Russo tells us that the Wild is 6-2-1 in their last nine (I looked it up, he's right - as usual.)
Doc Emrick told us last night on Versus that the Wild is now only 2 points out of a playoff spot (I looked that up too, he's right - as usual.)
By the way, that game was crazy hard to watch. That is to say: boring. As a Wild fan, that was watching the Wild team Ghost of Christmas past play the Wild team Ghost of Christmas present and hopefully not the Ghost of Christmas future. Holy Sher-Woods, what a boring game.
Okay, so the Wild is in 12th place in the West - which was roughly where they were back when I started calling for Richards to be put to sleep, which was also roughly about the time they started this run. In other words, even the Canucks wouldn't be planning any parade routes just yet if we were talking about them. Well, okay, maybe the Canucks would. But no other teams.
I mean, 6-2-1, .666 hockey, 72% of possible points...that's....that's....dare I say good?
Oh, there's still strong anecdotal evidence bespeaking a healthy dose of smoke and mirrors (bottom-third goals-for average, middle-of-the-pack goals-against average, crap home record) is at play here. But, the results...well let's just say that a major difference between those stats last year and those stats this year is that they are yielding different results in the W-L-OTL columns. For the better this season, like.
It just, it doesn't feel right.
Maybe that's 35 years of Minnesota sports teams-created angst coming to bear on my natural inclination to the Pollyannian.
...Yeah, I couldn't even type that with a straight face.
So, I'm a glass-half empty kind of sports fan...sue me.
I guess the bottom line is that I just don't know with this Wild team.
Did they get it? Did they resolve internal personnel issues? Did they coalesce into something resembling a playoff hockey team? Was it Butch coming back? Was it Burns getting back to pre-injury form? Was it Theo providing an option for when Bax had his first ever slump? Was it finally having enough serviceable pieces in Houston to survive an injury or two, or to be able to bench a guy who deserved to be benched?
Likely, it's bits of all those things and more. Ergo sum: I just don't know with this Wild team.
So, you tell me: is the Wild a playoff team, or have they just been impersonating one for the last couple weeks?