Last night, the Chicago Blackhawks eliminated the Minnesota Wild from the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Now if you’re a Wild fan, you most likely thought this was a horrible end to the season. And it was. Chicago outplayed Minnesota in every way, and the Wild ended up getting swept.
But at the same time, there’s no reason to be disappointed with the Minnesota Wild.
Back to life
Quite frankly, this team shouldn’t have even made it to the playoffs. Back in January, before the All-Star Break, Minnesota was one of the worst teams in the league and had approximately a nine percent chance of making the playoffs.
In January, disappointment was acceptable. The Minnesota Wild was a team full of talent, but they still couldn’t manage to find a way to win. The Wild lost six straight games to start January before picking up Devan Dubnyk.
The rest is history; we all know what happened next. Minnesota experienced something truly amazing.
This team went from sitting at the bottom of the league to briefly chasing the Blackhawks out of the third playoff spot. Jason Zucker came back stronger than ever from a broken clavicle. Mike Yeo’s lines just meshed, and guys were scoring like never before. The Wild made the playoffs by some stroke of luck and stunned everybody by eliminating the St. Louis Blues.
Everything finally just seemed to come together for Minnesota.
Sadly, I think we all knew this was a bit of a Cinderella story, and the clock eventually had to strike midnight. Last night, that’s exactly what happened.
From January to April, watching the Minnesota Wild take the National Hockey League by storm was an incredible experience. It’s a miracle we got an extra month of hockey, but isn’t that better than nothing? I’ve already heard so many people ripping the Wild to pieces, claiming they have no talent, no offense and no business being in the playoffs. But that is ridiculous. The Wild’s time might have run out, but wasn’t it enjoyable to watch during February, March and April?
Aren’t you glad you got to see Minnesota in the playoffs, even if they didn’t win the Cup? In my opinion, I think that’s much better than watching your team finish in last place and wrapping it up then. Elimination from the playoffs hurts no matter what, and nobody in Minnesota will be happy until the Wild win it all, but let’s not tear this team apart because they got swept.
This is not a bad team by any means. Neither the Wild nor Minnesota sports fans have any reason to be disappointed with the effort these guys put in for the past four months. So the Wild lost they’re magic in Round 2. It was bound to happen at some point, and Chicago has historically had the Wild’s number.
It doesn’t mean people need to start yelling about firing Yeo, trading Koivu and rebuilding the entire team. Imagine what can happen next year when Minnesota starts the season with a solid goaltender, a healthy Zucker, a hungry Parise and well-rested Suter.
That’s not going to be a Cinderella story; that’s going to be a team that just knows how to play good hockey.
Wait and see
For now, Minnesota faces some tough decisions this offseason, but whatever happens, this team is going to come back stronger in October.
Getting eliminated last night was far from spectacular. The Wild just didn’t have what it took to beat Chicago. But I’d rather see an extra month of playoff hockey than nothing at all. This team did some amazing things this year, and there’s no reason to be disappointed about that.
Alli covers the Minnesota Wild and has been a contributing writer with THW since August 2014. She is currently a journalism and sports management student at the University of Minnesota. For all of your Minnesota Wild news and updates, follow her on twitter: @allibaker23