Midseason Meltdown: A Look at the Minnesota Wild’s First Half

The first three months of the 2014-2015 season haven’t exactly gone as planned for the Minnesota Wild. Here’s to hoping the remaining three go better than the first.

October:

This season has been a slow and steady decline for the Minnesota Wild, but at least they started off well. The Wild began the season looking like true Stanley Cup contenders. They dominated in their home opener October 9 against the Colorado Avalanche, winning 5-0, and then shut out the Avs again two nights later, 3-0. I hate to say it, but these first couple of weeks of the season got my hopes up.

Darcy Kuemper
Darcy Kuemper had an amazing first month for the Minnesota Wild, proving he was worthy of being their starting goaltender. (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)

October had multiple stars, most prominently Darcy Kuemper and Jason Zucker. Kuemper was phenomenal and it briefly looked like the Minnesota Wild would avoid a goaltender crisis this season. The netminder had three shutouts and earned NHL’s second star for the month. Jason Zucker had an incredible month for Minnesota, as well, scoring 5 goals in nine games and proving that he’s finally here to stay.

October had a couple hiccups, but for the most part, it was a successful month for the Wild, who finished their first month with a 6-3 record.

November:

November was the beginning of the end for the Minnesota Wild. The team started the month by losing four out of its five first games. They also lost Zach Parise to a concussion for this stretch and played without Matt Cooke, who suffered a lower body injury late in October.

In the absence of these two, Jason Zucker, Nino Niederreiter, and Marco Scandella stepped up for the Wild. Niederreiter led the team in goals for most of the month, while Jason Zucker continued to prove that he deserved to play with the big boys. Zucker was only second in goals to Niederreiter, while continuing to play an all-around great game. Marco Scandella was another member of the team that kept the Wild afloat for the month of November.

Although it was a bit of a roller coaster, Minnesota ended the month 7-7.

December:

The last month of 2014 was just downright ugly for the Minnesota Wild, who only managed to win four games over the course of the month. The team slowly collapsed without any apparent reason. The same players that played so well at the beginning of the season lost their chemistry and just couldn’t find a way to pull it together. Maybe it was Mike Yeo. Maybe it was some sort of conflict among the members of the team. Who knows. Regardless, it was ugly and it caused the team to take nosedive.

Mike Yeo Wild coach
Minnesota coach Mike Yeo can’t seem to motivate his team to play well and is getting closer and closer to losing his job. (Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)

The Wild ended December with a less-than-impressive record of 4-8.

January:

Although we’re only a week into the month of January, it’s already looking grim. The team has only won one of four games this month, which was to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Minnesota has continued its downward spiral from December, unraveling

completely.

I can’t think of a single positive for this team right now, except that they have a huge amount of talent. With this roster, the Wild should be far more successful than they are at the moment. It’s not that they don’t have the skill, because they clearly showed it was there earlier in the year. Something is just clearly missing. Mike Yeo is also getting close to losing his job, as well as his mind, and that’s definitely not helping this team’s situation.

At the halfway point in the season, Minnesota currently sits in last place in the central division. It’s pretty clear something needs to happen and quickly. A trade, a new coach, anything. Whatever it is, the second half of the season for the Wild is bound to be interesting, to say the least.