Sunday, March 24, 2013

Post-Game: Wild vs. Sharks


We're witnessing a miracle. That's what it is. It's not luck. It's not taking advantage of poor opposition play (Colorado notwithstanding). And, what I've come to accept, is that it's also not a hot streak which carries the implication of a cooling off period at some point in the future.

No, in the full context of the history of the Minnesota Wild, this is a miracle. We have wandered through the desert of bad hockey for twelve years, and have been delivered.

This team has always struggled to play well for 60 consecutive minutes. No longer.

This team has never received consistent secondary scoring for this long. Now it does.

This team always used to perform despite what appeared to be either confusion about the application of the coach's system or plain old indifference to it. Now they're automatons.

Actually, that last one isn't quite true. The only other time I've seen this team adhere to the system this comprehensively and consistently for this amount of time was the 2003 Western Conference Finals team. And this team - the 2013 team - would whip that team's ass. Skate circles around it.

Yeah, I was one of the people wondering if Yeo was the right guy earlier this season. I'm not ashamed to admit how rash that seems now.

Yeah, I was one of the people wondering if Seto wouldn't be better off elsewhere. Humble pie city.

Yeah, I was one of the guys slamming Matt Cullen for his horrid play earlier this season. My bad.

Yeah, I was one of the fans saying trade Bouchard for whatever you can....well that one's still intact.

I'm not saying they're going to win the rest of their games. Not at all. I'm just saying this isn't some fugue state they've entered into that they'll eventually snap out of. No, I expect this level of play to continue. This adherence to the system. This discipline (Konopka notwithstanding). This defensive buy-in. This goaltending. Because that's what it takes to win in the NHL. That's how good teams play. That's how playoff teams play. And that's the standard for this team, now. I'm in, guys. But that carries expectations. Of standards of play. No more shifts, periods, games off. Work hard and lose? Okay, just not too often. That's progress. That's a miracle.

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