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Wilderness Walk: Welcome Home

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The Wild are repeating last week’s schedule and finally have a game this week.

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NHL: New York Islanders at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not naïve to enjoy the success of your favorite team. It’s not foolish to entertain the idea that they might actual have the ability to go on a deep run in the playoffs. Obviously, don’t go so far as to start planning the parade route or brag to everyone within earshot that your goalie is a lock for the Vezina and the Norris will probably end up in the hands of your #1 defenseman too. That would be ridiculous, but so is dismissing the evidence that the Wild are playing well under the winningest active head coach in the NHL. You could argue that they are overachieving and back it up with some reasoning or numbers, but appealing to "Minnesota sports syndrome" isn’t compelling. It’s lazy shorthand, falling back onto a narrative that is hardly unique to Minnesota all for the sake of looking smart. If you can’t allow yourself to enjoy what the Wild have been doing this season and the potential it represents, why are you watching? Why subject yourself to that? Why dismiss every sign of success as a false hope, but cling to every stumbling block as a certain harbinger of inevitable doom?

That’s enough of me grinding that particular axe.

The Wild are back home after their successful trip through California. They brought back a nice souvenir, five of a possible six points, after going 2-0-1 on the trip. Now they get a one game stopover before taking on divisional rivals the Dallas Stars and the Chicago Blackhawks on the road. Yesterday’s music had me looking for another example of genre-bending covers, so here’s four cellists playing Metallica to welcome the Wild back home.

Wild News

Ryan Suter "in his groove" for Surging Minnesota Wild - Puck Daddy

He's still probably only a dark horse for the Norris this season, but he has been good this year.

Boudreau talks being named All-Star coach - Video - TSN
We get to count this as the Wild sending three people to the All-Star game, right?

Owner Craig Leipold thrilled by his new coach and Wild's success so far - StarTribune.com
Leipold went all in to get the best coach available so it's nice that it has worked out well so far.

Boudreau tests his team by giving veterans Wednesday off - StarTribune.com
Maybe this will be Gabby's take on the "no morning skate" approach of the Blue Jackets?

'Rest is a weapon' for soon-to-be-busy Wild
The schedulers of the NHL have a hard job to do, but I still wonder if they couldn't have done a little better by the Wild.

On Frozen Pond

College hockey bracketology: Who leads as the postseason inches closer? | NCAA.com
I appreciate that the NCAA is upfront about manipulating the bracket to avoid intra-conference games in the first round, even if it is probably only done for $$$ reasons.

Off the Trail

30 Thoughts: Avalanche, Coyotes setting high prices in trade talks - Sportsnet.ca
No deals are getting done so the price of players is a relative unknown. Can't fault the GMs of the Avalanche and Coyotes for starting high.

Jackets remain No. 1 in NHL Power Rankings - Article - TSN

Ain't no thing. The Wild are still sitting pretty.

Alex Ovechkin of Washington Capitals records 1,000th point with quick goal
Terrific achievement for Ovi. The goal itself was pretty terrific too.

NHL -- Morning roundtable - Which player is more valuable to his team, Alex Ovechkin or Carey Price?
Both are critical but in obviously very different ways for their teams.

Sharks' Micro Mueller Forced from the Game After Lineup Card Error - Puck Daddy

Whoops.

Vegas Golden Knights preparing for third mock draft - Cross Checks Blog- ESPN
Personally, I would try to stagger it a bit. Provide the youth some role models and leadership to lean on, but avoid putting yourself in RFA hell when you have to start re-signing players.