After an absolute 6-1 clobbering on Thursday night at the hands of the San Jose Sharks in the Silicon Valley, Minnesota Wild captains and teammates Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter held a private “council of chieftains” in an HP Pavilion hallway.
The war council lasted several minutes and, when asked what was discussed in the meeting of the minds, Parise chuckled, saying, “Brainstorming. It’s important not to dwell on that game. At the end of the day, it was a bad game, so that’s what we were talking about. We just didn’t want a carry-over. It stunk at the time, but let’s forget about it and move on.”
“It’s important for us guys that have played in the postseason to carry that message and convey it to the guys,” continued the Wild alternate captain. “In the playoffs, it doesn’t matter if you lose 10-1 or 1-0 in overtime. A loss is a loss. It’s important to move on and always think about tomorrow’s game.”
What does this mean for the Minnesota Wild? Expect your captains to breathe fire as they take to the ice tonight against a Calgary Flames team looking to play spoiler. There are two good things that came out of Thursday night’s thrashing by the Sharks: Niklas Backstrom’s early pull almost always guarantees stellar play from him in his next start, and Minnesota is spitting mad. What happened at the Shark Tank was inexcusable. It’s real easy to win against terrible teams—the Wild will face nothing of that sort if they make the playoffs—they need to be able to keep up with tough teams.
In fact, if Minnesota continues on the pace they’re on right now, they’ll likely face either the Anaheim Ducks or the mighty Chicago Blackhawks. A win tonight, and losses by Columbus and Dallas to San Jose and Los Angeles, respectively, will put Minnesota within a point of clinching a playoff spot with three games to go in the season. If Minnesota can pull out a win tonight, it puts them very close to clinching, but the real indicator will be how they rebound against a playoff-bound team when they host the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
Minnesota’s captains are made of tough stuff and aren’t about to back down with their team so close to making its first playoff run in five years. Every team lays an egg once in a while; as far as Parise, Koivu and Suter are concerned, that egg has been laid, and will not happen on their watch again. These men are players and human beings the rest of their team would go to war for—the Minnesota Wild are going to war and they’re not looking back.