The Minnesota Wild’s regular season starts today and that means beginning an 82-game-long journey to hopefully being one of the top seeds heading into the playoffs and just begging them to win at least one playoff series.
Last season marked the seventh consecutive season where the Wild either didn’t make the playoffs or got booted out in the first round. Not a whole lot of success to grab onto there, but with a new season there is an unbridled sense of optimism, specifically because we know this team is good. And that knowledge can also be somewhat of a curse that turns into frustration because of the lack of glory this roster has been able to see.
Specifically, defenseman Matt Dumba has been getting a little pissed off seeing all the fanfare a divisional rival in the Colorado Avalanche has gotten after they won the Stanley Cup earlier this year and the image of them winning that trophy is embedded into every marketing item the NHL has put out since then.
“It’s all around us. Colorado is starting up tonight against Chicago,” Dumba said after practice on Thursday. “You see that damn commercial on of them holding the Cup, and it pisses you off. That’s a big rival for us, in this division and it sucks when you’re on the other end of it. So, we’re holding that pretty near to our hearts and have it in the back of our minds, like, that’s our goal. Last year, the regular season was great, but we didn’t get to our goal, not even close.”
That is some motivation to go off on. Seeing the team that you were on your way to facing in the second round, parade around with something you work your entire career to get, is disheartening in any season, but considering how damn good the Wild’s 2021-22 season was for them, it must be even more painful.
And to take even the next step beyond just overall team pain, for Dumba specifically, it must hurt a great deal. The 28-year-old blueliner is heading into the final year of his contract and with the Wild’s cap situation what it is (limited) and the team having several defenseman prospects nipping at his heels, this might be his last chance to even get a slight taste of glory in St. Paul. Hell, if the team isn’t doing so hot, he might finish his season on a completely different team and that was his last chance to get that reward.
Dumba’s future is still a mystery, but he’s starting this season red-hot with motivation after seeing that stupid Colorado team skip around with the Cup.