Monday, March 21, 2011

Wild Efforts, Season Circling the Drain

by NiNY

Too good to be true. What a fun and exciting run. But, without offense, and unless Jacques Lemaire is your coach, the Minnesota Wild just doesn't have the horses.

Or, apparently, the leadership.

Still, they gave me more than I expected to get this season. Okay, so obviously the run that got them back into the playoff picture, however fleetingly, was the aberration. But it was still fun. For a brief moment, the Wild was back. I mean, "back" in the sense that they mattered again in the moment, for today, like. Not "back" as in "back to contending" or something like that. This isn't a fantasy blog.

But winning on good goaltending and staunch defense is a recipe that's familiar to Wild fans who have spent any time consuming this team since it was born. That was the recipe on which the "best" Wild teams to-date were predicated. Maybe it was just having Lemaire back in the league at all. Like a positive disturbance in the force, but just out in a different system somewhere. It's just....not a recipe for winning. Er, #winning. Whatever.

The point is really just how easy it is to delude ourselves. We want to be swept up in the great, intoxicating endorphin rush of a hot team. Like having a new girlfriend, it's enticing and romantic and all kinds of je ne sais quoi.

And, if the players don't know it, well then they're pretty damn good actors. "I'm not a hockey player dogging out the string in a lost season, but I play one on TV."

Unfortunately the Wild was just good enough to not get a high pick in the upcoming draft. But, with high draft picks, like an outdoor game, it seems the Wild's lot in life is to miss out.

So, while we grudgingly unpack our "Fire the coach!" aloha shirts and "Trade the players!" bermuda swim trunks for another visit to our summer homes, Wild fans are left to face their mortality yet again.

It will be tempting to blame the GM for not getting more guys at the deadline.

It will be tempting to blame Guillaume Latendresse for stuffing his face all summer, showing up to camp out of shape, and subsequently injuring himself and the team.

It will be tempting to blame James Sheppard's parents for not putting him on an ATV at the age of three.

It will be tempting to blame the coach for having no discernable personality as a head coach.

It will be tempting to blame the league for sending the team to Finland.

Don't give in to the temptations.

At least we didn't trade our (mid-)1st round pick at the deadline though. And at least we have the best multiple concussion victim forward in Finland waiting in the wings. And at least we have some flexibility with impending free agents we could let go.

Just accept our fate and put away the "Maybe this is our year" heavy coats and "This re-tread veteran third liner is really going to bring the room together" scarves and mittens until the fall.

There's always next year, Wild fans.

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