It really sucks to be a loyal Minnesota Wild fan right about now. Think about it for a minute...
In the last 60 days, the Wild have played 25 games. In that 25-game stretch, the local sextet has a 5 win, 15 loss, 5 overtime-loss record, for 15 points. That's an embarrassing, almost astonishing .300 record.
Now, while fans of most other NHL teams would be absolutely up in arms over this predicament, the fact is that the team has no one else to blame but the other guys in the room. Not the coaching staff, not the adminsitration, not any of the supporting cast. Just the men in the room themselves.
I have to wonder if the Wild have stopped listening to the coaching staff...again. Like last season, when after getting demolished in Nashville and Dallas in back-to-back nights, the Wild decided, on their own, to just go thru the motions of playing out the schedule. And, the last three weeks became some of the worst weeks of Wild hockey, since the inception of the franchise in 2000.
(Remember the snowman (8-0) that Montreal put up on Sunday afternoon, March 20? The 6-3 blowout by St. Louis two days later?)
This team is perilously close to THAT KIND of finish. Not a playoff team any longer, the Wild have already set an NHL record for futility during the season, having been the first team that was in 1st Place in the entire LEAGUE for more than 5 days, to fall completely out of the playoffs in the same season.
Having long since moved out of the penthouse, the Wild have been periously close to falling right into the outhouse. This team needs heart. This team needs passion. This team needs a collective soul.
And, this team desperately needs to get rid of the dead weight -- again -- that has accumulated on the roster. Zidlicky, Zanon, Lundin, any forward with a no-trade/no-movement clause not named Koivu, and anyone else that can be moved out the door.
While being comfortable near the playoff race is OK for some Minnesota sports fans, the economics of the sport require that teams win in order to be successful. And, folks, would YOU call this team a success this season?