Okay, Mikko, all eyes on you now.
You got the big money. You got rid of the coach. You got rid of Havlat. You had your BFF taken away from you, and your other perma-linemate is also gone. Your reputation preceded you to the point that the new coach decided it was prudent to travel to Finland to meet you (pretty sure he didn't travel to Welland to meet Cal). You are squarely in the epicenter of this team. And I'm done fucking around with you.
It's always been something.
Too young. Still acclimating to life away from Finland. It's hard playing under the shadow of your big brother. Under-skilled linemates holding you back. Injuries (okay, I'll give you those. It's not like you've missed time with a sore leg...), or trying to do too much, or asked to do too much...
Wild fans have had to defend you while at the same time trying to convince other fans that you were underrated on a league-wide scale. I've hated that. I've had you down as a 2nd tier top line center in the league for a while now. I managed my own expectations of you. You haven't disappointed me. But you have left me wanting more.
But now that blue cross from your country's flag is centered right on your back.
A Flames fan asked me earlier this summer what my expectations for you were for this season. His point was: what is holding back my expectations? You are our Iginla. You need to start playing and acting like our Iginla. You know what? He's right.
Yesterday, in Russo's chat, someone pointed out that you had failed to develop any chemistry with the previous most-talent players the Wild has had. And then asked Russo what it would say about you if you fail to do so with Setoguchi or Heatley. Russo's answer spoke volumes: "That's a terrific question."
I think a Selke is possible for you. And that is my expectation for you this season. We all know your passion for three-zone play and that's awesome. But a top line center, making top line money, surrounded by top line wingers, needs to also put up top line points.
That's a lot to ask, for sure.
But it's your job to prove to us that it's too much to ask.
This is a huge, huge season for you.