The Wild certainly have one thing going for them - consistently inconsistent. Except when they lose, apparently. Three straight losses have been by a 5-2 margin, giving the impression that if you're going to go, go big. However, two of those losses have come to teams they certainly should have been capable of beating.
As of right now, the brass has seen enough, and made some changes to shake things up a bit. The defense gets an infusion of veteran savvy and the youth movement gets a reminder that they either play, or they go home. Always a good reminder to get, even if it is a painful one.
The week behind was not pretty, the week ahead daunting. Make the jump for the full recap and preview.
The past week was not very good. The one game we felt might have been the toughest proved to be a shootout win and a coming out party for the Kaptain. The two games the Wild should have had zero problem winning turned out to be the two they lost. With the Oilers, it was "looked good but got stomped," and with the Flames it was "looked terrible and got lucky to only give up five."
Somewhere along the way, they forgot how to play their game. They continue to fall back on dump and watch hockey, and the stupid little chip passes up the boards without checking to see if there is someone there to get that pass. It is ugly, and if they expect to get back to winning, they are going to need to find a way to quit that. And quickly.
The worst part is that the Wild just had to lose in front of two of the most obnoxious fan bases on the planet, and so we were all treated to a lesson in "I told you so." Thanks, guys.
The Week Ahead
Four games this week. Not much time to sit back and feel sorry for themselves. With the tow losses, roster moves have been made, new players are on board, and better be hungry to stay.
First up, tonight, are the Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite having Steven Stamkos, Vinny Lecavalier, and Martin St. Louis, are somehow considered a boring hockey team. I would kill to be that kind of boring. If the Lightning could figure out their goaltending situation, they could be an unstoppable force. You want to know why they play the system of defense they do? Look at the net. You'll figure it out.
Hey Bolts... Harding for Stamkos? Done.
The Wild then travel to Edmonton for yet another match up with the Oilers. The Brad Staubitz / Darcy Hordichuk soap opera will get way too much attention, and likely nothing will happen. Of course, it will give us all one more chance to hear about how great the kids in Edmonton are, and another taste of advanced numbers. So you have that to look forward to.
Can the Wild move to the Central, just so we don't have to deal with Alberta anymore? The Canucks can even come along for all I care.
Because Edmonton and St. Paul are so close together, the Wild get to then fly home and play the New Jersey Devils on December 2nd. Could be cool if David McIntyre is still around. Maybe the Wild bring Zach Parise out west with them? Come on... could be fun.
To top off a wonderful week of travel, the Wild, in the course of five days or so go from St. Paul to Edmonton, back to St. Paul, and then out to Anaheim. The last trip out to the left coast did not go so well, but they did play well against the Ducks. This road trip starts out what is a brutal stretch of games, with the large majority of them on the road. How they play over the next month or so will have a huge impact on their season, and it is not going to be easy.
What it All Means
The Wild are face to face with reality. The season in nearly two months old, they have had success, and they have tasted failure. Now, they face an impending challenge that they have not seen yet. Long stretches of road hockey can either forge a winning program, or rip one apart at the seams. The travel schedule this week is just another example of why the Wild should not be in a division with three teams two time zones away.
Such is life. Find a way to win, or your fans will have to hear about so many statistics, it will feel like the national meeting of the Accountants Association of Ameri.... zzzzzz.