The Wild got blown out last night. No one can argue it any other way. The Wild's spin team, usually good for at least some sort of positive no matter what, went eerily quiet. This is not an indictment of them, there simply isn't much positive to work with. Trust me, I searched for it last night.
The team that everyone who reads this blog loves more than their pets is on the ropes. Six straight losses, four on the road, one against the hapless Columbus Blue Jackets, the rest against teams around them in the playoff race. One comment on the recap said that one game is not an indication of what this team can do. Indeed, it is not, but six games is.
All of the negativity being built up is boiling and roiling. The team is frustrated, the management is frustrated, the media is frustrated, and most importantly, the fans are frustrated. Everyone involved is on edge, and no one wants to back down. At some point, we all need to realize, again, that it is just a game.
Make the jump and let's see if we can't figure out a way through this. It's a bit lengthy, so buckle up.
The Media Issue
This one gets me like no other, and it is the one portion of it I will not back down from. I have seen a couple people go after Russo for his blog last night. In that blog, Russo wrote about the players, at least one in particular, being upset with the way the media is portraying the team. He quotes Mikko Koivu as saying:
"I don't believe we give up at all," he said. "I think the effort's been there every single game. I know there's a lot of ... (the pause was classic) people who's questioning us, who's been questioning after every single loss we always have, but we have to learn to deal with that. We can't worry about that. We can't worry what people write about us or talk about us. It's a matter of these guys in the room. As long as we believe in each other, that's all that matters. It's not up to us what you guys write or people talk about."
The last two lines make the quote for me. Koivu is absolutely right. As long as they believe in each other, that's all that matters. However, it is up to them what the media writes about them. At least, to a point. Sure, we could write anything we want. We could blast anyone of them at any time for anything.
Has any member of the media covering the Wild done that? Send me a link where a member of the media blasted the Wild for no reason. You send the link, I'll post the responses from Russo and from us here at Hockey Wilderness blasting that person for the work they published. Where the hell do you think "Sorry Tom" came from?Why do you think Adrian Dater hates Wild bloggers so much?
Come on. The players play well, we write about it. They play poorly, we write about it. I ate my crow when they went from 14th to fifth. I even held on longer than most that they still had a chance. What we write about them is almost completely up to them. Writing negative articles during a winning streak is petty. Writing positive articles during a six game skid would just make us look stupid.
Final word on this - the players on the ice need to play the game. Russo can't score a goal in the NHL. He also can't give one up. If what Russo writes about them is weighing so heavily on their performance, maybe they should stop reading it.
Even the fans who agree with what Russo wrote are being rude about it. Last night, after Russo posted his blog, someone on Twitter, who I believe is a frequent visitor here, sent this tweet to Russo:
@Russostrib Wow, you finally removed Koivu's sack from your chin, well done, I am impressed.
Seriously? Absolutely ridiculous, tasteless attempt at whatever it was an attempt to do. If it was to be funny, it failed miserably. Those of you who like to blast the media for the way we interact with players, maybe you should remember one thing. You aren't there. Russo has to face these guys every single day, and has never backed away from asking the tough questions.
Half the time I stand there and listen to the questions Russo asks and wonder if I have the sack to ask them with an angry hockey player staring me down.
Being a journalist is all about relationships. After getting extended exposure to just what that means this season, I can tell you that you people don't know how good you've got it. I won't name names, but imagine if your only beat writer was the other guy on the beat. With "questions" about "razzle dazzle" that drag on for three minutes and addressing being in the "First Division." You know, the guy who doesn't know the difference between an RFA and a UFA.
Are we clear on this? I sure hope so. Bash the guy's work if you must, but until you see the view from inside, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I'm betting everyone bashing Russo for his treatment of players are the same people who wouldn't be able to get three words out if Koivu was standing in front of them because they would be so awestruck just to be in his presence.
See The Position You Put Me In?
Defending Russo isn't my job, and no, he did not ask me to do so. The reason this post exists is the same reason why I write posts blasting guys like Dater when they do something stupid. We are a site for fans, by fans. We have a unique position when it comes to dealing with the fans. When media or fans do something completely ridiculous, we'll write about it. We try to get to the heart of it and give you the truth of the matter, or at least or take on the truth.
I have the luxury of being one of the few members of the media who can tell you all where to cram it if I so choose. Newspaper writers can't always express their feelings toward the subscribers anymore than you can tell your customers where to go. I can, and in the rare situation it is warranted, I will. (Insert preachy, self-righteous slam of me here.)
Right now, most of you are dealing fairly well with everything, despite it being a huge disappointment. Some of you, however, need some time alone in a dark room to sort out why there is so much misplaced anger in your life.
The Wild missing the playoffs sucks, but guess what? The sun will come up tomorrow, and we will talk about what to do next to make it work. There is no need to pin this on Russo, no matter if you are paid to wear the jersey, or if you paid to wear the jersey.
We now return to our regularly scheduled not giving a damn.