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Waiting to Exhale

NO, I have not seen the movie, so I cannot make any references to it, but wow. Wild fans... you need to take a breath. The collective sum of the team of 18,000 seems to have found the proverbial cliff and thrown away the parachute.

Join me after the jump, will you?

No, the Wild is not a good team right now. Yes, the goals for are down from the Lemaire era. Yes, the defense is lost, to put it kindly. The frustration about this team is completely understandable. However, there really is no reason to go off the deep end and throw insults and blame around. As fan favorite Brian Rolston always said, "It is what it is."

Looking at Russo's blog about the game, things are not pleasant with this team. The locker room is tense, the players are stressed out, and the frustration of the players is greater than that of the fans. This may not make you all feel better, but it shows that at least the players care. When the team lost under Lemaire, players did not say much. They left the rink early. They did not show any emotion or passion for the game. That has changed. The players want to win, and they want the system to work.

That means something. I hate the words "moral victory" as much as the next guy, but the fact that the players are upset they are losing is a good sign. It is, trust me on this, and it will pay dividends in the future. As Humphrey Bogart said, "Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon." The team is not going to suddenly turn this around and finish 74-8, I can promise you that, but they will figure out how to play the system. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon.

For those of you out there who have not played the game, hockey is a game of chemistry. More so than almost any other. The only comparison I know of would be between the wide receivers and a quarterback on a football team. Except in hockey, the entire team has to learn to play together, as one unit rather than 23 players, four lines, forwards and defensemen. And that takes... time. Something "He who shall no longer be mentioned" always told us we needed was patience. Well, now we really do.

One comment over at Russo's place is this:

Risebrough Screwed This Team...and Fletcher is Clueless

OK, the first part? Yes. He did. Badly. The second part? How do you figure? What tells you he is clueless? He is rebuilding a team, nay, an organization, from scratch. The previous regime, as noted, screwed this team. Fletcher has been on the job for 11 games and already people are ready to fire him. Did you think they were going to the Stanley Cup before the season started? No, you did not. So why the outrage now? We all figured they would be bad, so why the frustration and bitterness?

Here is another comment:

Ok...let's fire the following: Sykora - oh god, what are we paying him for?? Havlat - waste of $5M. Scott playing PP? LMAO. Sheppard - good grief, why isn't he playing somewhere in Spain by now?! Miettinen - my Lord, what a mess! Even Brunette was caughing up one D-blunder after another....goodness, what ever happened to this franchise????!!! Btw, Mr. Gaborik scored 2 goals tonight and some assist. He's got 10, most in the league...his 'replacement' Havlat has 1.

Sykora was out with an injury, and is new to the team. See above for why that matters. Without chemistry, he will be lost, as he is. He is part of an overall bad team, and his stats will show that. He is good for 20 goals, not 50. He is not going to score every game, so maybe jumping on him is a little early. He is not a savior, but only one part of the team. A team that is not playing well, and thus he is not playing well either.

Havlat being a waste of $5 million has yet to be seen. He is not performing to expectations, correct. Expectations for him were fairly high and likely unrealistic. From myself as well. It hurts to see him only have one goal, it really does. Again, a struggling player on a struggling team. No chemistry explains his poor play.

Scott on the power play? Hey, if nothing else is working, why not? Sheppard playing in Spain? Hmmm... nope, I have no problem with that comment. He should be gone. Somewhere, anywhere. He isn't any good. Mittens is a mess? He looks to me to be one of few putting out a consistent effort. Again, he is not a savior. He is not a team leader. He is a role player. Don't expect much from him.

I am going to skip the Brunette comment since the guy is the leading scorer on the team, he gets a pass.

Now. On to my favorite topic right now. Mr. Marian Gaborik. The guy is having a stellar season. I congratulate him on that. I am happy for him in a basic human way. Other than that? Screw him. He had no intention of playing here this season. Havlat is not the replacement for Sally Sore Sac. He is to the fans, but he is not to the team. If they wanted a replacement for Gaborik, they could have hired me. I can sit and do nothing for $7.5 million per, too. If he had a red jersey on, he would have one goal and four assists right now and everyone would be calling for his head.

Oh, and:

Marian Gaborik continued his scorching hot start for the Rangers tonight. The guy has just been sensational and scored two more goals and an assist tonight. But he left the game with 8:13 left with what's said to be a lower body injury. I only bring it up because the Rangers come to town Friday, so obviously, the injury is worth keeping an eye on.

Remember those words folks? Had he re-signed here and missed one game with an injury, every one of you would have called Fletcher an idiot for bringing him back. He is gone. Let it go.

Alright. This has been a long post, let's wrap it up and get to your comments. I am not apologizing for this team. They are bad. They know it, and we know it. However, there is no reason to jump off the cliff. The season is young, and the last I checked, at least some of you were fans of not only this team, but of hockey. Love it for what it is. Your rage and frustration is not going to change anything. Fletcher is not going anywhere, neither is Richards. You can stop buying tickets, stop watching the games, and complain until you are blue in the face. It will make absolutely no difference.

They are what they are, but they are still your team. Let the band wagoners leave. They'll be back. For the rest of you, the true Wild fans, take a big, deep breath. Now exhale. You don't have to wait. If you do, you'll pass out, I promise you that.

Later all.