Monday, June 10, 2013

'Six-Pack of Suck': The Light edition

Honestly. We couldn't do this even though we are still disappointed that the Minnesota Wild didn't do more against the Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs. But, since everyone else is putting the season away, I thought I might as well do the same.

But, we also have to be somewhat fair. The Wild only played 48 regular-season (and 5 post-season) games. About 60% of the regular season schedule. So, with less of a pool of games to choose from, there are less games to really say 'God, they sucked that night.' And so, with all that as a backdrop, here is the 'light' edition of the Six-Pack of Suck, or three games the Wild really wished later they had won:

1. February 14, 2013. Colorado 4, Minnesota 3 (SO). In front of a raucous, Valentine's Day crowd of 18,822 at Xcel Energy Center, the Avs came back right after Mikko Koivu put the Wild ahead with just eight minutes remaining in regulation. On the next shift, Colorado's Matt Duchene tied it up as the Wild once again tried to lay back and cruise to a win. Not so, as the Avs went 2-for-2 against Niklas Backstrom to win it in the extra session. The Wild would go on to win 4 of the next 5, but really, Valentine's Day would have been that much better with a 'W' by the home squad.

2. April 21, 2013. Calgary 4, Minnesota 1. The last week of the regular season started with this God-awful showing by the Wild, who managed to bumble and stumble their way to losing at home to a Calgary team, which was 2/3rds Flames and 1/3rd Abbotsford Heat players, pushing the Wild's April loss streak at home to a sickening 5 straight games.

The Wild just couldn't get the deal done, as they threw away their chance to clinch a playoff spot (and also play either St. Louis or San Jose in the first round, as opposed to Anaheim or Chicago) with this lack of finish in this game.

Despite outshooting the Flames 35-24 for the game as a whole, the Flames outshot the Wild 12-10 in the crucial 3rd period, as the Flames scored twice against Backstrom in the last 7:20 (one an empty net goal) as the Wild slunk away into the night.

The Wild ended the night three points ahead of the ninth-place Dallas Stars, a team which gutted its' roster three weeks earler at the trade deadline, as their April record waned to a wretched 3-7-1.

3. April 26, 2013. Edmonton 6, Minnesota 1. 'Fan Appreciation Night' at the 'X' turned into 'Fan Apprehension Night', after only 27 seconds in this one, where by that time, there was a Zenon Konopka fight, an Edmonton goal, and a Wild team in really desperate straits.

And it would only go downhill from there. I was so 'appreciated' by the half-way mark of this game, I walked out and did not see either of Nail Yakupov's two goals (on consecutive shifts, by the way). I wasn't alone, as the place was half-empty by the time Koivu scored in the 3rd, to break up Nikolai Khabibulin's shutout.

The only thing I could 'appreciate' about this game is that I could go to bed on time, as I was home well before the final horn sounded to end this turkey of a contest. The Oilers were going nowhere, and if not for the Wild's game the next day at Colorado, neither were the Wild going anywhere.

Jeff Rimer, the play-by-play man for the Columbus Blue Jackets, surmised that the Jackets would have been a better opponent for the Blackhawks than were the Wild. We can argue that forever, but I don't think that anyone could have stopped the Blackhawks in the first round, save for the Hawks themselves.

Bring on the post-season, folks. Time to remodel the roster.