Here's hoping everyone survived the holiday and found their way back to the only thing that really matters. Hockey.
Of course, that's a joke, but it certainly will be nice to see some hockey tonight, won't it? Stretches of time away from the game, even when packed with family and friends, tend to wear on. It just goes to show what a vital spot hockey holds for us all, if that role is simply an escape for a few hours. Makes you wonder what we do all summer.
With the Wild slipping, and the critics growing in strength, the Wild could use a turn of luck. Will it be enough for Mikko Koivu to return? Are the days gone when the bounces went the Wild's way? Was it all an illusion? We're not sure anyone stopping by here actually believes that is true, so we'll just move on.
After the jump, a look at last week, and a look ahead.
What's the best word to describe last week? Frustrating? Disgusting? Maddening? Regression? You choose and let us know. What we know is that the Wild lost to the Canucks, Flames, and Oilers. If there were three teams to lose to to churn the stomachs of Wild fans, those are the three. The six points were far more important than anything it may have meant to Wild fans, and those six points were... lost.
Not only were the six points lost, they were lost in impressively ugly fashion. After an exciting game in Winnipeg, and then another at home against the Blackhawks, the Wild suddenly reverted to the dump and chase, lost on the ice team we saw all of last season. If the Todd Richards Wild are back, the good will built with fans will disappear quickly.
The Week Ahead
Another four games in seven days, including a back to back, with travel. That should be removed from the schedule. It's ridiculous and unnecessary. Of course, so is the need to justify a hit from behind by calling it a "toe pick," but we deal with that, too.
The week starts tonight, in a game that is always interesting. The day after the holiday layover, no practice in three days, players coming back into town from the far stretches of the continent. Both teams will likely be sluggish, lost, and ugly for at least the first few minutes. The first team to find their game will win. Coupled with the fact the game is against the always exciting Avalanche, this one could be a snoozefest.
Then, it's off to Nashville for a quick match against the Predators with their high power defense and goaltending. Not much to get overly excited about, other than the fact that the Preds have some of the best fans in the league, meaning the game should, at very least, be fun to talk about.
The quick turn around comes just in time for everyone's favorite fan base for the final time of the year. Thank everything holy for that. It's truly depressing that the game matters so little in that particular matchup. Win or lose, it will be completely unenjoyable.
Finally, the week, and the year, close out against the Coyotes on New Year's Eve. Always fun to have the desert dogs in town. By then, the Wild better hope they have turned things around, because the Coyotes are a fairly consistent team and certainly win more than they lose. If the week is going poorly by this point, don't expect it to change direction in this one.
Enjoy the week, all.