Good Morning Wilderness! Today, I am going to talk briefly about the upcoming 2014-15 season. In 29 days, the Minnesota Wild will play their first game of the regular season. Perusing the schedule, the season starts off with a bang. Right out of the gates, the Minnesota Wild play a home-and-home series against the Colorado Avalanche.
Like many Wild fans, I hope the 2014-15 season ends with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman handing Minnesota Wild Captain Mikko Koivu that Stanley Cup.
Before you start snickering, I think the Wild will contend for home ice and a top four seed in the Western Conference. With the addition of Thomas Vanek, the Wild bolstered their top-six forward group.
I picked five must-see Wild games. Feel free to post your five must-see games.
1. Colorado @ Minnesota, October 9, 2014. | 2. Minnesota @ Colorado, October 11, 2014.
The offseason has been uneventful, and I have been waiting for these games all summer long. The Wild and the Avalanche renew the rivalry. Honestly, I can't think of a better way to kick off the season.
Last season, the Wild eliminated the Avs in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. During the seven-game series, a lot of things that transpired. Some of these things could come to a head during the first two games of the series. In case you forgot how the Wild ended the Avs season, I included a video to refresh your memory.
Hanging over this series, Matt Cooke's dirty leg check that knocked Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie out for the rest of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This will be the first time that Cooke and Barrie meet on the ice since that incident. Cooke received a seven-game suspension for the hit and Barrie missed the rest of the series.
3. Minnesota @ Boston, October 28, 2014.
Since joining the league in 2000, the Boston Bruins and the Minnesota Wild have played in 14 games. During those 14 games, the Wild have owned the Boston Bruins (11-2-0-1, .821). Last season, the two teams split their two games series. The Wild look to continue their dominance over the Bruins.
The Bruins are again poised to be one the top teams in the Eastern Conference this season. This game should prove to be the Wilds first test of the season against an Eastern Conference heavy weight.
4. Minnesota @ Chicago, December 16, 2104.
This will be the first of five games between the two teams. Over the past two seasons, the Wild and the Blackhawks have had some spirited, hard fought games. The Wild have had their season ended the last two years by the Blackhawks.
This is a re-match of last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Blackhawks won the series 4-2 to advance to Western Conference Finals.
After the Blackhawks beat the Wild in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Blackhawks goalie Cory Crawford had this to say about the Wild.
"A little relief, too, to get this thing finished," Crawford said. "That was a tough team. I mean, they played really hard in this building, in Chicago too. They kept coming at us. Tough series, really tough series.
During the 2013-14 season, the Wild had a 3-1-1 game against the Hawks. All-time, Minnesota has a 30-19-1-2 record against the Blackhawks.
5. Minnesota @ Buffalo, January 15, 2015.
Newly acquired Wild forward Thomas Vanek returns to Buffalo to play against his former team, the Buffalo Sabres.
Vanek played nine seasons with the Sabres and this will be his first trip back to Buffalo as a member of the Wild and only his second time in Buffalo since being traded.
Last season, the Wild picked up forwards Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline. Both players re-signed with the Buffalo Sabres in the offseason. Former Wild forward Torrey Mitchell also is a member of the Sabres. This could end up being a reunion game.
Last season, the Wild had a 2-0-0 record against the hapless Sabres.