Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Minnesota Wild: Least Intriguing Team in NHL?

If you're a Wild fan reading this, I ask you to try to step outside your Wild fan skin for a second and adopt a non-Wild fan mentality.


Okay, now I ask you: what about this Wild team is interesting, right now?

Because, I've asked myself that same question for pretty much the entire season, and the answer I keep coming up with is: nothing. Nada. Nathan. Nil. Bopkus.

I mean, what are the top things that accrue into intrigue in sports?

Major over-achievement
Major under-achievement

Conflict: about the only thing that falls into this category with the current Wild team is the transition from Risebrough/Lemaire to Fletcher/Richards and, since that's been the only source of conflict since JL bailed after game 82 last season, it's pretty much dead in the water at this point.

Superstars: Our best entry into this category, vis-a-vis the NHL is either Martin Havlat, Mikko Koivu or Brent Burns. Havlat's a fan's wet dream as far as accessability goes. But almost to the point of undermining his superstar-ness. He's not nearly sensational enough, nor is he truly among the most talented players in the game, to warrant true Superstar status.

Mikko, first off, he's Finnish for Pete's sake. That's a culture of people that historically hasn't exactly demanded the spotlight. Second, if the early going of this season is any indication, concerns (from yours truly, if no one else) that he isn't a legit top flight first line center in the NHL were bang on. He's a good - damn good - player, to be sure. And he's the best center on the Wild by a comfortable margin. But, as Manny Fernandez was a second-tier #1 goalie in the NHL, so too is Mikko Koivu a second-tier first line center in the NHL.

Burnsie has the personality, the quirky hobbies (his freakin' zoo) and the skills to be a Superstar. Problem is his game isn't exactly there yet (see Burns competitive analysis.)

Major over-achievement: is just not an issue for this team. To begin with, they're not talented enough. Also, whether it's because they're still Learning The System or something else, they're still not playing up to potential. No, it does not appear too many people in the Wild organEYEzation will injure their arm patting themselves on the back this season.

Major under-achievement: would be a potential for intrigue with this team, but they can't seem to make up their mind, and have now given up ground to the Ducks and Canes in the race for second-worst in the NHL. Their road record (1-8) definitely puts them in the running for some major under-achievement intrigue mojo. But their home record (4-1) undermines it. That's right, the Wild can't even be bad well.

So, Conflict? Try again. Superstars? Get outta here. Major over-achievement? Please. Major under-achievement? Yeah, but what about those back-to-back wins over the Rags and Pens?

Yep, this Wild team is only good at one thing right now: being dead boring.



Unknown said...

Well, at least they aren't the poster children for trap hockey anymore. If that was still the case, you may as well hand out pillows at the gate.

Zid's fight with Crosby definately upped the entertainment level though. Everyone loves to see a superstar fly off the handle.

Dampland said...

Yes they are bad, boring, benign, what ever else you want to say, but I can't say I am surprised. When your Fridge is nearly empty, except for some condiments, and your cupboard is bare, it is hard to make a gourmet meal.

Thus far the Wild are teh SPAM of the NHL, and will continue to be so for 2-3 more seasons.

But, it is still pro hockey, so I'll keep watching.

Unknown said...

Got to disagree here, as a Havlat fan (he is anything but boring) followed the Blackhawks but I find the Wild more interesting just because of the things you cited-Havlats struggling with the new team and his accessability is what makes him the most interesting player now.
A team that is struggling is always more interesting than one that is not, to me anyway.

tVelin said...

I believe that this franchise has never been interesting to anyone other than Wild fans. Part of that is probably because they are still a relatively new franchise and part because of their reputation they received under Lemaire.

KiPA - Kevin in PA said...

Kind of ironic that the "Wild" are "boring."

Nick in New York said...

geez, if you listen to all the so-called hockey pundits, the Wild has been boring since birth given that Lemaire was at the helm.