The Minnesota Wild have been written off, once again, by hockey analysts and panels nationwide. This seems to be a regular thing, despite the fact that they keep making the playoffs, year-on-year.
With any luck, the Minnesota Wild locker-room will take it to heart; we all saw what the ‘Golden Misfits’ tag did for the Vegas Golden Knights last year.
They face the Vegas Golden Knights early on in the season, it’ll be interesting to see the difference this year, as last year really put a chip on the team’s shoulder – it meant they became determined to show they were larger than the sum of their parts.
The Twin Cities Pioneer Press pointed this out recently, mentioning that Bruce Boudreau called everyone out with the ‘no-respect card’:
"That’s Brucey, he finds a way to light a fire under people every day. That’s why guys like him. He’s a motivator. – Matt Dumba (Twin Cities Pioneer Press)"
It’s clear, that whether it’s because of Boudreau’s message or whether it’s quite simply a group mentality derived from more than that, the Minnesota Wild team has a certain chirpiness to their approach.
Put elite sportspeople with their backs to the wall and more often that not, they’ll find a way to perform.
That’s exactly what the press are doing by painting the Minnesota Wild into a corner whereby they don’t think they can escape the Central Division.
Now, obviously the challenges the team shall face won’t be easy to overcome; the Nashville Predators got no weaker over summer, the Winnipeg Jets got a year older and the St. Louis Blues made some big moves in free agency in a bid to push back into the playoff picture.
It’s definitely a hope that the team find themselves removed from any shackles associated with media expectations.
They can feel free to play the game that they want – a relaxed team is usually a happy team. Even better, a team that has that swagger and want to prove people wrong.
That is the sign of a team that has all the potential to put it to their doubters and continue their play-off streak. Fingers crossed.