Yesterday, while reading through the 4 on 4 feature we participated in over on Kings.com, we realized one thing. There will be no respect given to the Wild by the media folks. Three out of four said the Wild are maybe a bubble team, but doubted they make the playoffs. Which is fine. We've been here before, and as the season (hopefully) nears, the previews from around the continent will be more of the same.
Is it really possible to sign the two biggest free agents of the summer, add NHL level depth, backfill with a flood of top end prospects, and still be complete underdogs? Guess so. But hey, Colorado signed PA Parenteau and Greg Zanon. Watch out Vancouver.
One person, with more knowledge of the game in his little toe than all four writers put together, says the Wild are a team to be watched.
Make the jump, if you would.
Our friends over at Pro Hockey Talk found an interview Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the St. Louis Blues, talking about free agency, and what teams improved. His answer?
"For me, it was whoever got Suter or Parise, they were the two players that were going to make a dramatic difference. The rest (of free agency) was going to be replacing Player A with Player B."
Hitchcock later added:
"They've loaded up. They will be a real tough challenge for everybody."
When it comes to coaches, they are almost always going to say the right thing. They aren't going to say their team sucks, they aren't going to tell you another team sucks, but they often will give you some useful information if asked the right question. When it comes to Hitchcock, he tells it like it is, and he's got the Wild being a force to reckon with.
If I have to choose between the opinions of media members or Ken Hitchcock, I'm probably going to give Hitch a fair amount of deference. Not that the guy always has great opinions, but he has one of the best hockey minds to ever walk the planet, and that's good enough for me.
So, 3 of 4 writers think the Wild are not a playoff team. Ken Hitchcock says they are a "real tough challenge." What do you think he meant, and do you think the Wild are a playoff team?