Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader. May your day be filled with turkey, stuffing, cranberries and all the good stuff that the holiday will bring. Having said that:
What the hell happened last night to the Minnesota Wild?
The fact of the matter is, in my opinion, that this team has actually forgotten how to win a hockey game. Two games in a row, they have managed to get blown out, at home, in front of some fairly large crowds. Back-to-back home blowouts, to two teams who will be battling it out (literally) for the Atlantic Division title this season -- the New York Rangers and Philadelphia -- while giving up 11 (count 'em!) goals in their last two games. In fact. there was a period of time in Wednesday night's game vs. the Flyers where the Wild did not manage a shot on goal for over 19 minutes of game time. The Wild have no clue as to how to get their collective act together.
And that is the real problem, that there is no plan in place to get the act together. The coaching staff has done everything with this group of players possible to get them motivated and playing as a cohesive unit. Yet, the wheels keep falling off the wagon. Time and again, the Wild get behind in games, attempt to make a furious comeback, only to either a) get blown out, b) mirror the old Lemaire style of 'trap' hockey, or c) just flat out go through the motions and get annhilated. Too often, either A or C has occurred. Way too often, has A or C occurred.
In only one game this season has the Wild outshot an opponent. ONE. Out of 20. Now, that doesn't make for that good a percentage when you are talking about an 82-game schedule. The fact is that this team, like Wild teams before them, is an offensively-challenged unit; the difference is that in the past, when Jacques Lemaire ran this team, they played defense so well, that you would never, EVER see two games back-to-back like Wild fans have seen the last five days. Now, with six games taking place in the next eight days (beginning Friday afternoon, vs. Nashville at the 'X') you would hope that the Wild gets its' act together. They have to. Time is indeed running out. This is the time of the season when the contenders (for the playoffs) separate themselves from the pretenders.
Or are we, fans of the Wild, the ones who have been pretending all along?