Originally written on State of Hockey News  |  Last updated 8/12/14
Minnesota Wild  (16-10-2)  34pts  1st in the Northwest 2.50 Goals For (21st) 2.43 Goals Against (6th) 17.2% Power Play (18th) 85.9% Penalty Kill (5th) Top 5 Scorers: 1. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 6G 17A = 23pts 2. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 2G 21A = 23pts 3. #11 Zach Parise ~ 11G 11A = 22pts 4. #7 Matt Cullen ~ 4G 15A = 19pts 5. #10 Devin Setoguchi ~ 9G 9A = 18pts Top 3 PIM's: 1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 71 PIM's 2. #27 Mike Rupp ~ 41 PIM's 3. #44 Justin Falk ~ 22 PIM's Top Goaltender(s): 1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (14-7-2)  2.34GAA  .915%SP 2. #37 Josh Harding (1-1-0)  2.92GAA  .885%SP  1 SO     Vs.     Detroit Red Wings (14-10-5)  33pts  3rd in the Central 2.62 Goals For (17th) 2.52 Goals Against (9th) 15.8% Power Play (22nd) 80.2% Penalty Kill (18th) Top 5 Scorers: 1. #13 Pavel Datsyuk ~ 9G 21A = 30pts 2. #40 Henrik Zetterberg ~ 8G 22A = 30pts 3. #55 Niklas Kronwall ~ 5G 17A = 22pts 4. #24 Damien Brunner ~ 10G 10A = 20pts 5. #93 Johan Franzen ~ 5G 9A = 14pts Top 3 PIM's: 1. #22 Jordin Tootoo ~ 69 PIM's 2. #93 Johan Franzen ~ 31 PIM's 3. #55 Niklas Kronwall ~ 30 PIM's Top Goaltender(s): 1. #35 Jimmy Howard (12-7-4)  2.42GAA  .917%SP  2 SO 2. #34 Petr Mrazek (1-1-0)  2.02GAA  .922%SP  3. #50 Jonas Gustavsson (1-2-1)  2.85GAA  .878%SP Click on "Continue Reading" for the rest of the article...   In a normal season, we'd be looking at about another two weeks of regular season play.  We'd see the last push of teams jockeying to get into the playoffs and then for their respective playoff positioning.  This is also the time we'd see bottom-dwelling teams doing everything possible to be a nuisance to teams fighting for those eight spots in each conference.  While it's a stressful time, I for one love to watch the continual shifting of positions.  I love to pull up the standings on NHL.com and to see who's in and who's out.  I also must admit, that this season, I have little idea of what's going on in the Eastern Conference.  While that might seem crazy for someone who follows hockey as close as I do, personally I don't really care.  I figure that the Eastern Conference and their media pay little attention to the Western Conference, so what's good for the goose is good for the gander.  But this isn't a normal season.  We still have a month to go and twenty games to be played.  As a Minnesota Wild fan, we've had periods of elation followed quickly by a downward spiral of defeat.  This isn't the first time we started to feel, that our team just might make it back into the playoffs.  Heck, last year many were absolutely positive that the Wild would be in.  Remember the old stat, that a team that was in first place in the league in December had never failed to make the playoffs.  Yeah, well the Wild managed to end that tradition.  The euphoria of those days being on top were great.  Yet, I had to keep reminding me to remain cautious, and as we saw, I was right to do so.  Injuries were ultimately the Wild's Waterloo.  Sadly, I feel that could be the case as well this season.  While things have been going well lately, and the Wild greatly improved their talent level, to a degree, they're still average at best.  With the exception of Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and to a degree Mikko Koivu, we're not exactly a team full of big name players.  If you asked your average non-Wild fan, if you asked them to name players on our team, I have a feeling they'd have a difficult time naming another player that wasn't named Parise, Suter or Koivu.  And let's face it, our "stars" pale in comparison to the actual stars that other teams have.  If we face any severe injuries now, I could see us once again on the outside looking in. And even if the Wild do make it into the playoffs, it still begs the questions about just how far this team can go in the playoffs.  With the condensed season, teams are going to hit the playoffs already tired.  But the team that goes all the way, will somehow find a way to energize themselves toward their ultimate goal.  For myself personally, I am torn on the Stanley Cup.  While it would be great for the Wild to win a Cup, if it was this season, it is a Cup that will come with an asterisk after it.  Whoever wins the Cup will be elated, but the fans of the other 29 teams (especially those who have won the Cup before) will say "well, this wasn't a normal season so it doesn't really count."  Yet at the same time, I know it would be absolutely wonderful to win even this Stanley Cup, because it would mean that the lowly Minnesota Wild had done something that the Vancouver Canucks hadn't accomplished yet.  Yes, that would be the perfect balm to this crazy season. This truly could be anyone's year.  So regardless of how everything turns out, I guess we should at least just count our blessings that we even have a playoff season to talk about    
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