We’re back, folks! Long story, I’ll tell it when I’m less incensed.
Welcome to the postseason! Unfortunately, the Wild will not be part of it. The final game of the year was a definite disappointment with a 4-1 loss to Phoenix. The only real excitement came with about 30 seconds left following Dany Heatley being badly boarded and Mikko Koivu proceeding to go Coyote hunting. A solid “I’m the captain” ending from Koivu, but a bad season for the team overall.
The big question is “why?!” The Wild were the top team in the league into December, and yet failed to even make the playoffs.
Injuries played a major role. Two full hockey teams suited up in Minnesota sweaters this year. That’s a horrible situation for any coaching staff because you have no consistency and no time to integrate players into the team’s system. If you wondered about why there was zero consistency in lines between games, look no further. The line change ups were nothing more than Yeo and company trying to keep a somewhat non-embarrassing product on the ice throughout the games.
The GM’s office bears a lot of responsibility, and with a few notable exceptions (e.g. Leddy), I’m not talking about Fletcher. If you look at a list of what Risebrough left in his wake, I’m surprised we’ve won any games since about 2008. Horrible trades, loss of top players, wastes of draft picks…and so on, and so forth. Risebrough obviously has a brain for the game…look at Edmonton…but he should never be a GM. Or perhaps he hated Minnesota. That’s always an option too.
Keys to this offseason: prospects, and big fish. We FINALLY, courtesy of Fletcher, have a pipeline worth getting excited over. Granlund, Coyle, Zucker, Genoway, Larsson…the names just keep coming. It’s a late replacement for the mess of 2004-2008. Along with that, we need a big name, and I don’t mean Heatley or Setoguchi. Koivu is the heart of the team, but we need a scorer along the lines of Parise. Not only would such an acquisition translate into goals, but it would motivate the Heatleys and Setoguchis to step up their games as well.
I’ll get into this more in depth as we go, but I’m also going to give my version of playoff coverage. What teams will I be rooting for?
Boston – always liked the Bruins. Still do. Tim Thomas rocks…anyone who tackles a Sedin is a favorite in my book.
Blackhawks – I grew up in Milwaukee, so the Hawks were the closet thing I had to a NHL team.
Who will I NOT be rooting for? That’s easy. The Canucks.