I only have two rules: Don't touch my fucking Minnesotans, and do you have any fucking Minnesotans? - Bruce Bennett
Hockey Wilderness [pretends to] talk with GM Chuck Fletcher about how to fix the team's problems.
Editor's Note: None of this actually happened. Please note the "satire" tag at the top of the page.
After last night's loss to the Colorado Avalanche, Mike Yeo was not a happy person. He talked about how the team "wasted" the efforts of Zach Parise, among others. What is clear is that Yeo is not pleased with the make up of the team, as is evident by his near constant lineups changes. Scratch Mikael Granlund, insert Mike Rupp. Move Devin Setoguchi to the fourth line, then to the top power play unit. Ryan Suter with Jared Spurgeon, then Jonas Brodin, then back to Spurgeon.
The surprise came when the Hockey Wilderness direct line to Minnesota Wild HQ started ringing at 2AM. That phone almost never rings, especially not at 2AM. When it does, it it usually one of the Wild's PR staff making sure that someone from Hockey Wilderness is bringing the pizza in for practice.
The things we do for access.
This morning, however, it was different. The big red phone rang, and we thought for sure that the NHL had finally taken the steps it has desired for so long and simply eliminated the Wild from the roster of teams. No contraction, no moving, just "fixed the glitch."
It is unnerving when you pick up a phone at 2AM and hear Wild GM Chuck Fletcher on the other end of the line. He sounded somehow not himself, as though he had been at a local pub for a few hours. He said he had not been drinking, but rather may be on a bit of a sugar high after eating an entire bag of Red Vine licorice while contemplating the future of the team.
When we asked if he had come up with anything, the solutions he gave us were so simple and elegant that it is amazing we didn't think of them sooner.
"It kinda hit me at once" said Fletcher. "I realized, we have all these damn Canadians, and good god, Europeans. What the hell was I thinking? Hell, even our coach isn't from Minnesota. I'm not even from Minnesota. For the love of everything good, our owner isn't Minnesotan!"
"We were doomed from the start," Fletcher continued, as he seemed to start to drift off a bit. Then the phone was silent for a few seconds, followed by what sounded liked muted sobbing.
"The fans were right, man," he finally said, "The fans knew we needed purebred bodies on the ice. We didn't listen. We never listen."
We talked a bit about what it would mean to the team to get rid of all of the outsiders, those not worthy of wearing a Wild logo on their chest. We discussed the salary cap implications of buying out Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley, Niklas Backstrom and the other 22 players on the roster not of pure heart.
"It really shouldn't matter, right?" the now audibly excited GM rambled, "Once we get those massive contracts off the books, signing Robb Stauber and AJ Thelen shouldn't be an issue. We should even be able to offer long term deals to lock them up."
Asked if he would look to extend Matt Cullen's contract before the end of the season, Fletcher was adamant. "Why wouldn't we? We need to lock him up into at least his mid-50s. We'll probably go back to Zach's agent and get him on board for another 10 or 12 years beyond his current deal, too."
After he seemed to have hashed out a good portion of the roster, Fletcher said, seemingly to no one, "I have to call Jarmo [recently hired Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen]... see if he'll give us Todd back. Maybe for our first rounder this year..."
At this point Fletcher trailed off again. Then, more audible sobbing.
"It doesn't even matter, guys. I won't even be able to make all this happen for the fans. For Minnesota," Fletcher pined. "The sad part is... I have to fire myself."
The conversation ended abruptly, as Fletcher hung up on us. Before he hit the button, though, a final thought slipped. "I have to call Burkie. He's our only hope..."
The moral of the story?
Stick tap to the great Mike Bennett for his assistance and inspiration on this post.