Last night the Minnesota Wild lost to the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Watching the game was one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve had as a fan, not because the Wild played poorly, but because they seemed to be doing everything right. Going into the 2nd break one of the announcers said “The Wild need to turn it on” and my thought was what more COULD they do to turn it on. They were forechecking like mad men, Mikko was possessed, again, and they were creating chances. But the combination of the Canucks defense and some bad puck luck meant the game did not go their way. (Of course the Wild did turn it on even more in the 3rd, somehow, as the Canucks did not get a SOG until after the goalie was pulled)
join me after the jump.
However the most telling moment of the game actually occurred during a conversation with a friend. I wrote, “This game is killing me. Wild are creating chance after chance but can’t catch a break.” But then after a few moments it hit me and I wrote, “But what does it say about this team that they are playing the league’s best and I fully expect them to win.” I am by nature a glass half empty guy when it comes to my teams. Being a life-long Cubs fan will do that to you. The Wild have played the Canucks very well this season but in their previous matchups I was worried they would trampled. I may not have much love for Vancouver, but there is no denying they are a talented team. So the leagues best team faces the Wild and going into the game I fully believed the Wild could come out the winner. Its hard to put it into words, but for this fan that is significant.
So why would I believe in this team? Well for starters they have been hot since the new year. They have used 3 different goalies and each of those goalies has played exceptionally. The team is buying into the system and the system is working. Mikko Koivu has been on a mission and he will see the fruits of that sooner rather than later. This team is playing like a team. On top of that Marek Zidlicky and Guillaume Latendresse are set for returns which should give a boost to both the breakouts and the scoring. Jared Spurgeon has stepped up big to fill Zidlicky’s skates, but bringing back their best puck mover will only make the team better.
It will be tough to make the playoffs and even tougher to make a long run once they get their. But this team has this cynic believing they could do it. And hey, nobody expected that 2003 team to do what they did either.
Topics: Andrew Brunette, Antti Miettinen, Brent Burns, Cal Clutterbuck, Cam Barker, Chuck Fletcher, Chuck Kobasew, Clayton Stoner, Eric Nystrom, Greg Zanon, Guillaume Latendresse, John Madden, Jose Theodore, Kyle Brodziak, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Havlat, Matt Cullen, Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild, Nick Schultz, Niklas Backstrom, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Todd Richards, Vancouver Canucks