Whether you liked or disliked the trade for Ryan Reaves that the Minnesota Wild made two weeks ago, there is no denying that he would be a big personality and a presence in the locker room, to be there to lighten the mood whenever needed.
Jobs are jobs — some are a little more public and abnormal than others — and having someone in your workplace that can be depended on to read the room and be pleasant to talk to when needed, just feels crucial. Almost everyone can relate to having that one coworker that feels essential just as an escape from the actual work itself, especially when the morale is not feeling too good. Why isn’t it basically the same when it comes to professional hockey players?
Anyways, the Wild are already feeling the positives of having Ryan Reaves on their team and hanging out with them.
“Absolutely,” head coach Dean Evason said when asked if he has noticed an impact Reaves has made to this team, on and off the ice. “His presence — he’s a veteran guy, obviously his physical presence. There’s no messing around out there. He keeps the room loose, I think, from not being in there all the time. But just watching from the outside and on the bench, he’s very business-like. There’s no fooling around when the puck is dropped. We really like that about him.
“He provided us with a couple of assists last game. We think he can provide us with some offense, for sure, but he is very sound defensively; good hands, gets in on the forecheck. That’s a lot of good things that the Minnesota Wild want to do.”
Those two assists earned against the Dallas Stars on Sunday was the only time Reaves has ever had two helpers in a single game, ever. But even with his surge in offense, the veteran forward knew what to say when the Stars came back from a 5-1 deficit to eventually force overtime.
“Just not to panic,” Reaves said of the chatter on the bench in the grueling third period. “We know they’re a good team, but obviously, we’re a good team too and we know that. We just had to stay the course — calm down a little bit.”
That is what I’m talking about.
We are not giving the full credit to Reaves as to why the Wild were able to stave off a full comeback and end up earning the two points on Sunday, but no doubt sending a clear message and resetting the possible frustrated feelings as Dallas surged back, helps.
In five games with the Wild so far, Reaves has earned three assists. We won’t see the same amount of consistent offense, probably, but it is nice not seeing a bunch of zeroes next to his name on the stat sheet. Of course, when the Wild eventually stop winning so many games and come back down to Earth (let’s hope they never do), Reaves will shoulder a lot of the blame for not being the most skilled player and taking up one of the 12 forward spots. But let’s enjoy it while we can and feel justified to do so.
It’s always fun to have Reaves around.