Today, Wild fans felt defeated after the Wild were defeated last night at the Xcel Energy Center at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks by the score of 3-0. The win gave Chicago a commanding lead in the series and will force a decisive Game 5 in Chicago on Thursday. Not only has the depression of the loss and impending series loss not yet worn off, but Wild fans have to listen to the casual watcher gripe and complain about things that which they know nothing of.
A caller into the Paul Allen Show today on KFAN complained that Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher has done this team wrong by signing and drafting defensemen that are "hobbits." Unfortunately, the problem with this argument is that Brent Flahr and his scouting staff have not drafted "hobbits." This caller from Cloquet had named Matthew Dumba as the latest example of the "midgets on the blueline" argument. this of course is even more incorrect as Matthew Dumba is already over 6 feet tall and 190 pounds at 19 years old. The kid is still growing. *Side Note - Paul Allen disconnected the caller and completely disagreed with his take about placing blame upon the GM.*
Other callers into other shows have really rail-roaded against Head Coach Mike Yeo. People are insinuating that they can ultimately do his job better. Another gal also complained that Yeo is not demonstrative nor emotional behind the bench like one Joel Quenneville. What the lay-person needs to know, is that Joel Quenneville has always, always been that way. Also, that while Yeo should not be protected from criticism or questioning of his coaching strategies, finding trivial things such as his demeanor behind the bench is not one of them. Joel Quenneville has been in far more playoff games and has a championship to boot. It should not come as a surprise that a coach in his first post-season may be slightly out coached by the savvy veteran.
Next, the Power Play has been absolutely abysmal in this series. It is probably the number one thing that is determining this series. If the Wild could have cashed in on the Power Play at a 10 percent clip, this series could in fact be tied or even flipped. People forget that the Blackhawks have allowed the fewest goals in the league during the regular season. On top of that, their Penalty Killing has been almost impenetrable. The Wild, on the other hand, especially in games 1,3, and 4 have had their opportunities. Unfortunately, the puck just hasn't gone in. What I would like to see more on the power play from the Wild is just more movement from those without the puck. I feel like there is a lot of standing around and waiting for the shot. If you see the wingers and weak-side defenseman moving without the puck, you tend to get the mismatches and numbers in your favor. I don't believe in shooting just to shoot. As we saw in Game 4, a shot that is blocked will almost never go in. However, getting shots through to the net will also breakdown the box. Utilizing quick passes not only around, but through the box will open up the shooting lanes.
Finally, people e-mailing and complaining about the lack of goal scoring from the top line, specifically Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, were almost the most annoying today. Mind you, I am not defending their lackluster play in this series, but fans want to cut Koivu and send Parise back to Jersey, it seems like. "Spending $98 million for one play off goal is a rip off," they say. "Maybe Parise isn't the superstar that we thought he was on July 4th." All I can do plug my ears and chant, "La, la, la..." over and over so my head won't explode. This is the most preposterous one of them all. Minnesota sports fans have been clamoring for 10 years for an ownership group to put-up or shut-up. The Wild have Parise under contract for 12 more years and to pull the plug in year 1 is nothing short of insane, asinine, stupid, moronic, outrageous, and in a dimension of ridiculousness that this sports market has never seen before. As for Koivu, he has played terrible in this series, but he is the lifeblood of this team and the Wild don't get a sniff of the playoffs without him.
Ok, all-in-all, I am not happy with the way the team has performed up to this point in the series. In fact, I'm depressed about it. I hate when my favorite team loses. I am also not afraid to criticize and not stupid enough to think that the Wild are above any deserved flak, but for the casual fans and the lay-person, just settle down and let the people that know what they are doing, do their jobs. END RANT