Minnesota Wild fans have earned a lifetime of entertaining hockey and several deep runs into the postseason. Hatched in the early days of this century, the Hockey Gods sent Jacques Lemaire to the land of 10,000 lakes to take the life out of the game. And he did, on the way to some playoff success:
In his eight astonishingly boring seasons in Minnesota, Lemaire put enough teams to sleep in order to make the playoffs three times, going deep once.
GM Chuck Fletcher took over in 2009 and has this franchise going in a good direction. Coach Mike Yeo seems like a bright fellow, ownership has given some major dollars to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter (among others) in the pursuit of excellence, and there are good days in the distance.
The Chicago Blackhawks don't give a rat's ass about Lemaire or Fletcher or Yeo or Minnesota or any other damn thing in their way. The 'Hawks are manifest destiny on ice, a crushing group of 23 men who may be on the way to a third Stanley in five seasons.
Is that a modern dynstasty? Hell if I know. I do know that the Wild are heading in a good direction. They'll try to win game three tonight, but I don't like their chances. It's sometimes difficult to see progress when a superior team is tearing up the blacktop on the way to beating your side senseless.
The progress is there in Minnesota. This series is exposing the weaknesses, and will create the atmosphere required from ownership and management for improvement and change.
I'm pleased the Minnesota Wild made it to the final eight this season, and doubly pleased they've done it playing a more entertaining brand of hockey. Someday they'll be rewarded, but it won't be this season.
Chicago? My word they're a load.