(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we’re bound to lose some friends along the journey. We’ve asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The bloggers and fans who hated them the most. Here is Steve Dangle of The Steve Dangle Podcast, who wanted to eulogize someone and the wheel stopped on the 2015-16 Minnesota Wild.)
(Again, this was not written by us. Also: This is a roast and you will be offended by it, so don’t take it so seriously.)
BY STEVE DANGLE
Dear Southern Winnipeggers, we are gathered here today to remember the Minnesota Wild. Nothing actually happened to them, I just often need to be reminded that they exist.
Nonetheless, their hopes of winning the Stanley Cup this season are dead. Unfortunately, we’ll have to forego a burial. Getting torched for 21 goals in six games was enough of a cremation on its own.
But there is something to celebrate: Congratulations to the Minnesota Wild on becoming the first thing Jamie Benn has ever eaten …
Furthermore, congratulations to the Minnesota Wild on being the second-best green team in the NHL out of two. Whether it’s their Canadian goose poop-colored jerseys or their bloody morning booger-colored jerseys, they still wear their colors with pride.
Their fierce, and dare I say wild, logo reminds me of their famous state slogan: “Minnesota: We have… trees?”
Minnesota has been through a lot over the past quarter century or so. The North Stars left in 1993, and they’ve been searching for an NHL team ever since.
You might be thinking, “Hey at least the Wild actually make the playoffs.” True, but as is often the case, Minnesota’s playoff success relied on Patrick Roy failing to get the job done.
The Wild had coaching struggles of their own. After a rancid skid in which Minnesota lost 13 out of 14 games, and after Chuck Fletcher was informed that Connor McDavid had actually already been drafted last year, the Wild decided to fire Mike Yeo and replace him with Patrick Warburton.
The star of The Tick and those National Car Rental commercials managed to coach the Wild all the way to round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. During Game 6 of their series with the Dallas Stars, they found themselves down 4-0 after 40 minutes. For two periods they made Kari Lehtonen look like J.S. Giguere.
But then… something amazing happened.
The Minnesota Wild went WILD. They fought and they clawed their way through the third period and almost won the game. Oh, they still totally lost 5-4, but it truly was one of the greatest almost comebacks of all-time, just behind Team USA’s inspirational almost comeback against Canada in the 2010 Gold Medal Game. It was the kind of almost comeback Hollywood almost makes movies about it. What an honor it must be for Ryan Suter and Zach Parise to be a part of both almost comeback teams.
This was just one of the Wild’s almost good moments of these playoffs. Remember when Devan Dubnyk almost stopped Antoine Roussel’s almost kick from behind the net? Dubnyk sure was mad about the goal, which weirdly didn’t stop it from being a legal hockey play and counting. This is a little late but you have to admire Dubnyk for being the first Masterton-winner to win the award just for not being bad anymore.
Minnesota’s epic Game 6 almost win sure was a thrill but we’re forgetting another Wild season highlight.
Did you know that the Wild played an outdoor game this season? You didn’t? Oh. Well they did. They beat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 in it, too! Granted, they probably only won because of the Blackhawks’ complete lack of experience playing in outdoor games but it was an important two points anyway.
“Why is a Leafs fan talking about the Minnesota Wild like this?” I’m glad you asked.
You see, Wild fans, we are the same in many ways. I too am used to cheering for a team that spends unfathomable amounts of money on free agents and spends draft picks like the world is going to end in two weeks.
Am I saying your team is screwed? No, no. Quite the opposite.
You see, you and I both know that any team who treats the draft like a free weekend off with a man named “C. Fletcher” at the helm is in good hands. We both know that crushing playoff defeats in a series where Tyler Seguin didn’t really do anything is definitely a one-off. We both know that almost wins are just as good as wins themselves.
None of my feelings for the Wild have anything to do with Craig Leipold crying poor then signing Parise and Suter to $196 million in contracts right before an NHL lockout that forced me to do highlights for the KHL for a year. None at all! I can’t hold it against the guy for trying to get a competitive edge. I know there’s two things in this world Craig Leipold wants: The Stanley Cup and his stapler back.