After last night's 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Minnesota Wild are down 2-0 in the series going back to Minnesota. It's an understatement to say that this is a defining moment in the series, where the Wild go from here depends on their effort in game three.
There are really two ways the series can go from here. The Wild can bag the series and start scheduling their tee times, or they can bear down and get a win in game three and try to even the series in game four. I see no reason why the Wild can't do this. It's not outside the realm of possibility.
Game two wasn't pretty. The Wild were out-muscled, out-hit, out-shot, out-skated and outplayed by the Blackhawks in almost every facet of game. It wasn't a good effort by the Minnesota Wild. If anything, the Wild looked tentative.
Absent from the picture were the Wild's "star" players. Here's the point production for the top forward line for the Minnesota Wild through two games: Zach Parise (0g-0a-0pts), Mikko Koivu (0g-0a-0pts), Charlie Coyle (0g-1a-1pts). The top line is also a combined -7.
While he has been absent on the score sheet in game two, Mikko Koivu was able to rack up six minutes in penalties and only won 46% of his faceoffs. However, it's not about one guy. It was a poor team effort all the way around.
Going forward, the top line for the Minnesota Wild has to be better if the series is going to last more than four games.
Obviously, Minnesota Wild fans aren't happy with the results of this series to date and want blood. Immediately following the game, my twitter feed was filled with tweets calling for change. There are some Wild fans that want the head coach fired.
Do we really want to fire the head coach after only two seasons? What would that really solve? Would the Wild be better off than they are now?
Being a glass is half full guy, if there was a positive from this season, the Wild did make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, after missing the playoffs for five seasons in a row. True, the Wild went 5-8-1 in the month of April and almost didn't make the playoffs.
Realistically speaking, the eight seed Wild (26-19-3) are playing against the President's trophy-winning Chicago Blackhawks (36-7-5). Chicago is a team that didn't lose in regulation this season until March 8, 2013 and set an NHL record of 21-0-3 start to the season. Like I have said in the past, if the Wild get the right breaks, they "could" win this series. To date, they have not.
I am not giving up hope.
My question to Wild fans is what were your expectations for the Wild going to this series against the Blackhawks? Did you expect the Wild to win the series?
I thought coming into this series that the Wild had a chance. I don't think that it's unrealistic. I also have patience, because I think that this Minnesota Wild's team is being built for the future, much like the Bruins and Penguins were. I also think that this team is very close to being a very good hockey team based on the players that they currently have in the system and on the roster.
Championship teams aren't born over night. There are a few pieces of the puzzle that have to fall into place, and then the Wild should be a serious contender. That's why I am not getting too upset, not yet anyways. I am hoping that the Wild ownership gives Yeo a little bit of latitude, in this situation. I don't think it's time to panic, not just yet.
So here's the question; what is an acceptable ending to the 2013 season? I know that I was excited after the Wild signed Ryan Suter and Zach Parise this past summer, but I didn't realistically expect them to win the Stanley Cup this season, not yet.
The future is very bright and better days are ahead....