I really didn't want to do this. It's not the humble pie (I said at the beginning of the season that they were not a playoff team and would be out of it early) so much as I just know better. Too many years of disappointments (with our luck as Minnesota teams' fans, the Wild will draw the Yankees in the first round), too many self-admonishments to "never let this happen to me again". "This" is getting wrapped up in a team - against all rational thought - and then getting my heart stomped on.
But, there's just something about this Wild team. I'm not saying I expect them to go anywhere (see, it's not TOTAL capitulation) if they do make the playoffs, but they're taking us on a fun ride this season.
And I've found myself watching the scoreboard, planning my week around their schedule, and - here's the kicker - not getting totally bummed out when they lose. That's how you know. I'm......dare I say, satisfied?
Oh I was all about firing Richards. And I still think the turnaround from last year is as much about Rick Wilson as anyone. But I'm nowhere near as violently opposed to Richards as coach anymore. And, I'll tell you a secret: at this point even if they don't make the playoffs (much less advance in them if they do) I won't get back on the "fire Richards" bandwagon.
That's what winning does. It buys you time. And time is something that the Wild needs. I'd bet that Fletcher would rather have a lottery pick than a playoff berth this season, as far as the long-term development of the team is concerned. But I bet he also would rather have fewer upheavals to his hockey ops and roster than more, and missing the playoffs - or not going on this run - might have indicated for firing his head coach.
So, yeah, Wild. I'm in. I'm on board with you for this playoff drive.