Good Afternoon Wilderness... Game day is "finally" here. As a Minnesota Wild fan there's much to be thankful for. Hopefully when we wake up tomorrow morning, the Wild will be going back to Chicago for game seven.
Nothing would please me more than watching the Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks at the "Madhouse on Madison". It's possible.
I know it sounds cliché, but as long as the Wild are still playing, there’s always chance. I think the Wild win tonight and go back to Chicago and then it’s a crap shoot. If only the Wild can get some puck luck – a bounce of the puck – a power-play goal – a turnover in the neutral zone. These things can snowball into a much needed Wild win.
Before the series started, I remember being chirped by Blackhawks fans telling me how the Wild were going to be cannon fodder and run out of the building easily. But the Wild are still kicking. Silly Blackhawks fans.
Why am I smiling today?
I am going to tell you why I am excited about the Minnesota Wild's future. Throughout the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the younger Wild players have grown up. Right before our eyes, we have seen the transformation of the Minnesota Wild into a fast staking, puck possession team. Gone are the days of the neutral zone trap, and hockey that will bore you to death. I think the future is very bright, and it's a high octane brand of hockey.
If anything, the Wild have put the rest of the NHL on notice, during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They're going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future. This we know.
As I have said in the past, I am a big fan of Mike Yeo and I think he's a good hockey coach and is doing a good job as coach of the Minnesota Wild. I am not saying he's perfect, but he's more than able. Time to extend Yeo, he's earned the right to continue coaching this team.
The Minnesota Wild have been built for the future and their upside is very big. I think we're only seen a glimpse of what the future is going to bring to the State of Hockey. I believe that the Wild will be lifting a Stanley Cup in the future, maybe sooner rather than later.
How did we get here?
The Wild have been built smartly. Obviously, you have the block buster free agent signing where the Wild acquired Ryan Suter and Zach Parise.
Also, the free agent signing of Matt Cooke, when he's played during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he's been huge.
Then the Wild have a core of young players acquired through the entry level draft and through trades, players like Erik Haula, Charlie Coyle, Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin, Mikael Granlund. All but Dumba, have played an active role during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Wild players that Finnish
The two players that have really emerged during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs are a pair of Finnish forwards Erik Haula and Mikael Granlund. Both are quick skating, offensively gifted forwards that create havoc in the offensive zone. These two players are only going to get better in the future.
Erik Haula stats regular season (6g-9a-15pts, +14, 46 games) 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs (3g-3a-6pts, +2, 12 games). Here's what Elite Prospects has to say about former Golden Gopher.
Haula is a pure offensive player with great hockey sense and an excellent target practice. Good hands and a nice passing play. Need to develop their physical strength and his defensive game. Always work hard. Have a quick and a good shot.
Mikael Granlund stats regular season (8g-33a-41pts, -3, 63 games). 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs (4g-3a-7tps, +3, 12 games). Here's what Elite Prospects has to say about the second year forward.
A small but extremely skilled forward with exceptional hockey sense. Very good and creative with the puck. An excellent passer with a good eye for the game. A reliable scorer with fine hands and stickhandling. A capable skater, although not the fastest around. Added strength would benefit his game further. Good on the man advantage.
In conclusion, I am very excited about the Wild moving forward. They future is very bright. Let’s hope the Wild can extend the season tonight and take it back to Chicago.