from Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press,
Keith Ballard is a crusty, old, no-excuses defenseman. Matt Cooke has been a borderline psycho.
Together, they bring a much-needed dose of attitude to the local hockey team. As a result, the Wild might have improved this offseason, even though the front office's main goal has been to reduce payroll.
One of the Wild's great strengths last season was being appropriately sad after a loss. Well, that and shooting into the opposing goalie's chest protector.
"Obviously, we have to play better," captain Mikko Koivu droned night after night while the team was becoming unglued down the stretch.
In reality, the Wild should have done better, but they simply could not handle the pressure. With few exceptions, they were wide-eyed and ineffective when it counted. The bigger the game, the more tentative they were. And after a $200 million infusion of talent, it took a deadline trade -- shipping off a No...