joel Eriksson one, Jonas Brodin and Jasper Volstad (he plans to start next season in Iowa), restricted free agent Gustavsson and unrestricted free agents Nyqvist, Johansson, John Klingberg remaining. and Sundquist. The Wild are also excited about 2022 first-round pick Liam Ohgren, who is from Stockholm.

Assuming Gustavsson is re-signed, the Wild should have at least three Swedes on next season’s roster, perhaps more depending on if the cap-strapped team can find a way to keep players like Johansson and Nyqvist.

Wilde plans to go to Sweden for a week.

“It’s going to be such a fun time,” said Gustavson, who added that Brodin will have to show Wild teammates the sights because he’s a “big city” guy and probably knows the best spots.

Gustavsson comes from Skelleftea, a 10-hour drive north of Stockholm.

“It’s depressing in the winter,” Gustavsson said. “You went to school, it was dark. You walked home after dark. You never saw the sun during school. And took lots of vitamin D. And then in the summer, it’s amazing. Because then you can stay out with friends all night, and the sun starts to rise again at 2 o’clock.

The Wild opened the 2010–11 season in Helsinki, Finland.

odds and ends

• The Wild called up six forwards (Adam Beckman, Steven Fogarty, Nick Payton, Marco Rossi, Nick Swaney and Sammy Walker), two defensemen (Damon Hunt and Dakota Mermis) and one goaltender (Zane McIntyre) to serve as Black Aces already. were -Remembered Volstead and Hunter Jones. The hope, obviously, is that this lasts more than one day because when the playoffs end, so will their season.

• Joe Pavelski, who was rattled when he was checked by Dumba in the second period of Game 1, practiced Thursday in Dallas and plans to travel with the team to Minnesota. He is expected to participate in Friday’s midday pregame skate for the Stars and is a game-time decision, but indications Thursday were that he would not play. He rotated in and out of the fourth line and Tyler Seguin, who had four power-play goals, replaced Pavelski on the No. 1 unit. If Pavelski returns, saving him for a potential Game 7 makes sense.

(Photo by Marcus Foligno: Jerome Miron/USA Today)

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Microsoft, Activision-Blizzard, and the CMA: So, what's next?  - IGN

Microsoft, Activision-Blizzard, and the CMA: So, what’s next? – IGN


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