So, your team didn't make the playoffs this year?
That's a total bummer, because the Stanley Cup Playoffs are always incredible, and should be rabidly enjoyed by every hockey fan. Unfortunately, every year there are NHL fans that end up bailing on the playoffs, simply because they have no rooting interest.
Well, that's just silly. Your favorite team may not have advanced to the NHL's second season, but there are 16 teams to choose from, running the gamut from perennial powerhouses (Chicago, Anaheim), to good young upstarts (NY Islanders, Nashville), to spectacular chokers (St. Louis, Pittsburgh). There's no good reason not to just pick a team and follow it this time of year.
To help you in this quest, I'm going to make the case for you to #PleaseLikeMyTeam, the Minnesota Wild.
It is deeply important to me that you #PleaseLikeMyTeam. My sense of self-worth is entirely reliant on you liking my team, and saying that they are good. My team is an extension of my personhood, so saying that you do not like my team, or predicting them to not at least advance to the Western Conference Finals is little more than a veiled, but direct and devastating assault on me, personally. I will take a loud, impassioned stance against you not liking my team or their playoff chances, no matter how realistic your reasoning is. That's just the kind of human I am.
And really, why wouldn't you like my team?
Now, I could say that there are a lot of compelling storylines make the Wild an ideal candidate for liking (and please, do like them). I could point out that Devan Dubnyk is a great story, coming out of nowhere to save the Wild's season. I could write about how the Wild overcame illness, personal tragedy, and Matt Cooke being on their roster to become a playoff team when nobody believed they could do it.
But I get it- they're not your team, so you might not be familiar with, or care about their problems. If you did, you would probably like them already. While I think that you would really like the Wild, if you ever took the time to get to know them, I understand that you need something in it for you.
So, in an effort to get you to #PleaseLikeMyTeam, I went through every non-playoff team, and gave you a reason that, as a fan of one of these teams, to like my team. Please.
Arizona Coyotes- By taking Devan Dubnyk off your hands just before he got hot, Minnesota nobly sacrificed their own draft position to gift you a Top-3 pick. Be grateful.
Boston Bruins- You guys missed the playoffs? Seriously? No way! *maniacal cackling* (You will probably not like my team now that I laughed at your misfortune, but I think you should still #PleaseLikeMyTeam, so please do.)
Buffalo Sabres- You get to root for Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, Chris Stewart, and Jordan Leopold again, just like you did in the old days. Except this time, they'll playing for a good team.
Calgary Flames- Yeah, sure, you're in the playoffs now, but you gotta root for somebody in Round 2.
Carolina Not-Whalers- Because the Wild are the only reason your team name isn't the most hated in the NHL.
Dallas Stars- You already root for one Minnesota Hockey team. What's one more?
Edmonton Oilers- It'll be a nice respite between watching the Oilers tank for Connor McDavid this year and watching them fuck up McDavid's career next year.
Las Vegas Old White Dudes Trying One Last Attempt at Hedonism- It'll bring back the memories of you watching hometown boy Jason Zucker skate around the ol' frozen pond.
Los Angeles Kings- Heard you were in the market for a new bandwagon to join.
Philadelphia Flyers- Come on, wouldn't it be cool to root for a competent defense-goalie combo just once?
New Jersey Devils- To give you hope that your team also will one day break free from boring Jacques Lemaire trap hockey by signing Zach Parise.
Columbus Blue Jackets- Because
we couldn't figure out a lame joke about you we're asking nicely. #PleaseLikeMyTeam, hockey people. My happiness is dependent on it.