To say the Wild have had a rough go of things lately would be an understatement. We are told it is regression, that the Wild just were never all that good. Which is fine. Those of us who know the truth can be content in the fact that at least we know why something happened rather than just the fact that it did.
The truth of the matter is, things don't easier as the season moves forward. At the same time, things are certainly not insurmountable. I can't remember where I saw the numbers, but Wild opponents to this point in the season has something like a .480 winning percentage, and for the rest of the season it climbs to .510 (numbers are esitmations based on my fuzzy brain and lack of care for what the numbers actually were). Winning teams vs losing teams. Not exactly red hot teams, but still winning teams.
This week also starts the new year and a new month. Extra fun for us today.
The Week that Was
A 1-2-1 record for the week ended the eight game losing skid, but it did little to get back into the winning ways. By the way, five of their last eight losses have come when the Wild give up 4 goals.Maybe the defense should step up a bit. Just a thought.
Losses to the Avalanche and Coyotes should have been winnable games. Both were efforts worthy of a team looking to ride an eight game skid into the toilet. The shootout loss to Nashville was a "moral" victory and gave the team some confidence heading into the Edmonton game and the end of the losing streak.
Small steps on the way back to the way things were.
The Month of December
December under Todd Richards saw a record of 6-5-3. This December the team went 6-6-3. The good news is that they are still four wins up on last year's squad, so there is still a bit of a cushion. Last year's team then went 8-4-0 in January, which would certainly help to turn things around for this year's team if they can at least match that mark.
After an outstanding November that saw the Wild rise to the top of the NHL, December was an embarrassment, and anything short of that word is an insult to the fans who are now flocking to the X. After going on a tear through the Pacific Division to start the month, the team gave up on their coach, the system, and each other after suffering though a rash of injuries.
It's tough to blame them as the guys in the lineup were not exactly the creme of the crop, but it certainly was no excuse to not even play the system for a month. Ugly stuff.
The Week Ahead
The New Year starts with oh so much fun as the Wild head west. Again. A game Wednesday in Vancouver could give the Wild a chance to reassert themselves against their foe for the top spot in the division. Or, of course, it could be a chance to completely embarrass themselves again. Three of the five remaining injured players practiced today, meaning help is on the way, but is it enough?
Vancouver is red hot, and on the rise, with little likelihood of a drop off. They are not going to roll over against the Wild, even if Luongo still likely has fits every time he hears they are coming.
The week closes in Calgary on Saturday with yet another late game. This, again, should be a winnable game. With the injured few coming back, and the chance at what looks to be a soft two points, the Wild need to own this game.
January holds only three home games. If the Wild are going to stay near the top, they better find a way to sin some of these games on the road.