PHT: Heatley, Setoguchi know roles in Minnesota

July 12, 2011, 4:48 pm
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July 12, 2011SHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEOJames O'Brien

There are a lot of fantastic things that come from the generalized unselfishness exhibited by hockey players. Theyre sports-wide leaders in Aw shucks quotes and tend to be generous when it comes to charitable causes (and also seem generous enough to lay their bodies in front of 100 mph slap shots). Those are all great things, but sometimes that attitude has some drawbacks.

One of the most obvious, teeth-clenching moments comes when a player seems unwilling to put a puck on net. Whether its a 2-on-1 that short circuits because the forwards got too cute with one-too-many passes or a defenseman whose point shots rarely make it to the net because theyve telegraphed their attempts, there are times when its flat-out frustrating to watch this unselfishness in action. (Maybe theres an element of players preserving their shooting percentages, too, but wed like to think that isnt a frequent concern.)

Setoguchi: "Youre going to find that Im just going to shoot the puck. Thats all what I try to do. I get the puck, I shoot it. I dont hold onto it, I dont make nice, really sweet plays with it. I just shoot it. Im going to skate and shoot and hit, and thats my plan."
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Soon-to-be-outgoing Minnesota Wild coach Todd Richards cringed when people used the same trap-happy label for his more wide-open team last season, but the bottom line was that the Wild didnt have the weapons to justify opening things up. The hockey blogosphere has been flush with debate regarding the true winner of the deal that sent Martin Havlat to San Jose in exchange for Dany Heatley, but it seems like the Wild are finally willing to dive into the deep end after a couple years of dipping their toes in the shallow end of the pool when it comes to opening things up.

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It might be a loss in the grand scheme of things; Havlat is a little bit more versatile than Heatley and losing Brent Burns in the Devin Setoguchi deal could really hurt a Wild blueline that lacks any apparent dynamism. That being said, the Wild obviously needed a change and those two blockbuster trades will provide that (if nothing else).