It's here. The moment has finally arrived. I think I might actually cryfart tears of joy. (Enjoy that curveball of an image in your head.)
The Wild have primary and ACTUAL, AT THE VERY LEAST DECENT AND COMPETENT, SECONDARY SCORING. Holy sh*t. And it's pretty much all because of Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle. These are the kind of things that good teams get from time to time, thanks to their GM. Also, these are the kind of things that make me want to punch every Doug Risebrough draft in the mouth.
I can't believe someone would ever doubt Chuck Fletcher's amazing wisdom. What a tool this guy is.
This all comes down to those second and third lines, but most importantly, the center of that second line. The third line is a massive improvement from last year, just because Matt Cooke has helped Kyle Brodziak to elevate his game back to a level that gives the Wild quality 3rd line minutes night in, night out. But that 2nd line? Damn it's fun to watch them play.
Now, don't get me wrong, Matt Cullen did a hell of a job running that 2nd line last year. When you take into consideration the guys the Wild had on their 2nd line, it's a miracle they got so much out of that line. But, when that line was rolling, the Wild were an actual, competent hockey team. In the long run though, this edition of "secondary scoring" is so much better.
"Speed kills", as we all said last year when Cullen and Devin Setoguchi were doing their thang. That's true. That is absolutely true. But watching as your opponent controls the puck for a minute, creates a scoring chance or two, while having no chance whatsoever to even touch the puck? That eats you alive.
Right now, that 2nd line has everything. Granlund is as creative a center as you'll find in the NHL, Nino Niederreiter brings that physicality, but also possesses smooth hands, scoring touch and above average wheels. Jason Pominville? Tell me what that guy can't do.
The best part about all of this is that when the opposing team really shifts their focus to these guys defensively, Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise start rioting. And that's not a pretty sight if you're the opposing goalie.
And Coyle? OH GAWD THE TALENT! Because of Coyle, that 2nd line got rolling FAST at the start of the season. That's a luxury the Wild didn't have last season when Granlund was pretty much just learning the ropes as that 2nd line C. Now, because of Coyle's awesome play, Granlund got up to speed playing the wing position. When Coyle got hurt? Finnish Baby Jesus brought down the hammer of THOR!
(Pretty sure I'm mixing up stuff here, but, like, totally, whatever.)
So, this was just me telling you guys something we all know and have seen with our own eyes. The Wild, finally, have a consistent scoring threat behind that 1st line. Now, on most nights, you can trust that there's at least that one line that's creating havoc in the offensive zone throughout the game. That's what good teams have.
So, what are the Wild missing in order to be a threat in the Play-Offs? Consistency, a healthy Josh Harding (TOTALLY JINXED EVERYTHING, SORRY) and possibly, probably, another solid two-way defenseman.
Telling ya, this team is fun to watch right now.