Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wild Playing a Mature Game

by NiNY

Last night's game against the Predators was a revelation for me. The Wild was poised, calm, mature and professional for a full 60-minutes as they methodically wore down the Predators (who, in fairness, had played and traveled Tuesday night) en route to a 3-2, come from behind victory.

The Wild even had to navigate the game day disruption of Backstrom becoming unavailable, Harding getting the nod, and the signing of a 51 year old backup before the game.

If you've watched as many Wild games as I have over the years, you saw a level of poise and focus from the Wild that they have rarely exhibited in the past. Additionally, they were able to sustain it for the full 60 and that's, why that's a Thanksgiving miracle!

If Mike Yeo has instilled a mind frame of adherence to a style and strategy and gotten the boys to buy in, then that puts him in sole company with the 2003 Lemaire Western Conference Finals team.

I thought perhaps a few days off from the last game would have given the team the opportunity to read their press, revel in being atop the NHL and come out and lay an egg against a strong Nashville team. Silly me.

The Wild started strong but the Predators got a greasy goal on their first shot. Prior, lesser Wild teams would have sat back and licked their wounds at that point. But not Yeo's team. Not last night. Not, dare I say it, this... season?

It's going to take some time to get used to expecting the team to not fold under duress, frankly.

Years of Richards and, yes, Lemaire-led Wild teams folding their tents and slinking away into the night at the first or maybe second sign of determination from the opposition has created a certain expectation, perhaps in the way of a defense mechanism, among us fans.

This is an exciting proposition. But Minnesota fans will have to be coaxed and prodded into such a demeanor. We're more used to our teams teasing us with moments of brilliance only to burn our security blankets when we start to believe.

I'm willing to give Yeo a chance to be the exception to that rule. Why not?

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