Minnesota Wild: ESPN Ultimate Standings #78

The Wild saw their overall rank decrease from 66 to 78 this season, and Bryan and I were quoted by Morty Ain for his article in ESPN Magazine's Ultimate Standings.

Ultimate Standings 2010: No. 78
Last Year's Rank: 66

Title Track: 88
Ownership: 60
Coaching: 80
Players: 74
Fan Relations: 32
Affordability: 85
Stadium Experience: 3
Bang for the Buck: 105

While the Xcel Center is not yet showing its age, the cost of losing, however, is getting very old. The Wild again failed to produce a 25+ goal scorer and for the fourth time in six years they were denied a glimpse of the slightest growth of playoff stubble. And all it cost was the priciest hockey tix in the U.S.

"The cost of a Wild game is ridiculous when compared to on-ice success," says BReynolds of Hockeywilderness.com. "Eventually the Wild are going to blow right past the equilibrium point of supply and demand, and their sell-out streak is going to end abruptly." This is all a shame because the Xcel Center boasts 19 concession stands, five public gate entrances, four interactive areas and some of the most beautiful sightlines in the league. Plus, the arena supplies a courteous and friendly staff who heroically manage to soothe a frustrated puck obsessed fanbase.

While the newly minted Target Field is giving Minnesotans a chance to revel in the sunshine, it's also helping to expose a few chinks in the armor of the former No. 1 stadium in our poll. At 101 feet the Twins HD scoreboard is almost three times the length of the Wild's LED screen and their concession stand is giving the Twin City cravings for something else.

"There is no reason we can't have some good locally-sourced options, much like Target Field did with the Murray's steak sandwich, Loon Cafe chili, JD Hoyt's pork chop on a stick and Vincent Burger," says Nathan Eide of hockeywilderness.com. "So, if you can spend $200 for a Twins game with a newer arena, better food options, outside in the sun with a better on-field product or $200 for a 10-year old hockey rink with terrible concessions and a less than mediocre on-ice product, which are you going to attend in a bad economy?"

Good point Nathan, any chance the Wild could lease Joe Mauer?

Wilderness, what do you think? Too low? Too high? About right?

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