While it might be as good as the “24/7” HBO series that gave fans an uncensored look off the ice for the two teams involved in the Winter Classic that year, the Minnesota Wild are going to be an entertaining crew to shine a spotlight on for the league-produced “Road To The NHL Winter Classic.”
Whether it’s Kirill Kaprizov’s adorable positivity, the calm of Jared Spurgeon, or Matt Dumba’s approach to every situation being as hype as possible; the Wild has a group of players that will have even the casual of casuals tuning into their behind-the-scenes feature. It’s so damn easy to fall in love with this team and it’s going to be something to look forward to before the actual festivities take place on Jan. 1.
“I think it’ll be good, to give a little insight on our team,” Marcus Foligno said Saturday. “Show the characters that we have on this squad. It’ll be fun just to see, it’s good for the fans to see it. We’re all excited to be playing in this Winter Classic game, so to have cameras on you leading up to it, it’ll be exciting for ourselves and for the fans to experience.”
Of course, it is all for us—the fans—to enjoy as the sideshow to the main event, but it will certainly spark some new cult favorites by just seeing player’s daily lives. And maybe for players to certainly rag on others’ habits.
“They’ll see what we do away from the rink,” Foligno said. “If there’s cameras in the dressing room on a daily basis, I think they’ll see how light this team is and joking. We’re all really close this year. They’re going to see a tight-knit group and guys that like to have fun. It’s been a good season so far—a lot of positives. Just seeing guys away from the rink and what they do. I’m sure if you follow Jordan Greenway around, it’ll be more of just him in the bedroom and napping the whole day, so I’m sure fans want to see more of Kirill and things like that—see if he can cook or what not. That’s what is fun about that experience. That fans get to see what it’s like being a hockey player.”
Foligno is already creating content for us; thanks Marcus! If there is a cooking segment with Kaprizov, there will be multiple blogs on this website detailing his recipes and trying them ourselves. It is only natural.
Aside from past renditions of this team—or any other NHL team, really—this group appear to get along extremely well, from the outside looking in. No one has had that label of being a dickhead, or some stern egotistical leader—but as Spurgeon laid out when he was made captain, every player has their own voice in the locker room no matter their experience in the league. It’s this “win by commission” mentality that has certainly permeated throughout the organization, and some guys know it and are enjoying it.
“We got a good mix of different types of guys that all have fun with each other,” forward Nick Bjugstad said. “This is one of the most fun teams I’ve been a part of and one of the more closer-knit teams that I’ve been a part of. Obviously it stinks, like going through scenarios like we did in New Jersey the other night, but I think those types of things bring you closer together. Those will be good memories down the road.”
I cannot wait for this to get going. For the 2020 version of the outdoor match, the NHL released the episodes on the two Saturdays leading up to the game, with the final episode premiering on the Saturday following. Could we see the first Winter Classic-themed peek into the lives of these players on Dec. 18, then? Maybe, maybe not.
While we are all certainly extremely excited, head coach Dean Evason is trying to downplay the potential virality of the clips. When asked about what they might show, or what new bits of information the public might find out, he took it with some hesitation.
“Hopefully not too much,” Evason said laughing. “Hopefully we just go about our business as we always do. I think our guys are pretty good about that. They’re all pretty straight forward. I think our guys like to have fun, but we’re pretty business-like as well.”
Yeah, okay Dean! It’s going to be fun regardless, even if we’re just watching Dumba give a tour of his jersey collection or something. Maybe they can win the game too.